Drone News Roundup: Sony Patents Drones for Noise Cancellation, Drone Video of Real-Life Mario Kart, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
21 May 2021

This week we’re covering a patent from Sony that describes a brand new use for drones—to form a sound barrier around people in crowded public spaces that will cancel the surrounding noise.

We’re also covering a drone video of a real-life game of Mario Kart, the new game of drone soccer—which involves smashing drones together to get kids excited about STEM—the rise of 3D printing in drone manufacturing, the FAA’s podcasts on drone topics, and Commercial UAV Expo America’s recent announcement that over 70 exhibitors have announced plans to attend its 2021 conference this fall.

Now on to the links!

Drones for Noise Cancellation—Sony Seeks Sophisticated Patent for Using a Network of Drones to Cancel Noise


When we think about drones and noise cancellation our minds naturally go to solutions for making drones quieter. But a new patent from Sony describes technology that would use drones in a new way—to cancel noise. The drones would fly in a network and carry noise-canceling audio equipment, creating a soundproof environment even in the middle of a crowded public space. If you’re trying to talk to someone or you’re on the phone, the networked drones would cancel the “ambient noise of the environment and provide the users within the virtual barrier a noise-free zone.” In an industry jam-packed with novel ways to use drone technology, this is a new one to us.


Drone Video Showcases Real-Life Mario Kart with a Self-Flying Skydio Drone

Mow-Rio Kart | How to play Mario Kart with a lawn mower & drone

Independent filmmaker Ian Padgham has used a Skydio drone, a riding mower, and a large dose of imagination to create a real-life simulation of Mario Kart. The Skydio drone’s autonomous follow-me technology allowed Padgham to film himself driving his mower along a planned route, after which he added several effects to the footage in order to achieve the Mario Kart simulation. We’ve seen a lot of creative ways to shoot a drone video, from wild FPV shots to making everything miniature with the tilt-shift effect, but this is the first time we’ve seen someone recreate a video game in real life using drone footage.


Drone Soccer Takes Off in Colorado


Heard of drone soccer? It’s a new sport in which drones are both the soccer players and the soccer ball. Drone soccer takes place in a caged arena, with two teams flying three to five caged drones trying to score by flying through the opponent’s goal (a hoop suspended in the air, as shown in the image above). On its surface drone soccer is all about smashing drones together while trying to score points, but the game can get pretty technical. But the deeper goal of the game is to excite students about STEM subjects. And it seems to be working. The first drone soccer league launched in Colorado in March, and we anticipate more will pop up soon.


Is 3D Printing the Future of the Drone Industry? Skydio, Kesprey, and Others turn to 3D-printed Parts to Improve Production

Image credit: Skydio

Major drone companies like Skydio, Kespry, and Digital Aerolus have been turning to 3D printing to improve production. Skydio was one of the first companies to start using 3D printing at scale in the production of its new Skydio X2 drones, which just started shipping last week. To do this, the U.S.-based drone company partnered with a company named Arris to create an airframe that could be made using composites additive manufacturing technology (i.e., 3D printing). The end result was a manufacturing process that replaced “a 17-part assembly with a single, multi-functional structure, with parts as stiff as titanium with a fraction of the weight.”


Have You Listened to the FAA’s Podcast?


Did you know the FAA had a podcast? In it, they cover all things aviation, both manned and unmanned. Past drone-related episodes have included topics like Drone Package Delivery and Drones for Good. But some of the other episodes might also be of interest to drone enthusiasts, with stories on how manned aircraft can help in wildfires and deep dives into how air traffic control works. In the latest episode, called I Bought a Drone. Now What?, the FAA walks new drone owners through what they need to do after buying their first drone.


Commercial UAV Expo Announces Over 70 Exhibitors for September Conference


Wondering how drone conferences are going to do this year? Pretty good, it looks like. Commercial UAV Expo just announced that over 70 exhibitors have already signed on for booths at its upcoming 2021 conference, which will be held in Las Vegas, NV from September 7-9. Those who have made exhibition commitments have snapped up over half of the available space on the exhibit floor, which is a pretty good showing considering that there are still four months left to go before the conference. Commercial UAV Expo also shared that over 250 media outlets from around the world have partnered with the conference this year, helping them spread the word about the event far and wide.


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