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Ideas: Motorcycle and Drones - Match Made In Heaven

18
June
2014
  Posted at 06:00:00 PM
  File under  Gadgets Ideas
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France

In today 24 hour TV news cycles, drones have gotten a bad rep. Drones are used to kill people while their operators sit comfortably behind a big screen TV, drinking their soda and eating their pizza (kind of simplified, but you get the message). But more and more drones are being made for civilian use, to film like you have never been able to do. Filming your backyard from a bird's point of view is almost priceless (well, it is priceless, since often these drones cost an arm and half a leg).

But if you want to film yourself riding your motorcycle, it's possible but today you need someone to operate the drone. The drone needs to be piloted, much like an airplane, following you around, and keeping you and your motorcycle framed in the video camera (usually a Gopro). But that is changing rapidly. Already a few months ago I mentioned the MeCam (link Open link in a new window), a small drone that would follow you and film you. The project was more a novelty, but not a really serious motorcycle riding project. Until now.....

... now we have two projects, both to be found in the crowd-funding site Kickstarter (but don't worry about sending money since they are both more than fully funded) and both are video filming drones that AUTOMATICALLY FOLLOW YOU.

That's right, both drones will follow and frame you correctly, automatically while you concentrate on riding your motorcycle (or doing whatever activity you want). As one project says "it's the ultimate GoPro accessory".

Here are both projects.

HEXO+ Open Hexoplus link in a new window
Hexo+ is a project that is superbly funded. Initially the team was looking for US$50,000, but instead with weeks still to go, they go more than 10x that; US$560,000. And there still are a few spots open for the early bird adopters (meaning you can buy it cheaper than when it goes on sale on-line).

Drone Hexo

HEXO+ is a 6 propeller drone and a fixing mechanism for a GoPro. The GoPro is fixed to the drone via a gimble, meaning that even if the drone vibrates or jerks, the camera doesn't, i.e., a stable image.

Drone Hexo

The HEXO2 follows you for up to speeds of 70 kph (45 mph) and keeps you in the video's frame. You can even get it to follow you and then overtake you... how cool is that?

Drone Hexo

You can see from the photo that the HEXO+ stay right where you have instructed it to stay, in this case behind the rider. You use your smartphone to instruct it what to do, and where to do it. Then you go off and do your thing.

Drone Hexo

How would you like to have shots like this??? The battery lasts 15 minutes. If you forget about it, it will land by itself when the battery is about to go flat. The HEXO+ follows you smartphone via a special wireless link that can quickly allow the HEXO+ to change flight path according to your riding.

There are still a few spots available at Kickstarter to obtain the drone. US$299 for a DIY kit, which involves the 3D print plans, flight controller and app. The initial entry level early bird special is gone (US$499), but levels above it are still available, starting at US$599. When it reaches production, the drone is going on sale for US$899.

Click here to go to the HEXO+ web site Open Hexoplus link in a new window
Click here to go to the HEXO+ Kickstarter site Open Kickstarter link in a new window
Click here to go to the HEXO+ Facebook page Open Facebook link in a new window

AirDog Open AirDog link in a new window
AirDog is similar to the above drone, and is also fully funded (asking for US$200,000, got US$213,000 so far) and they also still have some open slots available for the Early Bird.

Drone Airdog

The Air Dog has 4 propellers, but the difference with the above drone, is that they also use a wireless leash. The leash comes in the form of a wristband that can control the drone remotely. So you don't need to go fumble for your smartphone (though that option exists, since you can control it with a smartphone), just press one of the buttons on the wristband and your "dog" will obey your commands. Want it to go higher? press a button. Land, Press a button.

Drone Airdog

The AirDog also uses a gimbal to ensure that the video image is smooth with no vibrations or jerks. The top speed is 40 mph and you can fly the drone for 10 to 20 minutes.

Drone Airdog

Here you can see the AirDog in front of the jumping motorcycles. Cool photo? You can even tell the AirDog to circle around you while you ride.

Drone Airdog

The leash idea is an interesting concept, since at times you want to move the drone to another area, but if you need to get your smartphone out, you need to take off your gloves and tell it to move. The leash can be operated with your gloves, probably even while riding. The leash will allow you to control the drone for up to 1000 feet (about 300 meters).

Prices are a bit higher here, the early bird special will cost you US$995, while the retail price will be US$1,500.

Click here to go to the AirDog Kickstarter site Open Kickstarter link in a new window
Click here to go to the AirDog web site Open Airdog link in a new window
Click here to go to the AirDog Facebook page Open Facebook link in a new window





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