Drone News Roundup: Parkour on the Rooftops of Paris, Jetpacking Pirates, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
21 April 2022

This week we’re covering a video featuring parkour in Paris shot on DJI’s new Ronin 4D cinematography system.

We’re also covering a video of soldiers testing jetsuits to board ships on the open ocean, a beautiful tour of Argentina by drone, the addition of the Freefly Alta X to the Pentagon’s Blue UAS 2.0 list, and a new report on Amazon PrimeAir’s struggles to bring its drone delivery program online.

Now let’s get to those links!

Parkour on the Rooftops of Paris

DJI Ronin 4D - Rooftops Of Paris (Ft: Stunt Camera Crew)

To showcase all the capabilities of DJI’s new Ronin 4D camera system, the company used  it to film parkour athletes jumping across the roofs—and streets, and stairs, and walls—of Paris. One of the standout features we see in this footage is the Ronin 4D’s stabilization, which is really made clear when the person holding the camera has to run and jump to keep up with their subject. Though the camera system is impressive, the parkour actually steals the show—watch this short video all the way through to see what we mean.

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Using Jetpacks to Board Ships on the Open Ocean

Royal Marines Jet Suit Boarding Ex

What if pirates could use jetpacks? This video from Gravity Industries—makers of the jetpacks featured in the video—showcases a test made to see whether it’s possible to board ships on the open ocean by flying onto them with jetsuits. The tests were conducted by the Royal Marines, the UK’s amphibious Commando Force. The footage captured here is pretty incredible, showing people flying over boats to get to the vessel they want to board. If you thought a future where people wearing jetpacks was a long way off this video may go a long way toward convincing you it’s not.

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Argentina by Drone

Colors of Argentina - 4K Drone Travel Video

We recently came across this beautiful drone video shot in Argentina and admired it for the quality of its cinematography and the sweeping, diverse tour it provides of the country. The video begins in an urban landscape and then moves on to sweeping mountains, deserts, and coastal views, including shots of penguins gathered in a large group. The video was shot on a DJI Mavic Air by YouTube creator Jim Winter—check it out for this week’s moment of Zen.

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FreeFly Alta X Added to the Pentagon’s Blue UAS 2.0 List

freefly-alta-x
Credit: Freefly Systems Inc.

Freefly System Inc.’s Alta X drone has successfully completed the testing, evaluation, and demonstration programs required to be designated a Blue UAS, and is now on the Blue UAS 2.0 list. Drones on that list are approved by the Pentagon for use by federal entities, such as the Department of the Interior or the Department of Energy. Inclusion in the list requires pretty deep pockets, since companies have to pay for the testing—a fact that has led American drone companies SkyFish and Terraview to petition congress to remove the requirement. Freefly’s Alta drones are typically associated with high end cinematography. The fact that the company has gone to the trouble to get the Blue UAS designation indicates they have some serious pivoting planned for the near future.

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New Report Details Major Obstacles for Amazon’s Drone Delivery Program

amazon-drone-delivery-obstacles
Credit: Amazon PrimeAir

Amazon’s drone delivery subsidiary PrimeAir continues to struggle, according to a recent report from Bloomberg. Citing five crashes over four months at a testing site, the report makes it seem like Amazon’s drone delivery technology is still a long way from being viable. In one of the crashes, both safety failsafes failed—no pun intended—and the drone “dropped about 160 feet in an uncontrolled vertical fall and was consumed by fire.” Yikes. Other issues surfaced in the report echo those covered by Wired last year in reporting on PrimeAir’s UK division, including high turnover and potential safety issues.

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