When a two-pound toy drone crashed on the White House grounds in early 2015, the nation went into a frenzy over legal and safety issues surrounding drones.
President Barack Obama called for greater regulation of drones, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer brought up the specter of al Qaeda-manned drones, and the drone-maker itself installed a firmware update that prevents its drones from flying near the White House.
But one company’s potential technological solution seems completely contradictory to the purpose of drones: Putting them on a leash.
The drone flies itself on the end of a tether, controlled by simple gestures of the controller.
Perspectives Robotics is known for creating Fotokite Pro, a $10,000 drone that uses a tether to provide an unlimited power supply from the ground. Its users include journalists from the BBC. Now the company is targeting hobbyists looking for a small, portable drone to bring on hikes or to picnics.
“With the broadcast version, you’re looking at high-quality video,” founder Sergei Lupashin said. “With this, you’re looking at affordability and making them accessible.”
“It’s a cross between an airborne pet and a steadicam in the sky,” Lupashin said.
At 12 ounces, it’s the lightest GoPro-carrying quadcopter on the market, and it folds into a compact carrying case about the size of a two-liter soda bottle. The leash extends 26 feet, which is about two and a half stories high.