Just as we were getting used to drones being a major tool in surfing, an aerospace startup company changes the game. Keep an eye out for the release of a new drone that has the potential to reshape the way we view our lineups. The product, known as the Airdog, is a version of a drone (or quad-copter if you want to get technical) that automatically follows the rider, capturing video without the need of a pilot.
The drones, which are 3D printed and are meant to carry a GoPro camera, can fly up to 40 mph and can stay airborne for between 10 to 20 minutes. While similar drones are able to track the rider through a smart phone app, the Airdog links to a waterproof wrist-worn device known as an air leash. The altitude and angle that the drone will shoot from can be set either through the air leash or via a smart phone app that the company created.
According to the company, the stability and quality of the drone appear to be on point. "It took a year and countless caffeine-fueled hours that were spent hacking intelligent flight code algorithms," said the company's founder, Edgars Rozentals. "The result is extremely intelligent and simple to use drone technology for every actions sports enthusiast."
This summer, Airdog launched a Kickstarter campaign hoping to raise $200,000. As of today, with one day to go, they've already raised more than $1.1 million. While the advent of this technology will undoubtedly perk the ears of some of the more tech-savvy surfers in the lineup, questions about safety and etiquette will surely arise. With more than 4 million GoPro Hero cameras sold last year, the concept of personally recording our lives is here to stay. However, balancing the rise of this technology without clogging the airspace above our lineups is a discussion we’re sure to have in the future.