As any athlete will tell you, watching film is an integral part of preparation; film helps athletes learn about their opponent and it can also teach athletes about themselves. Watching yourself practice makes it easier to identify and correct your own mistakes. But when it comes to action sports like snowboarding, running, or rowing, capturing useful film can be a challenge.
This is the exact conundrum Squadrone Systems is going to solve this summer. The French company has developed a software solutions package known as Next Level Aerial Filming that allows drone mounted cameras to lock on to a subject, frame its at a specified angle, and track the subject within the specified frame. And it is all controlled from your mobile device. It is a concept best explained by watching it in action:
“The idea came from a need we experienced ourselves,” Squadrone CEO Antoine Level told Dronelife. “How could we have 3rd person vision when you do action sports? We found no easy, autonomous solution in the market, so we decided to build it.”
The exposure from the accelerator allowed the Next Level team to bring in aeronautics software experts to develop their platform.
“The technology we are developing is a combination of technologies and mathematical algorithms to get the system as intelligent as possible,” said Level. “We are currently testing different mixes such as GPS and sensors…One of our major innovations is to break free from signal quality issues thanks to our image recognition technology.”
Next Level says they will be bringing their software to market this summer, with a more complete package rolling out later this year. Level explained:
“We first intend to sell the software which will allow to interact with different types of drones. We are also looking to partner with different drone makers in order to sell complete packages including drone and software, as well as drone, software and gimbal. In the end, we will have several packages: Software only, Ready to fly package and Solutions for Professionals.”
Commercial drones still aren’t legal (technically) in the US, but Level believes the American market will be “a key market” for his product. In order to be prepared for the inevitable safety concerns of an autonomous drone, Squadrone is making safety a priority.
“Above all, we also believe this kind of solution will work only if safety comes first. We have use our technology with our friends, family and pets and don’t want to take any risks. This is why part of our development is focusing on how to ensure the overall system is safe. We have experts in embedded software development certified for aeronautics on the team who are… developing safety and backup functionalities to make sure we don’t lose a drone, that we can always catch-up to the moving target and that we have a fail-safe scenario.”
If the autonomous camera sounds like the solution to your action sports footage problem, or you have never been able to perfectly capture yourself performing everyday tasks like a superhero, you can stay updated on all of Next Level’s progress by signing up for their mailing list here.
“We want to hear as much as possible from you all – so do not hesitate to sign-up and comment. The more feedback we receive, the better we can plan next steps.”
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com