It's following you. And it's watching. But no need to be alarmed-it's not the NSA…at least not yet. No, what could soon be following you down the trail is a diminutive new video heli called the Pocket Drone. And while relatively affordable RC video copters have been available for some time, Pocket Drone's autopilot mode that follows your GPS-enabled smartphone, and it's diminutive size might make it the best thing to happen to mountain bike footage since the GoPro.
Launched today via crowd-funding site Kickstarter, San Diego-based AirDroids have a production ready prototype and at publication time were well on their way to funding the initial run of drones. And while some promising Kickstarter ventures end up as vaporware, AirDroid has verified video that the Pocket Drone actually exists-we know one of the riders in the promo video.
AirDroid's founders -Chance Roth and Timothy Reuter-met through a drone enthusiast group, then decided to create a drone of their own, taking the best qualities they'd seen and adding new features, functionality and accessibility to the mix.
"We saw a lot of kits that were powerful and flexible, but took a long time to put together and tune. There were also good off-the-shelf products but they were limited in their functionality," said Reuter. "Pocket Drone is the world's first heavy-lift microcopter-as powerful as an open-source kit, but portable and easy to use by anyone."
The Pocket Drone has a flight time of about 20 minutes, is easy to fly and quick to deploy, according to the founders-all attributes that should make it appealing to home MTB video makers and pros alike. In addition to the GPS follow feature, it can also be programmed to follow a set of GPS waypoints, making for some interesting filming options.
While they don't have an estimate on delivery, early adopters can get in on the action sooner by pledging the $495 asking price on AirDroid's Kickstarter Page. The creators are at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week looking to find retail distribution.