Small civilian drones becoming common
UNDATED (WHDH) -- Unmanned drones are typically associated with military operations but now smaller civilian drones are becoming more common, and coming closer to entering your personal airspace.
A helicopter drone captured a slick video of what looked like a TV reality series being filmed at a Los Angeles multi-million dollar. The aerial tour is used to market pricey real estate in Los Angeles. Photographer Daniel Garate fashioned it out of makeshift parts he ordered online.
"I started testing and calibrating, and practiced, and now I have a flying camera,” said Garate.
Garate operates his "heli-cam" with radio controls, GPS, and data telemetry help it fly automatically on pre-set routes. And the video shot by the drone could prove to be useful to real estate agents looking for an edge.
"Everybody loves it. Everybody doesn't understand how it was done, so you tell them. You tell them a drone helicopter. They don't know what that is. So it's gone over very well. It’s just a great perspective on how to see the house,” said Stephen Shapiro, real estate broker.
Aerial robotics is taking off in the civilian world. A company called ‘Aerovironment’ is marketing this lightweight drone to law enforcement agencies to help them track down suspects.
Japanese authorities are using a ‘T-hawk’ helicopter drone to survey the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. Conservationists in South Africa want to import drone and radar technology to track rhino poachers. And a California organization called do-it-yourself drones wants to make the technology cheaper and widely available to anyone who wants one. Co-founder Chris Anderson brought up the idea of a personal surveillance drone.
“Once we make it easier to put an eye in the sky, I think users will discover the real applications,” said Anderson.
Civilian drones need FAA approval to operate. But that could change in just a few years when the government agency plans to open more airspace to civilian and military drones.
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