Drone News Roundup: DJI Mini 2 Flies into an Active Volcano, Testing a Drone Motorcycle, and More!
BY Zacc Dukowitz5 November 2021
This week we’re covering a video taken by a DJI Mini 2 flying into the volcano that’s currently active on La Palma island, in the Canaries.
We’re also covering a test flight of a single-rider drone motorcycle, a fun video of Boston Dynamics’s Spot robot dancing alongside footage of Mick Jagger, a story from VICE news about how Flyability’s drones are being used to support intrepid missions, and the first-ever inside look at Wing’s drone delivery testing facilities.
Now on to the links!
Pilot Flies Mini 2 into Active Volcano and Lives to Tell the Tale
Over the last few weeks, we’ve reported about tests to use big rig drones to airlift dogs trapped in the path of lava flowing from the active Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma island, in the Canaries. This week we’re bringing you a video taken by a Mini 2 that a pilot flew into the volcano—not just near it—which is some of the most close-up drone footage we’ve ever seen from an active volcano. Although the drone survived the incredibly high temperatures in the volcano, it ran out of battery and crashed into the underbrush after the flight. Watch to the end to see what happens.
Japanese Company Tests Single-Person Drone Motorcycle
Japanese drone company A.L.I. Technologies recently performed this demonstration of its single-rider drone motorcycle at a track made for race cars near Mt. Fuji. Called a hoverbike, the company has been working on it since 2017. The demonstration is quite short, but it serves as an interesting proof of concept—we just wonder what civil aviation authorities will have to say about this one.
Boston Dynamics’ Spot Dances Next to Mick Jagger in New Video
Boston Dynamics has done an impressive job marketing its Spot robot, releasing videos of several of them dancing in unison and doing other clever PR stunts to draw attention to the sophisticated moves this robot can make. This latest video shows the Spot dancing and (kind of) lip synching alongside footage of Mick Jagger singing the Rolling Stones’ classic “Start Me Up.” We got to see the Spot robot last week at the Energy Drones & Robotics Coalition conference and it was a remarkable piece of technology—both rugged and nimble, we watched it in a demonstration alongside Flyability’s Elios 2, with the two robots reacting to each other and moving around each other.
VICE News Cover Flyability’s Intrepid Missions
VICE News recently released this video showcasing a mission Flyability did at Chernobyl a few years back. The video features never-before-seen footage from Flyability’s Elios 2, which was shot inside Reactor 5 at Chernobyl. Reactor 5 was under construction when the terrible accident took place there in April of 1986. Because of the immediate need to evacuate, scientists had never confirmed that there was no nuclear waste inside the reactor—until this mission. The timing of the story’s release comes shortly after Flyability’s launch of the Elios 2 RAD, an indoor drone that can carry three different radiation sensors to help nuclear plants reduce radiation exposure for employees by replacing them with robots for data collection, as mandated by law.
First Ever Behind-the-Scenes Peak of Wing’s Drone Delivery Facilities
Wing, like its parent company Alphabet—the company that owns Google—has historically been quite secretive about its internal operations. But in a new video, Wing allowed videographers inside its facilities to show them how it tests and designs its delivery drones. The videographers work for an organization called Adam Savage’s Tested, which is a “content platform and community playground for makers and curious minds.” The fact that Wing gave permission to this maker community instead of some large news organization is an interesting choice, signaling the company’s focus on engaging a specific audience focused on making and building, and not just on the public at large.
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