Across the globe, military and law enforcement agencies are using drones for security and surveillance purposes. But did you know that there are now personal drones that tech savvy consumers can use?
I found an RVer who uses one as his hobby
David Bott is one of a growing number of radio control hobbyists who has discovered the ultimate high tech toy – a personal drone. In Bott’s case, it’s called a quadcopter, a miniature helicopter with four rotors, a camera and virtual reality video goggles that give him a live video feed as his flying robot travels the land.
“Man likes to fly,” he told me. “And being able to see footage that others don’t see is just a wonderful experience. I’m getting a bird’s eye view and nobody else sees that.”
Bott and his wife Brenda are from New York, but travel much of the year in a 43-foot Tour Master.
They're young for the RV crowd. At 40, he suffered a stroke a couple years ago. Fully recovered, he says it was a wakeup call. “Life is so short,” he said. “We don't know what tomorrow may bring. So we decided to push ourselves out of our bubble and see what is out there.” That's the name of the website they have to chronicle their adventures… outsideourbubble.com
David is a successful Internet entrepreneur and is able to work from the road. But every chance he gets, he flies the quadcopter to take aerial videos and stills of his trips. I caught up with him in Indianapolis, at the Family Motor Coach Association RV convention. The video accompanying this post is the one I did for my NBC-TV PC Mike weekly report.
“These are drones,” Bott explained. “These are autonomous vehicles. You’re seeing more and more of this. Using Google maps, believe it or not, and your Android tablet, you can actually plot a course and tell it to go and it will actually fly that course.”
They do attract attention. While at the FMCA event, a police officer spotted it hovering around some of the motorhomes at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and followed it back to David.
“He was worried at first about who was controlling it and what was going on ,” he said. “But after I explained and gave him a look through the video goggles, he said he thought the police department should get one.”
Cost of this personal drone? About $3,000 with all the bells and whistles. The quadcopter can travel at a speed of 30 miles an hour and has a range of about quarter mile in any direction. And yes, it’s perfectly legal.
Bott is very careful how he flies it. He has taken out a $1 million personal insurance policy, just in case.
“There are a lot of strict regulations about flying these,” he said. “They're easy to fly but, as you can imagine, there are privacy and security issues, as well as safety precautions that need to be carefully followed.”
Bottom line, though, is anyone who can afford it can have their own personal drone.
How am I going to talk Jennifer into letting me get one of these?