Finding the line between feasible and ridiculous isn’t easy, but that’s exactly what the best April Fools’ pranks manage to do.
As always, this year there were plenty of drone industry stories circulating on the big day. Here are our favorites from around the web. Which of them did you fall for?
The Amazon Blimp
Amazon has filed a number of interesting delivery-related patents over the years, from self-destruct mechanisms to floating distribution centers.
However, the online retailer’s ambitious aerial delivery plans have been more PR than substance to date.
But on April 1st a video began to circulate of a huge Amazon blimp surrounded by obedient Amazon Prime delivery drones. In the clip, they appear to be ferrying packages to and from the mothership. The patent had come true and testing was underway! Or was it?
In fact, the video was (an admittedly very convincing) fake. We’re not sure of its origin, but congratulations on its creator for fooling most of the internet.
The Drone Dog Walker
A certain type of person is aggravated by the idea of drones taking on jobs that aren’t essential or could easily be done by a human. Package deliveries, on-demand coffee refills, hotdogs from above… that kind of thing.
So you can just imagine their blood starting to boil when finding out about ThumbsUp’s drone dog walker. The online retailer launched their pet-friendly flying robot - which stands ready to take the leash and walk your dog so you don’t have to - on April 1st.
Apparently, it features “a live microphone and camera, so that you can talk to your dog as the drone walks it and Leash Control technology in case your puppy gets carried away.”
The Drone Car Charger
Much has been made of Impossible Aerospace’s innovative battery design. The startup’s US-1 drone is more of a flying battery than a flying camera and can stay airborne for over an hour at a time.
Which explains why so many people fell for a LinkedIn post from company founder and CEO Spencer Gore, showing the US-1 being used to charge up an electric car.
“Super excited to announce the Impossible Aerospace drone-based charger for electric vehicles! Request a charge from your phone and a US-1 will arrive within minutes to top up your ride using your mobile charge connector,” he wrote.
April Fools’, delivered with conviction.
The Delivery Drone Powered By Positive Thoughts
Another play on Amazon’s intriguing patent history was published in a Dronelife April Fools’ article.
The piece claimed that Amazon’s latest patent was harnessing the power of telekinesis to remotely pilot delivery drones. In fact, Amazon’s plans were to power their fleet with nothing but the positive thinking of a few pilots.
“With enough training and Sudoku, a small core team at Amazon fulfillment centers could control our entire fleet of delivery drones, transporting packages across the country without lifting a finger,” the article suggested.
Wishful thinking indeed.
The Flying First Class Seat
Major airline Emirates also joined the April Fools’ party with a tweet that claimed travelers will be able to fly via first-class private drone between Dubai airport and any location in the city from April 2020.
“...our chauffeur-less drones... feature two fully-enclosed First Class private suites. Our new drone airport transfer service will be offered to all Emirates Skywards Platinum members,” said the post.
It sounds incredibly farfetched, but the thing is: drone taxis have actually taken off and undergone extensive testing in Dubai, so this April Fools’ isn’t actually too far from reality.
Fly on our chauffeur-less drones between any location in Dubai and @DXB, from April 2020. Each drone features two fully-enclosed First Class private suites. Our new drone airport transfer service will be offered to all Emirates Skywards Platinum members. #FlyEmiratesFlyBetter pic.twitter.com/s35dNg89jz— Emirates Airline (@emirates) March 31, 2019