Drone News Roundup: Video Features Leaked Footage from DJI’s FPV Drone, NASA Ingenuity Drone Sends First Report from Mars, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
26 February 2021

This week we’re covering a video featuring beautiful leaked footage from DJI’s new FPV drone, shot in far-flung locations and put together with an impressive level of editing.

We’re also covering the first status report sent from NASA’s Ingenuity drone on Mars, a drone that can autonomously pick fruit in orchards, a shoe commercial that uses drones as a light source to mimic the light of the moon, and a drone video of almost 200 manatees swimming in Florida.

Now on to the links!

Drone Video Features Leaked Footage from DJI’s New FPV Drone

At this point, so much has been leaked about DJI’s new FPV drone that you might think there isn’t anything left to say. And, well, you’re probably right—but while we might know a lot about it even though it hasn’t been released yet, we haven’t seen any footage captured by it or even gotten a real sense for what it might be capable of in the air, and in post-processing. A recent video (shown above) contains leaked footage from the forthcoming FPV drone, showcasing both how the drone can move and the quality of media it can capture. The video is worth watching if you’re curious about DJI’s FPV drone, but it’s also worth watching just to see the stunning FPV footage itself.


NASA Gets First Status Report from Its Ingenuity Drone on Mars

Image credit: NASA

When NASA’s Perseverance landed on Mars last week it had a drone attached to its belly. Called the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, the drone weighs just four pounds and its initial task is just to take off and hover—or, put simply, to see if a craft like it can operate on Mars at all. Temperatures on Mars get down to negative 130 degrees Fahrenheit, making it hard to engineer technology that can operate there. According to NASA, if the drone can take off and hover, “over 90% of the project’s goals will have been achieved.”

The Ingenuity sent its first report earlier this week, so things are going according to plan so far. Test flights will begin soon and be conducted over a 30-Martian-day (31-Earth-day) experimental flight test window.


Autonomous Fruit-Picking Drones Could Help with Labor Shortages

Photo credit: Tevel

Japanese tractor and heavy equipment manufacturer Kobuta recently invested $20 million in an Israeli startup called Tevel that has developed autonomous drone technology for picking fruit. Tevel’s drones combine AI with computer vision, advanced robotics, aeronautical engineering, state-of-the-art flight control, and data fusion and perception to allow drones to pick fruit on their own. According to Tevel, its technology can help solve fruit-picking labor shortages throughout the world, which have been made worse by the prolonged impact of the pandemic. But even if labor were abundant, the technology could help companies save money by lowering costs for picking fruit. Tevel says that its autonomous fruit-picking drones will be ready for a commercial roll-out later this year.


Dreamy Video Uses Drones as a Light Source to Mimic Light of the Moon

We’ve written before about the bizarre, beautiful artwork created by photographer Reuben Wu by using drones as a light source. Now the same idea has been used to mimic the light of the moon, creating a dreamy, otherworldly effect in a new video (shown above) made to advertise running shoes. The aerial shots in the video were captured by DroneBoy, a high-end aerial cinematography service provider based in Toronto. The lights used to mimic moonlight were carried by a Freefly ALTA 8 configured with a high-powered Stratus LED array, which can provide up to 52,000 lumens. For filming aerial shots, the Droneboy team used a Freefly ALTA X carrying a MoviPRO gimbal, an ARRI Mini, and an Angenieux 15-40 zoom lens.


Drone Video Captures Manatees Swimming  with Dolphins in Florida

170 Manatees and Some Jumping Dolphins in St Petersburg, FL

Manatees are an endangered species, and sadly becoming a less and less common sight in the state of Florida. But See Through Canoe, a company that makes see-through kayaks and canoes so you can see what you’re floating over, recently captured the footage shown above in Tampa Bay, near St. Petersburg, Florida. Not only are there almost 200 manatees featured in the video, but there’s also footage of dolphins playing joyfully—check out their exuberant child-like jumps and flips toward the end of the video for some great wildlife footage that will bring a smile to your face.


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