Drone News Roundup: New SWAT Drone Can Break Windows, Impressive FPV Flying at a Bowling Alley, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
19 March 2021

This week we’re covering a new drone made for SWAT teams that has a blade to smash open windows, night vision, and the ability to fly safely in confined spaces.

We’re also covering an FPV Cinewhoop video featuring some impressive flying at a bowling alley, a video of a guy trying—and failing—to catch a ride on a drone, a new partnership between the FAA and the Choctaw Nation to study cargo delivery by drone, and an energy company looking at how drones can be used to detect methane emissions from offshore oil rigs.

Now let’s get to those links!

New SWAT Drone Has a Blade for Smashing Open Windows

Photo credit: BRINC Drones

A new drone from BRINC Drones called the LEMUR comes with special features made just for SWAT teams to help them “locate, isolate, and communicate with suspects.” One standout feature is the LEMUR’s blade made for breaking windows, giving it a way to access buildings during a raid. It can also scale stairs, conduct two-way communications with a suspect, and flip over after crashes, making it a good option for flying in the tight, chaotic spaces that might be found during a SWAT operation. The drone is made to be flown FPV, and has a high-def RGB camera, built-in night vision, and IR illuminators for flying in poor lighting. We hope this technology will help reduce the need for using people during raids, and lead to improved safety for both the people conducting the raids and those being raided.


Cinewhoop Video Features Impressive FPV Flying through a Bowling Alley


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A post shared by Jay Christensen (@jaybyrdfilms)

Woah! This video features really impressive FPV flying, with a drone swooping down through the front door and all the way through a bowling alley. While showcasing some impressive flying, the video also does a great job showing off the business itself. Even if you don’t have a skilled FPV pilot on hand to shoot something as exciting as this, it’s a good reminder that drone footage can spice up advertising efforts for small businesses and help them stand out, as we covered in our recent piece on ways drones can help small businesses. In this case, the video garnered so much attention that it was featured in a national story, giving the bowling alley a ton of free press—see the link below to read that article.


Yikes—Guy Tries to Catch a Ride on a Big Rig Drone, Learns a Lesson

You could just call this video “What never to do with a drone.” It could be that these guys saw Casey Neistat’s Human Flying Drone video from 2017, but they missed several steps in the planning process if so, almost all of them safety-related. As you can see in the tweet above, the video has caught the attention of Romeo Durscher, former head of public safety at DJI, who shares some of this thoughts about other ways this could have ended badly.


Choctaw Nation Partners with the FAA to Test Low Altitude Cargo Delivery by Drone

Photo credit: OK Department of Commerce

The Choctaw Nation recently signed a three-year agreement to work with the FAA in studying the use of drones for cargo delivery. In addition to drone technology itself, factors like supply chain management and air traffic control will be investigated through the agreement. Study participants will use virtual simulated urban environments to mimic real-life scenarios that could arise for drone delivery. This is just one more chapter in the Choctaw Nation’s testing of drones. It has been actively testing commercial drone applications since the UAS IPP was launched over three years ago, and continued that relationship with the FAA as one of the founding BEYOND Program partners when the IPP ended late last year.


Study Looks at Using Drones to Measure Methane Emissions from Oil Rigs

Image source

Energy company Neptune Energy has partnered with the U.S.-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to study methane emissions from offshore oil rigs using drones in a first-of-its-kind experiment. The study will not only measure methane emitted from the oil rigs, but will also investigate possible solutions to lessen the impact of those emissions, in part by identifying the specific sources of gas leaks. The study will take place at a gas production facility located about 95 miles off the Lincolnshire coast in the Southern North Sea of the United Kingdom. The ultimate goal of the study is to collect data that will help identify new, more efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to combat climate change.


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