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Drone News Roundup: DJI Mavic Mini 2 Rumors, Skyward Gets Special Waiver During Wildfire, and More

BY Zacc Dukowitz
2 October 2020

This week we’re covering rumors of an imminent release of the DJI Mavic Mini 2 (who knew it was even in the works?) spurred by a recent tweet from a reliable source.

We’re also covering Skyward’s temporary Special Government Interest (SGI) waiver to fly from home instead of in person in order to check on Verizon’s communication infrastructure during a big fire in Washington state, Women and Drones announcing the winners of two different awards, DroneII’s 2020 report on the drone industry, and Amazon’s new ring drone for home security.

Now let’s get to those links!

Mavic Mini 2 Rumored to Be Released Soon

According to reliable DJI leaker @OsitaLV on Twitter, a Mavic Mini 2 release is imminent. At 249 grams, the first Mavic Mini is so small that it slides in just under the U.S. and Canadian weight requirement for drone registration (the requirement is 250 grams). Despite its size, it has solid 2.7K video and an impressive 30 minutes of flight time. The new Mavic Mini will almost definitely retain its unique light weight, but will probably feature upgrades when it comes to image quality and useability. Check out the article linked below from Drone DJ for some informed speculation about what we might see on the Mavic Mini 2.


Skyward Gets Special Waiver Allowing Pilots to Fly from Home instead of In Person


Skyward recently received a special waiver from the FAA that allowed pilots to conduct missions from home instead of in-person in order to conduct communication infrastructure inspections during the Big Hollow Wildfire in Washington state. The waiver allowed operations 24 hours a day, with less than 3 miles of visibility, and no pilot or observer on site. Verizon, Skyward’s parent company, has called the waiver “a milestone for remote deployment of drones in the U.S.” The waiver was granted through the FAA’s expedited Special Governmental Interest process and was good until Friday, September 25.


Women and Drones Announces Winners of 2020 Humanitarian Team Award and Fox Piloting Innovation Award

Kenya Flying Labs Named Humanitarian Team Award Recipient

This week Women and Drones announced the winners of two of its annual Global Awards. The Fox Piloting Innovation Award was given to the UPS Flight Forward team for encouraging women to become certified drone pilots, providing an established drone education program to all employees, and for its overall inclusion of women in the total number of certified drone pilots across the organization. And the 2020 Humanitarian Team Award was given to Kenya Flying Labs for its work in using drones for good within an organization that cultivates a culture of inclusiveness, in which women are engaged in key roles on the team and/or in leadership positions.


Drone Industry Insights Releases 2020 Commercial Drone Industry Barometer


DroneII’s new report is a result of its third annual global survey of the commercial drone industry. Almost 700 survey respondents from 75 countries contributed to the survey, which means that it contains a fairly comprehensive snapshot of the current moment for the industry, including data on drone regulations throughout the world, growing pains in the market, and the impact COVID-19 has had on different aspects of the drone industry.


Amazon Announces Ring Drone for Home Security

Photo credit: Amazon

Amazon just released its Ring Always Home Cam, an autonomous drone that uses a map of your home to fly around on its own, visually surveilling and checking out strange noises. Perhaps in an attempt to get out in front of privacy concerns about having an indoor camera drone zooming around your house, Amazon is calling the Ring drone “privacy you can hear.” But that isn’t stopping some people from being creeped out by the idea of yet another device for the home that captures personal data and sends it into the cloud.


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