Drone News Roundup: Images of Dubai’s Drone Taxi Vertiports, Drone Tour of New Disney Theme Park, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
23 February 2023

This week we’re covering new pictures showing what the vertiports planned for Dubai’s drone taxi operations will look like.

We’re also covering a drone tour showing the progress Disney is making on its forthcoming World of Frozen theme park, a strange new drone made for spying that uses the stuffed bodies of dead birds, DroneBase’s rebrand to Zeitview, and a bill recently introduced in the U.S. senate to make it easier to fly drones BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight).

Now let’s get to those links!

Here’s What Dubai’s Vertiports Will Look Like

Credit: Skyports Infrastructure

Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, has been talking about launching a drone taxi program for years. And now it looks like it may actually happen. A company called Skyports Infrastructure recently had its vertiport designs for Dubai approved at a presentation made by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), along with drone taxi company Joby Aviation. The presentation highlighted plans to develop the vertiports by 2026, and included several pictures of what they would look like—follow the link below to see them all.


Drone Tour of Hong Kong Disneyland’s New World of Frozen

Drone Video: Construction Update From World of Frozen | Hong Kong Disneyland

To drum up excitement for its new World of Frozen—a Disney theme park designed after the kingdom of Arendelle, from the Frozen movies—Disney recently released this drone tour showing the progress that’s been made on the park so far. In the video, you can see Lantau Mountain in the distance, providing a dramatic backdrop to the new area of the massive theme park. World of Frozen is being built at Hong Kong Disneyland and is scheduled to open some time in the second half of this year.


Researchers Use Dead Birds to Make Drones for Spying

Dead birds made into drones could spy on animals or humans

Researchers at New Mexico Tech have been experimenting with using the dead bodies of pheasants and pigeons to make drones. Before being turned into drones, the bodies of the birds are stuffed using taxidermy to preserve them, then equipped with flapping wing mechanisms made to mimic the flight of living birds. Researchers say these unusual drones could be used for espionage or for studying flocks of birds—that is, for spying on people and on animals.


DroneBase Rebrands to Zeitview, Announces $55 Million Investment

Credit: Zeitview

DroneBase recently announced a rebrand to Zeitview, dropping the word drone from its name. The new name reflects the company’s move away from drone-specific data capture and processing to a more general platform that provides both air and ground data capture tech. Along with the rebrand, the company shared news that it has raised an additional $55 million in funding, bringing its total funding up to $114 million.


Senate Introduces Bill to Simplify BVLOS Approvals

Image source

A bipartisan bill called the Increasing Competitiveness for American Drones Act of 2023 was recently put forward in the Senate. The bill aims to make it easier to fly a drone BVLOS and to conduct drone delivery. To accomplish these goals, it calls for the FAA to create a rule authorizing BVLOS operations under certain circumstances so that companies can have clarity on how they can get BVLOS approvals. The bill also calls for the creation of a UAS Certification Unit, which would have the sole authority to issue all rulemaking, certifications, and waivers for drone operations in the U.S.


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