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Drone News Roundup: Disney Gets into the Drone Game, Autel Releases U.S.-Made Evo II, and More

BY Zacc Dukowitz
4 September 2020

This week we’re covering a new patent filing from Disney that shows a novel way to use drones in live shows. Hint: it’s not another light show drone—in fact, we’ve never heard of drones being used this way before.

We’re also covering Autel’s new U.S.-made Evo II and its partnership with Pix4D, the ways drones are helping firefighters take steps to reduce wildfires in Colorado, the booming energy sector for drone jobs, and FLIR’s new thermal camera for the DJI Matrice 200 and 300.

Now let’s get to those links!

Disney Files Patent for Drones at Live Shows—but They’re Not Lightshow Drones


Disney recently filed a patent for using drones in live shows, but it’s not for light show drones. The patent is for using drones in live shows in a way we’ve never heard about before, describing “an aerial show system . . . for utilizing energy of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to activate and/or animate creative show effect devices.” What does that mean? In the past, Disney’s live shows that involve drones have had issues with the downwash from the props. But this new patent describes a system that will actually use the prop wash as part of the show to animate different aspects of the set (see the image above)—which is pretty darn clever, if you ask us.


Autel Releases U.S.-Made Evo II, Partners with Pix4D

Photo credit: Autel

Autel is stepping up its game. Just yesterday, it announced a new ‘Made in U.S.A.’ bundle for the Evo II, which features a dual thermal/visual camera payload and claims to be free from the country-of-origin concerns that have been plaguing DJI of late. Autel also recently announced a new partnership with Pix4D, which allows customers to get Pix4DReact at no extra cost when they purchase Autel’s Rugged Bundle with the Evo II.


“Dragon Eggs” Dropped by Drone Help Fire Fighters Control Wildfires in Colorado

Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Aerial ignition (dropping flammable objects from the air) is a known tactic for controlled burns, which are an important part of keeping wildfires at bay. In Colorado, firefighters recently completed a three-day mission using Dragon Eggs—balls filled with chemicals designed for aerial ignition, which are dropped from the sky by drone.


Drone Use Among Energy Companies Skyrockets

Image source

Looking for drone work? The energy sector may be a good place to start your search. Drone service provider DroneDeploy says that the energy sector is booming for drone work right now. From 2018 to 2019, DroneDeploy saw drone flights for energy-related businesses grow by an impressive 123%. That growth has continued even in the midst of the economic lag created by the pandemic, with the number of energy-related drone flights the company provided increasing by 74% from Q1 to Q2 this year.


FLIR Releases Tz20 Dual Thermal Camera for DJI’s Matrice 200 and 300

Photo credit: DJI

FLIR recently unveiled its new Vue TZ20 gimbal at DJI’s Airworks 2020. According to FLIR, the Vue TZ20 is the first high resolution, dual thermal sensor gimbal built for the DJI Matrice V2 200 Series and the Matrice 300. The gimbal features a wide-angle Boson sensor with a 95-degree field of view and a narrow-angle Boson with a 19-degree field of view, and it’s target use cases are in public safety and industrial inspections.


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