Drone News Roundup: New Leaks Reveals Large Industrial DJI Drone, Walmart Dunks World’s Largest Oreo by Drone, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
24 August 2023

This week we’re covering the recent leak of a new industrial drone DJI is working on, which may be a souped up version of the Mini 4.

We’re also covering Walmart’s celebration of reaching 10,000 drone deliveries by dunking a giant Oreo into a giant glass of milk by drone, the DJI Mini 3 Pro going on sale in a move that could indicate the Mini 4 will launch soon, creating tree inventories in vast forests using drones and AI, and the Mercatus Center’s report on the best states for commercial drone operations.

Now onward, to the links!

New Leak Shows Large, Mysterious Industrial Drone from DJI

When we covered the new DJI Mini 4 leaks last week, we mentioned that photos of another large, mysterious DJI drone had also been revealed. More leaks have since come out, showing what is being called an “industrial” drone alongside a smaller prototype of the Mini 4. This drone appears quite large, with long rotor arms coming out an angle from the airframe. Some are saying it’s a commercial version of the Mini 4. But that’s hard to understand, since there is nothing mini about it. However, we should find out soon enough, since leaks like this usually come just before an actual launch.


Walmart Celebrates Drone Delivery Milestone with Huge Oreo Dunk

Walmart recently pulled off a big stunt to celebrate the fact that it has reached a milestone of 10,000 drone deliveries: dunking the largest Oreo in the world into a huge glass of milk. The Oreo was two feet wide, and the glass of milk was six feet tall. The reason Oreo was picked for this stunt is that Oreos were the most-delivered item among all of Walmart’s drone deliveries. Oreos has a long history of using drones to put on media events—follow the link below to read all about it.


The DJI Mini 3 Pro Is on Sale—Does This Mean the Mini 4 Will Launch Soon?

Credit: DJI

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is on sale for 10% off right now, bringing the price down from $909 to $818 (that’s for the package with the DJI RC). The sale comes right as we’re seeing more and more leaks about the DJI Mini 4, a drone that no one predicted would come out this year. DJI often puts drones on sale just before a launch, to try and clear out inventory before the new model makes the current one obsolete. Whether or not this is the case with the Mini 3 Pro sale, it’s still a good deal if you’ve been looking for a solid prosumer drone. We recommend you check it out now, since there’s no telling how long it will be offered.


Creating Forest Inventories with Drones and AI

Credit: Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research

Researchers have created a new way to do tree surveys using a combination of drone technology and AI. The new method can help scientists quickly make forest inventories, allowing them to create a highly accurate count of the number of trees present, including details like height, diameter, and type for every single tree. The approach was created by the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany. A thorough tree inventory can show how much carbon is stored in a specific area’s trees, allowing conservationists to argue from data why a given forest should not be cut down. The first place where the researchers have tested this method is in mapping mangrove forests on the coast of Colombia.


The Top Drone Ready States—New Numbers for 2023

Credit: Mercatus Center

Which state is the best for commercial drone operations? That would be Arkansas, according to a new report from the Mercatus Center on drone readiness. And the worst? That’s a three-way tie between Mississippi, Nebraska, and Rhode Island. The ranks were created based on five criteria: Airspace lease laws; Avigation easement law; Task force or program office; Law vesting landowners with air rights; Sandbox (i.e., drone testing grounds); and Jobs estimate. Each of these was given a different weight, and the combination of scores present a final number, which is then used to rank the states. Arkansas was a clear standout, getting 90 points compared to the runner up, which was Oklahoma with 74 points. If you’re surprised to see Arkansas so far out in front, it’s worth remembering that it’s the state where Walmart is headquartered, and Walmart is a big player in the drone delivery space. (Check out the section above on Walmart’s 10,000 drone delivery milestone and its giant Oreo dunk by drone if you haven’t already.)


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