Drone News: Drone Layoffs, Cessna 172 Drone Crash, and Investors for Airbus’ Zephyr Project
This week in Drone News, we have three stories for you. Amazon and other Drone Companies are laying off employees. This is sad news, a follow-up on a crash that happened between a drone and a Cessna 172. There's more information that came out, and Airbus is looking for partners on the Zephyr project. We talked about that in the past as well. So let's get to it.
Lay-offs at Amazon Prime Air
Your first story this week is not a great one. Unfortunately, we've seen at least four companies in the last few weeks that have initiated layoffs, including Amazon American Robotics, DroneUp, and also Inspired Flight. Of these, both Amazon and American Robotics have actually laid off over half of their workforce, Amazon letting go 80% and American Robotics reducing by 60%.
Now, I do want to mention that this is not all of Amazon, even though all of Amazon was hit with layoffs. That 80% is in the drone branch, Amazon Prime Air, that has to deal with drone delivery packages. Now, according to this DroneXL article, the Amazon layoffs were based not on the merit of employees but rather on salary.
Additionally, employees received no warning. Some of the layoffs occurred at all Amazon Prime Air drone locations. Now, this comes a few weeks after Amazon began in Texas and in California. Now, I'm actually wondering if this reduction in force is actually just another hurdle or if this means that we're going to see the end of this 10-year-old drone delivery business that Amazon has put on.
Police drone collides with Cessna 172
Now we'll see your second story. This week is a follow-up to a Police drone that collided with a Cessna 172 in August of 2021 that happened in Canada. The drone was launched in the middle of a police chase of an armed suspect. According to the report, the pilot seemed to have lost situational awareness and ended up in the approach path of an Airport at 400 feet of elevation. Not a good thing. The instructor and the student were in the airplane and thought that they actually hit a bird, and then they landed normally. They only realized the extent of the damage once they arrived on the ramp. Now, the report also mentions that the task saturation of the pipe was a little bit too high, which is one of the causes of the crash.
A bad thing here. The spotter was reportedly not trained and also didn't know that they had to maintain a visual-line-of-sight with the unmanned aircraft. That's a bad thing. Now, the police force has told us that since they have rewritten the procedures, including training all of their VOs. That's a good thing.
Airbus' Zephyr drone
Your third story this week is the Zephyr drone. This is what we talked about this in the past. This is made by Airbus. It flew for 64 days over the desert of Arizona, right here in our backyard. Ended up crashing after 64 days, which is absolutely amazing. Now, this is not a small drone.
We're talking about something extremely large here. Airbus is now looking for partners and investors for the project, which will be created under. What they call a company called Aalto with two A's. Airbus will maintain ownership of Aalto, but they will consider outside investment in order to assist with making sure the project accelerates a little bit faster.
Now, according to Airbus, the design is in the final stages. And will soon go into production. Zephyr is a very high-altitude, long-endurance endurance. I would say long endurance is a good term here, a platform that's designed for a communications relay and also to do some kind of surveillance. Now the cool thing about this aircraft is it actually uses solar panels and batteries in order to stay up that long in the air. So we'll let you know if we actually hear some more about the Zephyr.
Alright. That's it. That's all I have for you this week. As always, subscribe and then we'll see you next week.
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