Drone News Roundup: Apple’s Drone Patent, Drone Helps Find Missing Children, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
15 January 2021

This week we’re covering Apple’s recent patent for drone telecommunications technology and what it could mean.

We’re also covering a story about two missing children being quickly located by law enforcement using a drone, “light paintings” created using lights attached to a Mavic 2, a drone video of one of the harshest places on Earth, and some new additions to the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) aimed to help represent the interests of drone service providers.

Now on to the links!

New Patent Shows that Apple Is Getting into the Drone Game

A fictitious rendering of a possible Apple drone, created by Eric Huismann

For years there has been speculation and even April Fool’s jokes about Apple getting into the drone game (see the image above, which was made as an imagining of a possible Apple drone). But a recent patent filed by the maker of the iPhone reveals that all that chatter could soon become a reality. The patent is for drone telecommunications technology and is entitled “UE Modem for Drones with Flight Path and 3D Wireless Environment Signal Quality Information.” Some of the language in the patent could indicate that Apple wants to create technology to enable Remote ID, which would be apropos considering that the FAA released its final Remote ID rule just before Apple filed its patent. It will be interesting to see if more patents follow this one, and what exactly Apple plans to do with this new technology.


Drone Helps Find Two Missing Children in Port St. Lucie

Photo credit: Port St. Lucie Police Department

When two small children went missing recently in Port St. Lucie, FL the police department quickly turned to drone technology to help find them. After searching the immediate area and determining the kids weren’t present, local law enforcement put a drone in the air and soon located them walking along a lake near their home. The drone stayed in the air, keeping watch over the children until their family was able to collect them safe and sound.


Creating “Light Paintings” with Drones and LumeCube Lights

Photo credit: Martin Sanchez (@zekedrone on Instagram)

Drone pilot Martin Sanchez brought in the new year by creating light paintings made with a Mavic 2, LumeCube lights, and a camera attached to a tripod on the ground. The pictures are captured by the stationary camera on the tripod, which shoots using a long exposure as the drone draws patterns in the night sky, capturing the trail of light from the drone’s path to make the paintings. Artist Reuben Wu uses the same technique to create halos and other strange shapes with light—check his work out here, and click the link below to learn more about Martin Sanchez’s new year’s light paintings, which he’s been making for the last two years in a row.


Drone Video Features Dramatic Footage of Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression, One of the Harshest Places on Earth

Hostile Land - Danakil, Ethiopia

A recent drone video features dramatic footage captured at Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression, which lies at the junction of three tectonic plates. This unique convergence makes the location incredibly volatile and prone to volcanic eruptions. It is also one of the hottest, driest places on Earth. The video was created by Daniel Haussmann, owner of Haussmann Visuals—check it out for a journey into a hash, beautiful world.


Drone Service Provider’s Alliance Founders Added to FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee

Image credit: FAA

Vic Moss and Kenji Sugahara, founders of the recently-launched Drone Service Providers Alliance (DSPA), were both added to the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) last week along with 10 other people. The two will be representing the interests and views of commercial drone pilots (as well as hobbyists, from what we’ve heard). Other notable additions to the DAC in the new appointees are Skydio CEO Adam Bry, Measure CEO Brandon Declect, and Amazon Prime Air Vice President David Carbon.


Make sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter using the button below so you can get our weekly newsletter every Saturday, with this roundup and our other featured stories from the week.

Join a global community of


drone enthusiasts.