Drone News Roundup: DJI Mavic Air 2S Leaks, Drone Sacrificed to a Volcano in Iceland, and More!
BY Zacc Dukowitz2 April 2021
This week we’re covering some recent leaks about the Mavic Air 2S, making it look like the new drone could be FPV-compatible.
We’re also covering a drone being sacrificed to an erupting volcano so the pilot could get an amazing shot from directly overhead, a drone video of a man saving two houseboats on a flooded river by ramming a rogue shipping container with his boat, a video showcasing the Skydio 2’s autonomous capabilities as it follows a snowboarder on his run, and a plan to use drones to curb litter in the U.K.
Now on to the links!
DJI Mavic Air 2S Leaks—FCC Filing + FPV Compatibility
Photo credit: DJI
DJI has filed an “Air 2S” with the FCC, making the likelihood of there being a Mavic Air 2S (or just an Air 2S, it looks like) quite high. The drone will be the next iteration of the highly popular Mavic Air 2, a drone made to hit the sweet spot between a selfie drone like the Spark and higher-end prosumer models like the Mavic 2. The big news circulating right now about the forthcoming Air 2S is that it may be capable of connecting with DJI’s new V2 FPV goggles, which were released recently along with DJI’s very first FPV drone. This move would risk cannibalizing sales from the FPV drone but it would also help distinguish the Air 2S from the Air 2.
DJI has never shied away from competing itself, so that factor alone probably wouldn’t stop it from making the Air 2S FPV-compatible. But until the product is released (or we get a leaked unboxing video showing us all its features, like we did with the Mavic Mini 2) these are all just rumors.
Drone Sacrificed to Get Shot from Directly above Erupting Volcano in Iceland
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When the Fagradalsfjall Volcano started erupting in Iceland a few weeks ago, drone pilots grabbed their gear and went straight there to see what kinds of shots they could get. Last week, we featured an epic FPV video resulting from those efforts, which was shot by a drone flying dangerously close to a plume of lava. This week we’re sharing another incredible drone video of the active volcano shot from directly above. In this case, the drone wasn’t so lucky—as you can see in the caption above, the pilot lost his drone but got the shot.
Drone Video shows Man Saving Houseboats from Collision with Huge Shipping Container in Australia
Following a period of intense rainfall in Australia, the Hawkesbury River flooded and was filled with debris rushing down it. One of the things set loose by the floods was a gigantic shipping container, which was on a collision course with two docked houseboats after crashing into a jetty. But the container’s course was changed just in time thanks to the quick thinking of a local boat captain, who used a smaller boat, called a tinnie, to push the container back into the river. According to a witness who worked on the river, if the container had collided with the houseboats, the damage would have been significant.
Video Showcases Skydio 2’s Autonomous Capability as It Follows Snowboarder Down a Mountain
Wondering how well Skydio’s autonomy technology works for following its subjects? Then check out this video featuring footage shot by the Skydio 2 as it follows a snowboarder on his run. The video was shot on Bromley Mountain in southern Vermont, where the owners allowed the pilot to do one run after they had shut things down for the day, so long as he stayed away from the ski lifts. The pilot had just gotten the drone and had only flown it once before doing this follow-me test—watch the video to see how the Skydio 2 performed.
Drones to Help Fight Post-Lockdown Surge in Litter in the U.K.
In a partnership between local authorities, McDonald’s, and an environmental charity called Hubbub, drones will be used to fight the upcoming surge in litter that’s expected once the lockdowns are lifted in the U.K. According to the BBC, the drones will be used in tourist-destination areas located on or near the ocean to “collect data to inform bin locations, street cleaning schedules and change visitor behaviour.” One of the places that will benefit from this initiative is Bournemouth, where thousands of beach-goers arrived suddenly last June as soon as lockdown requirements were relaxed, leaving lots of trash behind them when they departed. Authorities in Italy used a similar approach to curbing litter last year, reportedly succeeding in reducing it by an impressive 45%.
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