Drone News Roundup: Raw FPV Drone Shots of Extreme Mountain Biking, Man Uses Drone to Aid His Own Rescue, and More!
BY Zacc Dukowitz16 March 2023
This week we’re covering a video featuring raw FPV drone footage of extreme mountain biking.
We’re also covering a story about a man who used his drone to help rescuers find him during a snowstorm, DJI’s new zoom lens and Ronin 4D Flex, Flyability’s first in-person user conference happening in Atlanta next month, and Skydio’s recent valuation at a whopping $2.2 billion dollars.
Now on to the links!
Extreme Mountain Biking by FPV Drone
This video features raw FPV drone footage of pro mountain biker Remy Metailler shot in British Columbia, where he lives. Metailler is originally from Nice, France but he moved to British Columbia ten years ago because it’s one of the top mountain biking spots in the world. We love how the video doesn’t have any music—instead, we just get impressive mountain biking shot by an impressively agile drone pilot. All of the footage in the video was shot by drone pilot Gabriel Kocher using a custom FPV rig and a GoPro Hero 10.
Man Uses Drone to Aid His Own Rescue During Snowstorm
Credit: Lane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue
A man recently used his drone to help rescuers find his location. His car was stuck in snow on a remote road in the Willamette National Forest, in Oregon. He hadn’t told anyone where he planned to drive that day and he had no cell service. But instead of walking out through the snow and risking hypothermia, he used his drone to get help. First, he wrote a text message to a friend that described his situation and exact location, and hit send. Then he attached his phone to his drone and flew it a few hundred feet into the air. When the drone got high enough the message went through, and rescuers came to help.
DJI Launches the Ronin 4D Flex and New Zoom Lens
DJI recently launched a new version of its Ronin 4D camera system called the Ronin 4D Flex. The Flex comes with an extendable gimbal camera design and 6.5 foot extension cable, allowing for expanded camera positions and greater flexibility for creators. Along with the launch of the Flex, DJI has released its first cinema zoom lens—the DL PZ 17-28 mm T3.0 ASPH. The new lens covers ultra-wide to wide-angle focal lengths, has a built-in servo zoom motor, and supports calibration-free LiDAR focusing. Speculation in the drone industry is that the new lens will be compatible with the highly anticipated Inspire 3, which may come out as soon as next month.
Flyability Hosts First User Conference in Atlanta Next Month
Inspection drone company Flyability is hosting its first ever in-person user conference next month. The event will be held at the Georgia International Convention Center from April 17-18. The focus of the conference will be on how Flyability’s indoor drone technology is being leveraged to improve confined space inspections in the industries that use its technology, including mining, oil and gas, power generation, and cement. Speakers will feature top drone and inspection leadership from organizations like the TVA, Cargill, and Holcim. Flyability had previously planned to host a user conference in March of 2020 to celebrate the opening of its first U.S. office in Denver, but that event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Skydio Hits Valuation of $2.2 Billion
Skydio is already the drone industry’s first unicorn, having been valued at $1 billion in March of 2021 after raising $170 million in a Series D fundraising round. Recent news is that the company’s valuation has more than doubled since then, and now sits at $2.2 billion. That new valuation was helped along by a successful Series E fundraising round, which brought in an additional $230 million in funding, bringing the total amount Skydio has raised to $562 million. According to Skydio, its drones are now used by over 1,200 organizations, including 200 public safety agencies and over half of all U.S. State Departments of Transportation. In addition to the fundraising news, the company has announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Hayward, California. The new plant will be a massive 36,000 square feet, allowing Skydio to increase its production capacity by 10 times its current level. The company plans to hire 150 people to staff the new facility.
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