Despite the FAA’s best efforts, the commercial drones are on the rise. Many companies are looking to get in on what is projected to be a multi-billion dollar industry. To get their foot in the door, a lot of those companies are turning to crowdfunding sites. Here are some of of the most exciting drone kickstarters you should be watching.
Airdog is a drone that follows you around capturing your every move on a GoPro Camera. Designed for the action sports crowd, the UAS includes a collapsible quadcopter, a waterproof ‘Airleash’ worn on the wrist, a two access gimbal for your GoPro and a mobile app for your iOS or Android powered smartphone.
The Airleash is the basic control system for the drone itself; you set altitude, distance and angle right from the wearable console. Airdog then follows you relative to the Airleash’s position.
The AirDog boasts an all-terrain, weather-resistant design, up to 20 minutes of flight time, a top speed of 40 mph, a range of up to 1000 ft and extensive safety features like autonomous takeoff and landing as well as collision and battery -sensitive shutdown.
Watch the AirDig video below. The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to run through July 26 and you can contribute here. The team expects to ship their first models in Novemeber 2014.
EasyDrone is the definition of a plug-and-play drone. It takes about 30 seconds to assemble the EasyDrone (there are five pieces and no additional tools needed) in the field and there are no external wires.
Creator Ivan Stamatovski set out to make a quick, user-friendly solution for capturing aerial video. The result is a drone that comes loaded with standard features and interchangeable parts that snap together like high-tech K’Nex (a patented design).
Six flying modes, live video stream to your tablet or computer, autonomous flight via GPS waypoints and virtual reality compatibility are all available out-of-the-box. And the main component of the drone’s frame, the onboard control hub known as the GoFly, is compatible with the current and future iterations of the EasyDrone.
The EasyDrone Kickstarter ends on July 11, with the first shipment of drones coming in August.
Similar to the AirDog, HEXO+ is an autonomous, GoPro-equipped drone designed for (and to an extent, with) the action sports crowd. The various HEXO+ packages on Kickstarter can include a hexacopter, gimbal and a GoPro camera.
But what sets the HEXO+ apart, is the way it frames the subject in the video.
Using a mobile app on your iOS or Android smartphone, you can set the angle and distance of the drone relative to your position within the frame of the video. The drone then follows the subject by tracking the phone.
The HEXO+ supports about 15 minutes of flight time at a range of 50 meters, autonomous take-off and landing, and speeds of up to 45 mph. Antoine Level, CEO of the company behind the HEXO+ (Squadrone System) says he expects to ship the first units in May 2015.
You can contribute to the Kickstarter, which will close on July 15, here.
The Phenox drone is a small quadcopter that fits (and launches from) the palm of your hand. What separates the Phenox from other quadcopters, however, is the fact that there is no physical controller or pilot station.
Instead, the drone is controlled by voice commands and motion controls. Say the word, and the Phenox takes off. It will hover over your hand until you wave it on to a new destination.
Its pretty amazing to witness -so you should definitely watch the Kickstarter video below.
The campaign just ended about a week ago but not for nothing; they raised over 400% of their goal.
Phenox is also looking at a release date this August.
Last but not least is Skyteboard. This foldable quadcopter wants to be the first online, social network compatible UAS. The Skyteboard works in tandem with FatDoor.com, a centralized neighborhood social network that was sold to Google in 2011 and has since been restarted by the original CEO.
What does social network integration for UAS mean? From the Skyteboard Kickstarter page:
It means that multiple friends who are physically near each other and connected through the Fatdoor social network will be able to do things never before possible with their mobile phones and tablets, such as “fly together” through formation flights, and do amazing coordinated activities, such as mirror each others flights and record events from multiple angles.
Of all the projects on this list, Skyteboard is the least mature but it is also by far the most ambitious. Still, the team is hoping to ship the first Skyteboards in November 2014.
Can’t wait for one of these models to hit the mass market? Let us help you find the right drone for you using our new drone configurator!
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