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Drone News Roundup: Dancing Drones, an All-American Drone, and Hitchhikers Lost in Gator Country

BY Tres Crow
3 July 2020

As we wrote about a few weeks ago, the search for an American competitor to DJI is starting to heat up with smaller manufacturers taking niche bites out of the Chinese drone giant. This week, we highlight just such a company, Colorado-based Black Swift Technologies, who just launched their latest all-American drone, the E2. We also take a look at a new partnership between SkyWatch and Embry-Riddle, and see what Intel is up to with a bunch of researchers in Zurich, Switzerland.

Now onto the links!


All American Drone Hits the Market

Black Swift E2 commercial UAV

Image credit Black Swift Technologies

Colorado0-based UAV manufacturer, Black Swift Technologies, has just released their newest commercial UAV, the E2. Designed, manufactured, and serviced entirely in the USA, the E2 is purpose-built for inspection work. With the payload located on the front, it gives the pilot the ability to angle the camera vertically for bridge and tower inspections. It also comes with the company’s SwiftCore Flight Management System, which allows operators to control, communicate, and command their drone for fully autonomous flight. From the Black Swift Technology CEO, Jack Elston:

All our systems have been designed around making it easy for people to indicate how they want their data collected, what they want to collect it with, and then be able to go and execute that on a regular basis. That’s everything from making a simplified user interface to adding a bunch of features you don’t really see on other flight management systems, such as custom flight plans you can easily create with just a few parameters to go and gather things, like a volumetric sample for figuring out what trace gases are in the area.



SkyWatch and Embry-Riddle Announce Partnership

SkyWatch Drone Insurance

Image credit SkyWatch

The market leader in drone insurance, SkyWatch, has just announced a new partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to provide drone education programs and offer insurance discounts to Embry-Riddle students. This is the latest step forward in SkyWatch’s corporate partnership strategy, which also includes companies like UAV Coach, to bring educational content to new drone pilots. If you’d like to learn more about how drone insurance works, check out our Drone Insurance Guide at the link below.



Florida Family Gets Lost…Until the Drones Arrived

Finding lost hikers in florida wilderness

Image credit Unsplash

In another great example of how drones can help public safety departments do their jobs better and more efficiently, 5 hikers were found by drone operators with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, after being lost for over an hour in the Blackwater Creek Preserve. With temperatures in the 90’s, this could have ended very differently for the hikers without the use of drones.



Drone Conferences Contend with COVID

Commercial UAV Expo goes online

Image credit Commercial UAV Expo

Due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19, several of the largest UAV conferences this year have had to switch up their formats and find new venues. The new line-up of conferences starts September 15-17, when the Commercial UAV Expo hits the interwebs with an all-virtual event. The following month, AUVSI XPONENTIAL heads to Dallas (switched from Boston) for the first big drone-related attempt at a physical conference October 5-8. The last big conference is Interdrone, which was moved from May to December 15-17, and will be held in Dallas, TX.



Intel and Zurich Researchers Get Drones Dancing

Intel and University of Zurich drones dancing

Image credit University of Zurich

Researchers at the University of Zurich have teamed up with Intel to develop both a quadcopter and a navigation algorithm that enables swarms of drones to perform intricate, full-speed acrobatic maneuvers. The idea is that by pushing drones to their limits with these maneuvers, drones can become more efficient in real-life scenarios, like search and rescue. From the article:

While a power loop or a barrel role might not be needed in conventional drone operations, a drone capable of performing such maneuvers is likely to be much more efficient. It can be pushed to its physical limits, make full use of its agility and speed, and cover more distance within its battery life.



The World’s Best Photos of #Aerial2020

Drone photography netherlands wispy morning

Image credit Agora Images

This is the link for drone photography buffs. From bustling city skylines to out-of-this-world natural landscapes, there is plenty to fall in love with in this collection of the winning images from Agora’s #Aerial2020 competition, showcasing some of the most beautiful destinations in the world – all from a bird’s eye point of view.



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