Hitting the Wall Street Journal a little while ago, GoPro is developing a line of multirotors for 2015. Nothing says a good idea like the camera guy making the ideal platform for their product, but has the train already left the station?
GoPro has the right idea with their 2015 ventures, but it will come down to implementation. There is a lot of competition already, so they have to make it right the first time. Their best bet, in my opinion, would be to partner with a known and practiced multirotor platform and create an all in one package without trying to reinvent the wheel, as many are trying to do.
That brings up an all to familiar point to those of your repeat-readers of my column. Yes, camera platforms/multirotor vehicles are definitely not going anywhere soon, but I fear for not only the hobby, but for the market in general. Similar to my rant regarding micro-quads, market saturation in my LHS and now the internet is becoming a brutal reality. Thunder Tiger, Align, DJI, Blade, and Walkera are just the major brands with product out and available for all to purchase already. This doesn’t include Chinese clones, frame kits, and the numerous quadcopters being crowdfunded on Kickstarter and other internet funding sites.
Which leads into my next point, that novice pilots make me nervous. I am not referencing the average hobby enthusiast who wants to learn to fly and makes mistakes, but the never been in a hobby shop, knows nothing about safety, Joe Entrepreneur who is picking up, buying, or building various multirotor platforms. The scary part is that they assume they know all there is to know about building and piloting (anyone remember Bub?), and the technology changes so much even I cannot always keep up. In just the last 24 hours, a ‘professional pilot’ clipped a photographer’s nose with a propeller while flying as the photographer was there to work on a piece about a New York TGI Friday’s promotion involving multirotors. What’s worse, is the reaction from the pilot was close to showing signs of arrogance (and I quote, “If people get hurt, they’re going to come regardless. People get hurt in airplanes, they still fly. There is a risk involved — anything flying, there is risk.”) Understandably, yes technically there is risk in all things, but that doesn’t mean I want someone’s quadcopter to give my nose a kiss when I am at a restaurant, or anywhere else for that matter.
As a hobby shop employee, an AMA member, and looking at being a helicopter safety officer for my local flying club, please show restraint and always be as safe as possible when flying/driving your RC vehicle outside of designated tracks, airfields, etc. There is a lot of potential danger when driving or flying: from dealing with local passerbys, to passing vehicles, to any other obstacle that may get in your way. Be Aware, and stay safe.
Alright enough of my ranting! I swear I am getting the Ares Ethos FPV/HD review done, and my FPV 250 class racer is built and ready for an article as well. As always, feel free to shoot me an email with questions at kevin (at) bigsquidrc (dot) com, and I will answer and possibly write your very own article! Until next time, Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!