Drone News Roundup: Drone Video of Surfers Riding Massive Waves in Hawaii, Domino’s to Start Testing Pizza Delivery by Drone, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
3 February 2022

This week we’re covering a recent announcement from DJI that the Inspire 2 will soon be discontinued, fueling speculation that an Inspire 3 launch could be imminent.

We’re also covering a drone video of surfers riding huge waves in Hawaii, a story about a French man sentenced to over eight years in jail in Iran for flying a drone near the Iranian border, an announcement from Domino’s that it will start testing pizza delivery by drone, and news that a British organization is using drones to help reduce litter from cigarette butts.

Now let’s get to those links!

Drone Video Features Surfers Riding Massive Waves in Hawaii

MONSTER WAIMEA BAY (part one) Heavy Carnage

Last week a huge swell came to Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, and a drone videographer from YouTube channel Where’s Your Board was there to capture the action. Called XL waves, these big swells only happen a few times a year in that area. Although the video highlights some incredible surfing, it also shows just how incredibly crowded the water can get, with over 50 surfers trying to ride the same wave at one time.

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Domino’s Announces Plans to Test Pizza Delivery by Drone with Flirtey

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Credit: Flirtey

Domino’s Pizza has partnered with Flirtey Inc. (also called SkyDrop) to test delivering pizzas by drone in New Zealand. These tests will be the second stage of drone delivery testing for the two companies. In 2016, Flirtey worked with New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority and Ministry of Transport to conduct the first stage of these tests by making a pizza delivery from a Domino’s to a customer in Auckland. The drone that made that delivery is now on display at the Auckland Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). This second stage of testing will see more deliveries, and may pave the way for a regular drone delivery program to begin before too long.

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French Man Sentenced to 8 years in Prison for Flying Drone Near Iranian Border

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Image source

In May of 2020, a French man named Benjamin Brière was arrested by Iranian authorities near the Iranian border with Turkmenistan. The crime? Flying a drone. Brière is a dual citizen with both Iran and France, and he was in the country on vacation at the time of his arrest. Now, more than a year-and-a-half later, he has been convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years, with an additional eight months tacked onto his sentence for “propaganda against the Iranian Islamic system.” According to France’s foreign ministry his conviction has “no basis in fact” and is “unacceptable. ”

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British Non-Profit Uses Drones to Curb Cigarette Butt Litter

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Credit: Clean Up Britain

An organization called Clean Up Britain (CLUB) has partnered with Ellipsis Earth to reduce litter from cigarette butts in the city of Bristol. The first step they took in the effort was to get a baseline for how much of this kind of litter was present by using drones to survey the city, which was done over a period of ten days back in November. With clever advertising slogans that employ the word ‘flicker’ to refer to those who flick their cigarette butts on the street, the campaign aims to decrease litter by increasing a sense of civic responsibility. It is planned to last for four months, and will end in April.

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Chevron to Buy Drones from American Robotics for Autonomous Monitoring

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Credit: American Robotics

Chevron recently invested in American Robotics’ fully autonomous, FAA-approved Scout Systems, which can conduct up to 20 autonomous missions per day. These missions will be used by Chevron to monitor its assets, checking for things like oil leaks, methane emissions, and damaged equipment. Automating this kind of monitoring with autonomous drones is likely to become commonplace over the next decade, since the approach is much faster and cheaper than doing it manually. Further, these autonomous inspections have the potential to improve safety, since no one has to be in the field collecting data, while also finding damage to equipment and identifying potential environmental hazards much more quickly than is otherwise possible.

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