This week in drone news we have three stories for you; Amazon and other drone company layoffs, a follow-up on a crash between a drone and a Cessna 172, and Airbus is looking for partners on the Zephyr Project.
00:18 Drone Layoffs
01:28 Drone Crashes into Cessna 172
02:23 Airbus is looking for partners on the Zephyr project
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Your first story this week isn’t a great one unfortunately.
We’ve seen at least 4 drone companies in the last few weeks initiate lay offs including Amazon, American Robotics, Drone Up, and Inspired flight.
Of these, both Amazon and American Robotics both laid off over half their work forces, with Amazon letting about 80% go and American Robotics reducing by 60%.
According to a DroneXL Article, the Amazon layoffs were based not on merit of employee but rather on salary.
Additionally, employees were given no warning, and layoffs occurred at all Prime Air drone locations.
This comes just a few weeks after Amazon began deliveries in Texas and California.
We’re wondering if this reduction in force is yet another hurdle, or if this may signify the end of the nearly 10 year program to deliver packages via drone.
The second story this week is a follow up to a police drone that collided with 172 in August 2021 in Canada.
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.
The instructor and student thought they hit a bird and landed normally. They realized the extent of the damage when arriving on the ramp.
The report mentions task saturation of the drone pilot as one of the cause. The spotter was reportedly not trained and didn’t know they had to maintain visual line of sight with the aircraft.
The police force has since rewritten their procedures to include training for all VOs.
Your third story this week is the Zephyr Drone!
We preciously talked about the Airbus Zephyr, which flew for 64 days over the Arizona desert.
Airbus is now looking for partners and investors for the project, which will be created under a subsidiary company called “Aalto”.
Airbus will maintain ownership of Aalto, but will consider outside investment to assist with accelerating the project’s objectives.
According to Airbus the design is in the final stages and will soon go into production.
Zephyr is a high-altitude long endurance platform designed as a communications relay or a surveillance platform.
The aircraft uses solar panels and batteries to stay aloft for months at a time without the need to refuel.
We’ll let you know if we see any more news about the Zephyr!
That’s it! Don’t forget to like and subscribe, have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week!