Surely you’ve seen them by now, Tricopters, Quad Rotors, Hexacopters, there has been an amazing increase in the amount of R/C multi-rotor aircraft this year. I believe the increase is due in part by the popularity of the Parrot A.R. Drone. The A.R. Drone is controlled by any iOS device and sends a real time video feed over wifi back to the device. It’s seriously cool, but I’m learning there is so much more these things can do.
GPS, way-point navigation, 3-axis gyros, on-board computers, what does it all mean? In short, it means these radio controlled aircraft are super stable, precise, and can be programmed to do nearly anything. Plot out some way-points on a map and your drone can take off, maintain a set altitude and fly to those points. Once you start doing some research, you’ll be amazed at what these drones are capable of. I’ve even seen some sensors that the drone can track and follow at a set distance. Imagine the military and law enforcement uses for that! Place the sensor under a suspects car and when they leave, the drone can track and video the whole thing. They can fly at speeds up to 70+ MPH, so no worries about loosing the bad guys.
That all sounds pretty great, but I’m thinking more selfishly. What can I do with a drone like this? Well for starters, FPV or First Person Video is a great new way to fly. Slap on your set of video goggles, and your now looking at the view from inside the drone. Take off, fly around and explore the world from the air without ever leaving the ground. Combine that with a pan/tilt stabilized camera mount and you can shoot some great HD video footage. I can totally see movie directors using these to get shots that their boom mounts just can’t reach and it’s a whole lot less expensive than renting a helicopter. For me, I would love to go to the airport with my powered paraglider and use the sensor. I would launch the drone and tell it to go to about 50ft and hold altitude, then take off in the paraglider. The drone would follow me filming all the while and maintain its pre-programmed distance. I’d have my very own chase cam in the air. What would you do with a drone? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment and let us know.
Check out this article to see what the FAA thinks about all this:
FAA looks into News Corps Daily Drone