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What’s New: 350 or more drones were lost during a show in Malborne, Australia.

Why It’s Important:

  • The likely cause was interference with GPS signals. The drones would have automatically landed when signals were lost.
  • It is a demonstration of:
    • How easy it is to lose GPS reception, especially if you have simple, lightweight receivers like the ones on many drones.
    • The damage that can be done – this time it was just the drones, but imagine if they had landed on the crowd and not the river.
    • The importance of having multiple and robust navigation sources for all aviation operations, especially autonomous.

What Else to Know:

  • This has happened at least several times before.  See our posts on similar events in China HERE and HERE.
  • Even though China has a much better navigation system that could be used by drones it does not seem to always be used as evidenced by these events. SWaP-C (size, weight and power – cost) may be a big reason. Reducing SWaP-C is usually just a matter of research. Look at the progress of GPS from two seats and a giant console to a chip.
  • The US government is only now coming to grips with navigation for automated aviation. See yesterday’s post. We think the government is late to the game and should accelerate efforts.


Shocking aftermath of Matildas light show disaster as hundreds of ruined drones are fished out of Melbourne river after they dropped out of the sky before France match

  •  Hundreds of drones fished out of Yarra River
  •  Drones were part of pre-game light show
  •  A malfunction caused them to plunge in river

Professional divers have fished out hundreds of drones from Melbourne‘s Yarra River after a technical malfunction during a light display on Friday night sent them plummeting into the water.

The light-show display was set to amaze the crowd at the Matildas’ warm-up clash with France at Marvel Stadium in Docklands before the World Cup gets underway on Thursday.

But the audience was left gasping for the wrong reasons when hundreds of drones appeared to stop mid-air and plummet directly into the water.