By Kristin Edge
After being stuck in a traffic jam for 30 minutes Daniel Foote decided it was time to launch his drone and find out what was causing the hold-up.
He popped the boot of his car and within a couple of minutes had the flying contraption buzzing 400m above the earth.
Thanks to technology he was able to see exactly what the high-flying camera attached to the drone could see on his iPhone while sitting on the side of the road.
Mr Foote directed the drone north and was soon able to solve the mystery – a crane lifting a milk tanker from a paddock had blocked the road.
“I was heading to Paihia when I got stopped at the back of the queue. I could see the arm of the crane but didn’t know what was going on,” Mr Foote said.
“I stuck the drone up for a look and didn’t expect to see that.”
Mr Foote was able to control the drone from his position in the queue down the road and alter the height of the drone and change from video to photos – all with the touch of a button.
He said the flying machine could travel up to 1.2 kilometres away and could reach heights of 800m. There was 30 minutes flying time before a new battery needed to be used.
Mr Foote imported the drone from a robotic company in America and after some serious conversations with customs – to convince them he was not using it for illegal purposes – was able to get the drone up and flying.
A three-minute clip he filmed using the drone in July was a big hit on YouTube. The aerial views of McLeod Bay and Mount Aubrey are breathtaking.
He said the drone technology was being considered by police in Auckland to fly over serious crash scenes instead of using more expensive helicopters. And in America surf lifeguards were putting up drones to find people in the surf then directing rescue crews towards them.
“It’s technology that will be used more and more by people in a variety of fields,” Mr Foote said.