Drone News Roundup: DJI Files Patent for Skydio-Like Features, New Video Showcases DJI Air 2S Footage, and More!
BY Zacc Dukowitz30 April 2021
This week we’re covering rumors of a patent filed by DJI for a drone that seems to include Skydio-like features.
We’re also covering a new video from DJI showcasing some impressive footage captured by the company’s newest drone, the Air 2S, a video of Sony’s Airpeak drone withstanding the power of extremely high-speed winds, footage of a superyacht seemingly stuck in a tiny canal in the Netherlands, and a new program from DARPA that plans to use drones to catch drones.
Now let’s get to those links!
DJI Files Patent for Drone with Skydio-Like Features
@OsitaLV, one of the biggest sources for leaked DJI news, recently tweeted that the drone giant had filed for a patent for a “new Mavic which has 2 downward motors and 2 upward motors.” Before this tweet, OsitaLV tweeted a somewhat mysterious query:
Mavic 2+Skydio 2+Autel EVO 2 PRO=?
— OsitaLV (@OsitaLV) April 20, 2021
If OsitaLV’s information is correct, the biggest change in this new Mavic design would be that the drone’s front motors would be mounted on the bottom of the arms, similar to how they’re mounted on the Skydio 2. This design could possibly allow for more cameras to be mounted on the drone, which could help improve its tracking and obstacle avoidance—features that Skydio is known for.
New DJI Video Showcases What New Air 2S Is Capable Of
The major difference between DJI’s newest drone—the Air 2S—and its immediate predecessor—the Mavic Air 2—is the camera. While the Mavic Air 2 has a 1/2″ CMOS sensor with 4K resolution, the Air 2S has a 1″ CMOS sensor with 5.4K resolution (learn more about the Air 2S’ specs here). The video above showcases this substantial upgrade, taking us on a cinematic tour through the kinds of shots you can capture with DJI’s latest drone. Content creators have been having a field day making new videos with the Air 2S—click the link below to see another one of our favorites.
Video Shows Sony’s Airpeak Sustaining Winds of 64 Feet / Second
When you have an impressive product, you brag about it. And that’s exactly what this video of the Airpeak sustaining incredibly high winds in a wind tunnel is doing: showcasing the impressive wind resistance of Sony’s new big rig drone made for shooting high-end cinematography. In the video, the wind gets cranked all the way up to 64 feet / second (19.5 meters / second) and the Airpeak still manages to stay stable. Compare that to DJI’s Matrice 600, which can only sustain winds of 26 feet / second, or to DJI’s Inspire 2, which can only sustain 33 feet/second, and it’s clear the Airpeak is a standout when it comes to wind resistance. But why does this feature matter? Because when shooting movies you might run into strong winds, and the ability to shoot through them could save big bucks in production costs.
Drone Footage Shows Super Yacht Stuck in Tiny Dutch Canal
Yikes! At first glance, it looks like that boat is going to be stuck there forever. This drone video was shot in South Holland, in the Netherlands, showing a huge yacht navigating the country’s narrow inland canals. The yacht is 310 feet long—almost the length of a football field—and it reportedly took two tugboats to guide it through the canals, which were just two feet wider than the ship at the narrowest points. The footage was shot by drone pilot Tom van Oossanen, who followed the boat for several days to get the footage featured in the video above.
DARPA’s Aerial Dragnet Program Will Use Drone to Catch Drones
Image credit: DARPA
The military has lots of high-tech Counter-UAS (C-UAS) in the works, with equipment that uses futuristic features like directed energy and microwaves. But to use this tech effectively against rogue drones, they still have to be able to spot the drone in the sky. Doing this can be tricky, especially in congested urban environments—and it looks like other drones might be the best tool for the job. In a program called Aerial Dragnet, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been testing the use of special sensors mounted on drones to “detect, classify, and track small drones in dense, urban environments.” After identifying rogue drones in the sky, C-UAS weapons would be used to take them out. The ultimate goal is to have these “good guy” drones fully integrated with C-UAS weaponry, so they can form a complete C-UAS system.
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