Americas Civil Drone Journalism

Drones for Peace $100 solution.

An interesting idea from Rotary Robotics, a $100 platform for drone journalism. Really like their competition elevator pitch.

DronesForPeace provides the key capabilities of a surveillance drone at a world changing price; $100 drones distributed in bulk by journalists to crowdsource the video coverage of a natural or political disaster.
DronesForPeace proliferates aerial video in the same way cell phone cameras provided the story on the ground in recent events like the Arab spring. Like a robotic carrier pigeon, we carry the footage miles away from the conflict to those who can spread the message.
From their under own website they have this to say
We are currently developing our first product, a $100 surveillance aircraft designed to bring airborne imagery to the masses. This aircraft functions as a flying point and shoot camera, allowing any operator to gather aerial photos or video with no prior training in aircraft or RC planes. The aircraft is preprogrammed through a map based application on your computer or smartphone.The user selects the locations which are to be photographed and throws the aircraft. The plane automatically flys to these locations and takes the desired photos, after which it returns to its starting location and lands. The user can then download the photos from the aircraft onto their computer or other mobile device. The photos can be stitched together into a map or used for any desired photographic purpose.
I think $500 without camera is a more realistic price point, after all you don’t want the package to be a single use system. There can be no doubt though that simple cheap systems will proliferate quickly. Watch now for the outcry from big business who won’t want their perceived expertise watered down by newcomers.
In January I predicted a big future for the X8 a Chinese wing that’s sort of coming true, several operators are beginning to deploy the platform including our own Gene Robinson. It does require quite a bit of work to harden it for repeated use though. An X8 will be probably be making an appearance at the Outback Challenge in Australia later this year its through the first round of scrutiny.
When all is said and done I might have been a year early with my prediction and if Rotary Robotics get it right $900 too expensive.

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