Drone News: Mini 4 Pro Release, Country of Origin Ban, Zipline BVLOS, and New PI Partnership!

Welcome to the Weekly UAS News Update. This week, we have four stories for you. First, DJI has released the Mini 4 Pro. We also discuss a potential “country of origin” ban for the DOT, Zipline receiving FAA approval for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations, and a new partnership with the Pilot Institute. Let's dive in.

Mini 4 Pro Release

First up this week is the new Pro. You might have seen our video in recent days, along with many others about this drone. The new unit boasts a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor, similar to its predecessor. It can capture 12 or 48-megapixel photos and offers 4K video at 60 frames per second or 100 frames per second in slow-motion mode. With features like ActiveTrack 360, omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, D-log waypoints, Night Mode, and more, DJI's latest offering is impressive, especially for a mini drone. Notably, the flight time remains consistent with its predecessors. However, there's a slight weight difference in the Mini 4 Pro's battery. When using older batteries, the drone weighs in at 251 grams, a detail some might have missed in our initial video. For a comprehensive look, check out our reviews and the beginner's guide we've published.

Possible Country of Origin Ban

Another significant story this week is a bill proposed in the US House of Representatives. Amendment 1155 to HR 4366 seeks to prohibit DOT grant awardees from using drones based on their country of origin. This doesn't only pertain to government entities. The ban could affect public safety units, municipal governments, and civil drone operators supporting various functions, as stated in a direct quote from the bill. We believe there's a better solution to this issue. Instead of imposing bans based on origin, establishing universal standards for drones would be more effective. If this potential ban concerns you, we encourage reaching out to your representative. We've also included a link to the Drone Advocacy Alliance in the description for those interested in getting involved.

Zipline BVLOS

Continuing with our updates, has become the fourth entity to receive an FAA waiver. They're set to operate in Salt Lake City, , and Bentonville, . Their innovative detect and avoid system offers real-time airspace monitoring, eliminating the need for visual observers. This authorization represents a significant step forward, allowing Zipline to operate truly BVLOS. With over 50 million commercial miles flown, primarily outside the US in Africa, the data from their sense and avoid systems will be invaluable to the FAA as it looks to integrate UAS into national airspace. It's an exciting development, and we hope it won't be exclusive to a select few.

New Pilot Institute Partnership

We're excited to announce our partnership with Axon Air. As a leader in public safety solutions for wireless streaming, flight logs, reporting, and evidence management, our collaboration aims to provide training for public safety agencies. For more on this, check out the linked article below.

Before we conclude, a quick announcement: we'll be attending the Drone Show in Fort Collins next week, from Friday to Sunday. The event is free for the public on the weekend, and we'll be offering a first-flight experience for drone novices. Come meet our team; we'll have four representatives present.

In the meantime, have a fantastic weekend, and we'll see you next week.

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Greg Reverdiau
Greg Reverdiau
Articles: 56

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