Talking about Modular Drones (I know, again>) but they are coming!

First of all, before I even start this post what I am talking about is a thing. Seriously. The concept of indoor versus outdoor drones. The delineation between drones is normally the capabilities as far as (can land on water, can run underwater, can’t land on water). There is a great Kickstarter campaign that just closed that helps your Phantom drone land on water (called Water Strider because the unit looks like a massive water strider!). Obviously running underwater is for people that want to know what is down below. Above water is for people that want to look down and see what is below their drone. Landing on water is for people that want to well, land their drone on water when it runs out of battery. Missing the swim platform of a boat, isn’t hard.

But there is another distinction that being those drones designed to fly indoors and those drones designed to fly outdoors. Why is that? Well recently I’ve been playing with mini-drones versus the larger drones. The reality of the mini-drones is frankly while you can fly them outdoors, they just don’t have the weight to withstand even a 2 or 3 mph breeze. They get pushed all over the sky modifying both the video and flying experience. The larger drones don’t have an issue with that amount of wind so you get a smoother flying experience.

Larger drones when flown indoors struggle with everything including the reality of space. We have a cathedral ceiling in the living room and the larger drone really struggles to stay in the space. The mini-drone however flies effectively in the lower ceiling area of the rest of the house or in the living room. Part of this is my adeptness as an RC flyer. I am not the best and still learning so there is a small amount of skill failure in this. But the other side of this is the reality of size and power. The larger the drone the larger the motor.

Mini-drones tend to be much more responsive than larger drones. Having now crashed about 8 times by moving the joysticks too far I can testify to that. The underwater ROV I’ve used and operated was actually much simpler. Effectively because of the medium it operates in, water, it moves a lot slower and you don’t have to react to ceiling fans and people walking around upstairs. You don’t have to react to power lines nor do you have to worry about trees. You do have to worry about objects underwater but you have a lot more time to react, slowly.

The capabilities of drones have expanded to 4k video and the ability to capture broad views of the world beneath them. 360-degree camera implementations on drones will be coming soon. The 360 camera market is maturing rapidly.

Personally I think the reality of the modular drone is coming. A modular drone would allow you to have a drone “platform.” That you could use to develop and deliver what you are interested in. 3d Laser mapping. 360 degree stills and video, sonar or for that matter virtually anything else you would want to add. Not just any device can go underwater but the open platform would be useful. Underwater requires lighting and other functions below a certain depth.

This modular drone would effectively increase the range of drone’s capabilities while supporting the independence of the various specialist camera’s. A 360-degree personal view of the world as you ride your bike or paddle a kayak. Then add it to your drone and see the same place, from the air down or from underwater water up. Many of the drones have the follow me feature. You could, have it follow you as you ride through the city.

The future of guided city biking tours comes to mind. Virtual reality so you know where to turn and what you will see before you hop on the bike and take off! The modular drone will allow for many new and creative ways to expand drone use. Virtual tours are one simple value proposition. You could, given multiple batteries (they do only fly for 20 or so minutes today on a single battery) determine any number of interesting data points. For example, map out a lake by hour of the day, knowing where the fish are at the time you are there. Map the road you are going to ride your bike on so that you know in advance where the holes in the road are. Golf courses could offer video to golfers – see the course from virtually every angle before you hit that shot.

Modular drones will be the future. I am sure of that.


Modular drone dreamer