As if we weren’t concerned enough that drones and selfie culture are taking over the world, a company have decided to bring out a “pet drone” which users can lead around on a leash.
The Fotokite Phi is slated to dramatically improve aerial photography and it’s now available for pre-order as part of a crowdfunding campaign. Prices start at $249 (£159) and you can stick your name down for one on their IndieGogo page, if you’re so inclined.
All you need is a GoPro to stick in the pet drone and then you can take aerial selfies to your heart’s content. Its creators claim the drone does away with complex controls and can be manoeuvred using simple gestures, with the leash design circumventing strict laws controlling UAV flight.
There are also rules governing who can operate drones and where they can be used, but keeping a drone on its lead should sidestep any safety and privacy concerns. Plus, you won’t have to clean up after it when you’re in the park.
The drone doesn’t rely on GPS, machine vision or even a compass for navigation, which should decrease the chances of crashes.
Sergei Lupashin, the inventor of the pet drone, was reportedly inspired by drone operators using UAVs for aerial photography during protests in Russia in 2011, although the project soon went in a very different direction indeed!
Speaking to the BBC and Mail Online, Lupashin said:
One of the most common requests we get is to release a consumer friendly Fotokite – something affordable for folks who want to use one for photography, a hobby or just fun. We’ve learned a lot by working with broadcasters and TV crews to make the Fotokite Pro and are excited now to unveil our first offering with the consumer in mind.
With its physical connection to users, the Fotokite always knows where you are and stays in place as you move. Between the leash and the camera at the bottom, it’s a cross between an airborne pet and a steadicam in the sky. Should something happen, the leash gives a robust fail safe – the vehicle reduces thrust and it automatically comes back to the operator. We are passionate about making aerial photography safer and more accessible to everyone.
Commercial drones are banned in the U.S. and there are laws banning their flight within close proximity of people, buildings and bridges in the UK and other countries. Whether the pet drone will bypass these laws remains unclear so you might not actually be able to get that perfect selfie just yet. How unfortunate…