Drone News Roundup: Drone Holiday Video, DRL Approved by FAA as Drone Event Organizer, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
24 December 2021

This week we’re covering a video featuring a charming animated delivery drone from Migros, one of the largest retail companies in Switzerland.

We’re also covering the Drone Racing League’s approval by the FAA to become a drone event organizer, a drone video of humpback whales fighting to get a mate shot off the coast of Australia, Zipline’s recent award from the U.S. Secretary of State, and the FAA’s grant of $90,000 to help high school teachers learn about drones.

Now let’s get to those links!

Animated Drone Featured in Charming Holiday Video from Swiss-Based Migros

MIGROS: Robin, die Weihnachtsdrohne.

If you’re looking for a sign that drone delivery has gone mainstream, this holiday video from Swiss-based Migros could be it. The drone in the video is named Robin, and goes out of its way to connect people during these cold winter months by intentionally delivering the wrong package to an elderly woman so that she’ll carry it over to her neighbor and connect with her. The animation gives the drone an impressive level of detail, using robotic parts to mimic human emotion—it’s less than two minutes, and well worth watching if you’re looking for something that will warm your heart during these cold December days.


DRL Approved by FAA as Official Drone Event Organizer

Credit: DRL

DRL has received approval from the FAA to be the nation’s first ever drone event organizer. Along with this news, DRL shared that it will be partnering with the FAA in its Partnership for Safety Plan Program, through which it will help lay out safety protocols for drone demonstrations, air shows, exhibitions, and other live events. The news was made just one month ahead of what could be DRL’s biggest drone race ever—the DRL Algorand World Championship Season 2021-22 finale, which will be held on January 5, 2022 on the Las Vegas Strip.


Drone Video of Humpback Whales in Rare “Heat Run”

Drone Footage Shows Humpback Whales in Rare ‘Heat Run’ in Australian Waters

A lucky drone pilot in Australia captured this video of humpback whales off the coast of Queensland state, about 50 miles south of Brisbane. In what scientists call a “heat run,” the video shows 15 male humpback whales competing to mate with a single female (the only female in the group). You can see the whales pushing and shoving to be the first in line, creating tremendous waves as they splash through the water. The behavior in the video is rarely seen, and even more rarely captured on video.


Zipline Receives Award from U.S. Secretary of State

Credit: Zipline

Medical drone delivery and instant logistics company Zipline recently received the Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) in Health Security from the U.S. Secretary of State. The award recognizes Zipline’s accomplishments in Ghana, where it has helped make significant improvements to equity and access in health care. Zipline has been making medical drone deliveries in Ghana since 2019. In that short amount of time it has made over 130,000 deliveries, flown over 10 million autonomous missions, and delivered millions of vaccines to people in rural areas who might not have otherwise been able to get them. Zipline currently serves almost 2,000 health facilities in Ghana, and many more throughout the world.


FAA Awards $90,000 Grant to Train High School Teachers in UAS Fundamentals


The FAA recently awarded a grant of $90,000 to Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) to train 40 high school teachers in how to use drones. Dubbed an “aviation workforce development grant,” the goal of the funding is to bring more drone pilots into the workforce. This goal will be met by training teachers in how to operate drones, so they can in turn teach high school students, who will then in turn—the hope is—become commercial drone pilots. In addition to paying for training in drone operations, the grant will be used to buy a drone for NMC that teachers can use with their students.


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