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Drone News Roundup: Drones Used at the North Pole for the First Time, DJI’s Holiday Gift Guide, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
6 November 2020

This week we’re covering the use of a drone at the North Pole for the first time ever. Researchers on the largest Arctic expedition ever made wanted to test the use of drones for collecting data related to climate change, but faced several logistical and technical challenges to do so.

We’re also covering DJI’s new holiday gift guide, the use of drones to respond to 911 calls by the second police department ever in Georgia (the first was in Chula Vista, CA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s opposition to Chinese drone bans, and the use of drones to identify giant, potentially lethal jellyfish in Australia.

Now let’s get to those links!

Researchers Fly a Drone at the North Pole for First Time Ever

Photo credit: Jan Rohde/Alfred-Wegener-Institut

Researchers recently did something no one had ever done before with a drone: fly one at the North Pole. The mission was organized by Roberta Pirazzini and Henna-Reetta Hannula, scientists at the Finnish Meteorological Institute who wanted to use sensors on the drone to assess sunlight reflected from the ice. This measurement, known as surface albedo, is key to understanding how much solar radiation is absorbed by the Earth and how much is reflected back into the atmosphere, a measurement that can help predict how fast sea ice will melt, which is a key data point for climate change research.


DJI Launches Holiday Gift Guide


It’s November now, and that means Black Friday is right around the corner. Always on top of its sales game, DJI recently released a holiday gift guide in advance of the frantic holiday buying spree to show you how much you’ll be able to save. Highlights include reduced prices on the Mavic Air 2, the Mavic Mini, the OM 4, and the new DJI Pocket 2—check out the guide to see all the DJI deals this holiday season.


Second Police Department to Respond to 911 Calls with Drones

First Responder Police Drone
Photo credit: Lewis Clarke

Brookhaven, Georgia will be the second police department in the U.S. to adopt the use of drones for responding to 911 calls. Drones will be used to arrive on a scene where a 911 call was made and live stream video and audio to the police department’s crime center, which can then relay information to police on the ground. In adopting the use of drones to respond to 911 calls, the Brookhaven Police Department joins the Chula Vista Police Department, whose UAS program has helped push forward the use of drones in law enforcement applications through its involvement with the San Diego UAS IPP.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Opposes Chinese Drone Bans

Photo credit: DJI

Over the last several weeks, a federal ban on drones and drone components made in China has been rolled out quickly in the U.S. So quickly, in fact, that some U.S. drone companies who rely on Chinese drone components—as well as drone companies based in other, non-Chinese countries—have found themselves suddenly in danger of losing core clients in the U.S., and hustling to adjust. A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is critical of this impact from the ban, stating that “…these proposals will inadvertently harm U.S. competitiveness, given their adverse impact on the operations of many American companies as well as harm to companies engaged in the broader [drone] supply chain.”


Australian Researchers Test Drones to Identify Giant, Potentially Lethal Jellyfish

Photo credit: Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit

By now it’s common knowledge that Australia has the most animals that can kill you, with a list that includes sharks, giant spiders, snakes, crocodiles, and the Cassowary, which has been called the “most dangerous bird on Earth.” The Box Jellyfish is also on the list, with venom so strong it has been responsible for 60 deaths in the last 100 years. To help keep people safe, researchers in Australia recently tested the use of out-of-the-box drone technology to spot Box Jellyfish in the waters and found that it was effective. The next step is to extend the use of this new drone application during “stinger season”—a season that, like its list of deadly animals, is thankfully unique to Australia.


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