Drone News Roundup: Sailing to Antarctica with the DJI Ronin 4D, Skydio Rolls Out Indoor Capture, and More!
BY Zacc Dukowitz11 May 2023
This week we’re covering a trip to the icy reaches of Antarctica shot on the DJI Ronin 4D.
We’re also covering Skydio’s Indoor Capture mode for autonomous indoor scans, a new long-range delivery drone from A2Z called the Pelican, Zipline’s valuation jumping to $4.2 billion, and researchers at the University of Florida using LiDAR drones to preserve reefs by conducting faster oyster surveys.
Now let’s get to those links!
Sailing through Antarctica with the DJI Ronin 4D
This video from DJI showcases the impressive cinematic shots you can get with the Ronin 4D camera system. The video was shot in Antarctica, highlighting a voyage taken there by photographer and videographer Benjamin Hardman. Hardman worked on board the three mast tall ship Bark Europa as it sailed from Ushuaia to the Antarctic peninsula. Take a look for some stunning shots of the icy, polar landscape found in the Arctic Circle.
Skydio Rolls Out New Mode for Autonomous Indoor Scans
Skydio recently rolled out Indoor Capture, a 3D scan mode created to support autonomous scans in large, complex indoor environments. The mode allows a single drone pilot to scan large, complicated facilities, including those that are often too difficult to scan, so they can make accurate digital twins of these areas. According to Skydio, the main advantage of Indoor Capture is that it can capture hard-to-reach areas, particularly those that are high up.
New A2Z Pelican Delivery Drone Can Fly 25 Miles with 11 Pounds
A2Z just launched a long-range delivery drone called the RDSX Pelican. The Pelican has a new hybrid VTOL airframe and can carry 11 pounds up to 25 miles. It’s the world’s first commercial delivery drone with no control surfaces, and comes pre-equipped with A2Z’s RDS2 drone delivery winch. Pricing for the Pelican starts at $29,000.
Zipline’s Valuation Jumps to $4.2 Billion after Recent Funding Round
Drone delivery company Zipline was recently valued at $4.2 billion. The new valuation is almost 55% more than its last valuation, which was for $2.7 billion back in 2021. The valuation comes after the recent completion of a Series F funding round in which the company raised an additional $330 million, for a total of $821 million raised. Last year, Zipline became the fourth company to secure a Part 135 certificate, allowing it to expand its drone delivery operations within the U.S. after years of success with medical drone delivery in Rwanda and Ghana. DJI currently holds the highest valuation for a drone company in the world, at $15 billion.
University of Florida Researchers Survey Oyster Reefs by Drone
In recent years, oyster beds have been collapsing throughout the state of Florida, leading to the disappearance of reefs and the shutdown of fisheries. In 2020, the state stopped all oyster harvesting for five years to try and reverse the damage. To track recovery efforts, researchers at the University of Florida have been using drones to supercharge their reef surveys. According to Michael Espriella, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Florida, “in the time it takes a person to measure just one or two square meters of reef, you can survey the entire reef structure with a drone.” Speed is crucial, since these surveys collect vital information that can help save a reef before it disappears. And drones equipped with LiDAR sensors are making it possible to fast track this process.
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