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Drone News Roundup: Epic Drone Video of Volcano Erupting in Iceland, Movie Night CineWhoop Video, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
26 March 2021

This week we’re covering an incredible drone video of a volcano erupting in Iceland, which ends just after the drone passes right over a plume of lava.

We’re also covering a CineWhoop FPV video of a flight through a movie theater made by the creator of the viral “Up Our Alley” video, DroneUp’s delivery of Coke with Coffee using A2Z’s tethered delivery system, DJI’s controversial move to cut out resellers from enterprise deals, and a recent lawsuit in Michigan that considered whether police can use drones to surveil citizens.

Now c’mon, let’s get to those links!

Epic Drone Video of a Volcano Erupting in Iceland

The caption in this video posted to the From Where I Drone Instagram account reads “I think this may be the first of its kind!” Why’s that? Because at the very end, the drone flies almost straight through a huge plume of lava shooting into the air. The lava gets so close you feel certain the drone is going to go down—but somehow, miraculously, it keeps flying. Watch the video all the way to the end to see what we’re talking about.

SEE THE POST ON INSTAGRAM


CineWhoop “Up Our Alley” Video Is Great—but Have You Seen “Movie Night FPV”?

Mann Theatre FPV Fly Through

When we shared the CineWhoop “Up Our Alley” video of an FPV drone swooping through a bowling alley in the roundup last week it was in the midst of going viral—the New York Times covered it, and several Hollywood directors and big wigs were tweeting about it. No surprise, it turns out that the video’s creator has more impressive FPV content up his sleeve. Check out the CineWhoop video featured above, where we get a seamless FPV tour of a movie theater, reminding us what it was like to go out to the movies before the pandemic changed everything. Both videos were shot by Jay Christensen, of Minneapolis-based Rally Studios.

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DroneUp Uses A2Z’s Tethered Delivery System to Deliver New Coca Cola with Coffee in Coffee County, GA

a2z-droneup-delivery

In a PR stunt to promote its new coffee-infused drink Coca-Cola with Coffee, Coca-Cola has partnered with Walmart to deliver the drink by drone. The place? Coffee County, GA. (Get it?) DroneUp was the company selected to make the deliveries, since it had already been making residential drone deliveries in the area. The deliveries are being made using a tethered delivery system (shown above) created by A2Z Drone Delivery. DroneUp was already using the A2Z tethered system for its drone delivery program in Georgia, but the Coca-Cola campaign is sure to bring more attention to this novel solution for closing the last mile in deliveries.

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DJI Bypasses Enterprise Resellers to Sell High-End Drones Straight to Consumers

dji-enterprise-drones
Photo credit: DJI

In a controversial move, DJI recently started selling its enterprise drones straight to consumers online instead of going through resellers. Previously, DJI had sold high-end drones like the Matrice 300 RTK (shown above) or the Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced exclusively through trusted resellers like MFE Rentals or Heliguy. The reseller space is big business—according to reporting from DroneAnalyst, dealer margins on DJI products brought in $180 million in revenue to resellers in 2020. In the U.S. alone, DJI has 100+ distribution partners, with an estimated 200+ throughout the world.

Although consumer drones are generally bought directly online, high-end drones (i.e., drones that cost $5K-$50K+) are often sold through trusted resellers. Flyability, for example, relies on an extensive network of over 50 resellers throughout the world to sell its Elios 2 drone for internal inspections. The reseller model allows end-users to get close, quick support in their area without the drone company having to build a local presence. But DJI’s move away from resellers could change everything—if customers decide to buy direct. Read an in-depth analysis of what DJI’s shift to direct sales might mean for the drone industry in the DroneAnalyst article linked below.

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Michigan Couple Wins Privacy Case Against Law Enforcement’s Use of Drones to Surveil Their Property

In a case that could have far-reaching implications for the use of drones to surveil citizens, a judge recently struck down the use of evidence gathered by police using a drone without a court order. The police in Long Lake Township, MI had hired a drone service provider to collect aerial footage of a Michigan couple’s property to prove they were running an illegal salvage business. The couple took the police to court, claiming that the use of the drone without a court order violated their Fourth Amendment rights “to be secure . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Basically, they said the police spied on them without a warrant.

And the judge agreed. According to the ruling, even though the drone flight itself was legal, the use of the drone to surveil their property without a warrant was not. Follow the link below to read more about the case and how it might impact the future use of drones by law enforcement.

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