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Drone News Roundup: FAA’s National Drone Safety Week, Drones Investigate Helicopter Crash, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
30 October 2020

This week we’re highlighting the FAA’s upcoming National Drone Safety Awareness Week, a virtual event that focuses on helping to make drone operations for both hobbyists and commercial pilots safer in the U.S.

We’re also covering a great in-depth read on how drones were used to investigate a helicopter crash in a remote area that was difficult to access by foot, the recent launch of trials for the delivery of COVID-19 test kits by drone, Malaysia’s adoption of drones to help crack down on water pollution, and a novel new device to make drone delivery possible from a greater distance.

Now let’s get to those links!

FAA’s National Drone Safety Awareness Week


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will hold its second annual National Drone Safety Awareness Week from Nov. 16 to 22, 2020. Here’s an overview of topics that will be covered during that week:

  • Monday: LEARN—What do you need to know before you fly?
  • Tuesday: IMPROVE—How can you improve your flying skills?
  • Wednesday: PASSION TO PROFESSION—How to go from recreational flyer to commercial drone pilot.
  • Thursday: START A PROGRAM—Learn about starting a public safety program.
  • Friday: IN THE CLASSROOM—How can you use drones in STEM education?
  • Saturday and Sunday: HAVING FUN—Why do you fly?


Drones Used to Investigate Helicopter Crash

Photo credit: Douglas Spotted Eagle

A recent DroneLife article describes in detail the process that Douglas Spotted Eagle used along with his colleagues to investigate a helicopter crash site, leveraging drone technology for the work. The crash was located in a rugged, difficult-to-access area, which made drones an especially useful tool for collecting information on how the crash took place. Read the article for a detailed, step-by-step account of how drones and drone software supported the investigation.


Walmart, Others Use Drones to Deliver COVID-19 Tests

Photo credit: Walmart

Walmart recently started delivering COVID-19 tests by drone in two different locations, one in Cheektowaga, New York, and the other in Las Vegas, Nevada. Recipients of the tests must live within one mile of the Walmarts that are conducting these test delivery programs in the two cities. And Walmart isn’t the only one delivering COVID-19 tests by UAV—the National Health System (NHS) in the United Kingdom has also invested $1.7 million into a pilot program that will deliver test kits by drone.


Malaysian Government Plans to Use DJI Drones to Catch Water Polluters

Photo credit: DJI

Water pollution is a big problem in Malaysia. Recently, the Langat River became so contaminated that two local water treatment plants had to shut down while they dealt with the pollution. To help put a stop to polluters, a DJI Matrice 300 RTK purchased by the government will soon be used to patrol two locations on the river during both the day and night.


A2Z Drone Delivery Launches RDS1 System

Photo credit: A2Z Drone Delivery

A2Z’s Rapid Delivery System (RDS) enables drone delivery by using a payload that free-falls from the drone, allowing it to come to a gentle stop near the ground. The concept is similar to the way a fishing reel lowers its tackle and bait into the water. Because the drone does not need to be physically present for the delivery, it can stay at a safer distance, presenting a model for delivery that could be more replicable than others. It’s also quieter, since the drone can remain higher in the air while lowering its good to the ground. The RDS1 was made for a DJI Matrice 600 Pro—read more about it on the A2Z Drone Delivery website linked below.


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