Thursday, 7 January 2016

Crowdfunding a Drone That Takes Selfies

Drone

World’s Safest Drone by Fleye


The world’s safest drone by Fleye is made by two Belgian founders wherein the drone is the size of a soccer ball with its propellers on the inner side which is encased by a shell. Most of the drones in the market tend to have their propellers exposed. The CEO of Fleye, Laurent Eschenauer, had informed CNBC at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in London, recently that if they were going to have autonomous flying robots around, they need to make them safe’.

The company had raised around half of its 175,000 euro so far, funding goal on Kickstarter with 38 days left. The starting price is 599 euros for one of the drones. Co-founders are now opening up the operating system of Linus for the drone to run on it, so that the developers may develop apps for it and are expecting to launch the device by April 2016.

The drone is controlled through an Android or iOS smartphone and is equipped with some pre-programmed functions like when a user tends to click the selfie control; the drone autonomously tends to move to position itself to take a picture of the user.

Supports Computer Vision Library OpenCV


The main invention of Fleye is its exceptional spherical design where all the moving parts seems to be sheltered which means that one can be hold, touch, push and bump into Fleye without much trouble of being injured. It also means that while bumping into something, Fleye could be more robust.

One does not need piloting skill to control the drone but just select a flying camera mode, - selfie, panorama, virtual tripod etc. andwatch the live video stream focusing on capturing photos and videos. If one intends to be in manual control, you could use the virtual gamepad or hook a Bluetooth gamepad to the smartphone. Fleye tends to have a powerful on-board computer like the latest smartphone which is dual-core ARM A9, with hardware accelerated video encoding, together with two GPUs, 512MB of RAM and runs on Linux.

Moreover it also supports Computer vision library OpenCV which means that Fleye has the capacity of being programmed to execute mission autonomously, responding to what it tends to see in the environment.

Operating from Logistic to Disaster Recovery


The main anxiety for regulators looking at drones after various high profile occurrences, is safety. A drone had crashed on the lawn of the White House, earlier this year and at a music concert, pop star Enrique Iglesias had reached out to grab a drone which was filming and had sliced open his finger.

 Eschenauer has been betting on a world wherein drone would become universal, operating in areas from logistics to disaster recovery as well as roaming around the office. A camera has been attached on the top for the drones to recognize the world around and to take decisions and also for the people to take videos and photos. However, the company tends to find itself in a competitive space against bigger manufacturers with deeper pockets.

The Chinese drone maker DJI had raised around $75 million this year which was reportedly valued at $10 billion, offering drones for professional filmmakers and hobbyists. Eschenauer has admitted that Fleye will not be able of taking on the recognized players but has stated that the company has made its own niche. He has commented that that they have been carving out their own niche which is proximity. If one desires to capture a film at a wedding or in an industrial plant, one would not use the big drone with big propellers, especially if it tends to becomes autonomous’.

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