A Drone's Not Just For Christmas

Frank Zirger

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Drone footage has worked it's way into the mainstream of sports edits. The use of drones is no longer a rarity, something which drone lovers out there would argue validates the device as more than just a novelty gimmick. In a social media era, every surfer craves footage of themselves. Face it, at some level you're in it for the glory.

Thanks to the invention of the GoPro, you can indulge in you're own sense of glory until the cows come home. Angles do, however, have their limits and if you're riding solo, who's going to capture your moment of glory?

With that in mind, the AirDog could be the ultimate solution for the self-indulgent surfer of today. An automated drone, set to follow your every move – man’s best friend, faithfully capturing the action from above. The ever increasing popularity of drone footage alongside the potential of solo filming, has shaped a potential market for the AirDog product.

Edgar Rozentals is CEO of the AirDog brand, founded in 2012. You might have noticed his Kickstarter campaign which recently ended with 1,357 backers who pledged a total of $1,368,177 to the project's initial target of $200,000. He describes the product as: “The world’s first autonomous personal action sports drone."

Rozentals, a self-confessed “adrenaline and speed junkie” with a “weakness for gadgets and Electronics” claims a friend suggested the idea of an autonomous drone for tracking their more extreme endeavours. This suggestion resulted in AirDog, an “out-of-the-box drone for every surfer, kite, wake, snow, skate or MX rider out there” which allows the owner of the product to “shoot aerial video like a pro” without having to point or pilot the camera.

A prototype was developed – a quadcopter using a DIY autopilot and connected to a smartphone over WiFi. But there were clear faults with this model, namely the lack of precision that smartphone GPS provided, and the simple fact that one rarely carries their smartphone whilst surfing, skiing, kitesurfing etc.

AirDog’s response to these faults, is the AirLeash. A device they describe as a “waterproof precision motion tracker with an array of inertial sensors.” AirLeash has a 300m range and can be strapped on to your wrist or helmet to provide a precise moving location for AirDog to chase.

The copter itself has 6 'follow-me' modes, whilst take-off and landing remain completely autonomous, it goes up to 40 mph, and has a 10-20 minute flight time. Operated by long range Bluetooth communication, the estimated retail of AirDog is in the region of $1500 and is now available for pre-order.

Imagine it now, the skyline of your local, brimming with AirDog drones terrorising the local bird population and narrowly avoiding each other whilst capturing you splashing around from a birds-eye perspective. Or maybe you would just rather have it follow you around town then watch the footage back, something like a real life GTA.

With their Kickstarter campaign now at an end, time will tell the venture's success. Whether or not it will revolutionise how amateurs film their own action sports, remains to be seen.

For more information check out AirDog.


Frank Zirger

Editorial Assistant