Drone News Roundup: Great Whites Feed Near Swimmers, Neil de Grasse Tyson and Nurk on Drone Racing Nueroscience, and a Close Look at U.S. Drone Companies
BY Zacc Dukowitz26 June 2020
Who doesn’t love a good drone video of sharks feeding?
In this week’s drone news roundup we highlight a video that came out recently of great whites eating a dead dolphin disturbingly close to swimmers in Malibu. In a time when medical drone delivery is top of mind for everyone, we’re covering medical drone delivery newcomer Swoop Aero’s successful Series A funding round, as well as the use of drones to deploy sterile mosquitoes to fight the spread of insect-borne illness—which is a first for us, and we’ve heard about a lot of different drone uses.
This week we’re also covering a discussion Neil deGrasse Tyson had with drone racing pilot Nurk about the neuroscience behind drone racing, and we take a look at some in-depth reporting on U.S. drone companies done recently by Sally French (AKA the Drone Girl).
Now let’s get to the stories and links!
Great Whites Feed Near Swimmers in Malibu
In a drone video shot last Sunday, a local artist captured at least four great white sharks snacking on a dead dolphin just off Padaro Lane in Malibu, CA. The location was close to swimmers and surfers and witnessed by a lucky group of people floating past in a boat, as you can see in the video.
Swoop Aerial’s Successful Series A
Image credit: Swoop Aero
Australian-based drone medical delivery company Swoop Aero (or “aeromedical logistics company” as they refer to themselves) just completed a successful Series A funding round, which will be used to reach its goal of helping 100 million people have access to better healthcare by 2025. The actual amount raised in the funding round doesn’t seem to be public information, but the company has disclosed that Right Click Capital and Tempus Partners have returned as investors after a year of global growth. It looks like we’re going to be hearing a lot more about Swoop Aero’s work in the coming months—the company was recently nominated for an AUVSI Xcellence Award in the Humanitarian category, and it continues making headlines for its work.
Since its launch in 2017, Swoop Aero has established operations in five countries through partnerships with global health leaders including UNICEF, UKAid and DFID, impacting over two million people, and most recently became the first company in the world to remotely pilot commercially used drones from another country, when delivering PPE and critical supplies in Malawi during the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst piloting the aircraft from Australia.
Mosquitoes Deployed by Drone to Stop Spread of Insect-Borne Illnesses
Photo credit: Bouyer et al.
We’ve heard of a lot of different far-out, futuristic uses for drones, like studying active volcanoes or using them to create artistic scenes in the night sky. But a new study detailing ways that drones can be used to deploy sterile mosquitoes to fight the spread of insect-borne illnesses, including malaria, might be one of the strangest—and most brilliant—we’ve come across. The goal of this work is to reduce the spread of illness by introducing sterile mosquitoes into the wild to control mosquito populations. The alternative to this approach is to release sterile mosquitoes manually, by physically walking into mosquito-infested swamps and other areas. Drones present a safer, much faster alternative.
Neil deGrasse Tyson Talks with Nurk on the Neuroscience Behind Drone Racing
Photo credit: Drone Racing League
We just learned about the conversation that astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson had with drone racing pilot Nurk (shown above), and it is a lot of fun. In the hour-long conversation recorded for the StarTalk Sports Edition podcast the two dive into drone racing as a sport, how Nurk got into racing, and the incredible neuroscience that allows drone pilots to fly through three-dimensional courses at speeds up to 120 miles per hour—and do so not only without crashing but with the goal of going as fast as possible.
Want to learn more about Nurk? Check out this interview we did with him a little while back.
A Close Look at U.S. Drone Companies
In a recent article, Sally French (The Drone Girl) takes a deep dive into the U.S. drone company landscape. The piece takes a look at what it actually means for a drone to be made in the U.S. when so much of the supply chain relies on parts from other countries; a history of U.S. drone companies (which could also be called a history of failed attempts to take on DJI); why the provenance of drones and drone components is such a hot topic right now (hint: it’s because of the American Security Drone Act); and then gives us a list of some of the top U.S. drone companies. It’s a doozy of a read, and well worth checking out.
Want to learn more about U.S. drone companies? Check out this in-depth series we wrote recently on the topic:
- Are U.S. Drone Companies Ready to Replace DJI? What the American Security Drone Act Means for the U.S. Drone Industry—Part 1 of 3
- Do U.S. Drone Companies Have a Fighting Chance in Public Safety Agencies? What the American Security Drone Act Means for the U.S. Drone Industry—Part 2 of 3
- How Will the U.S. Supply Chain Change Over the Next Two Years? What the American Security Drone Act Means for the U.S. Drone Industry—Part 3 of 3
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