This is cool, says Instapundit, and he’s not wrong:

For all his joie de vivre, Jardine is a master drone builder and pilot whose skills have produced remarkable footage for shows like Australian Top Gear, the BBC’s Into the Volcano, and a range of music videos. His company Aerobot sells camera-outfitted drones, including custom jobs that require unique specifications like, say, the capacity to lift an IMAX camera. From a sprawling patch of coastline real estate in Queensland, Australia, Jardine builds, tests, and tweaks his creations; the rural tranquility is conducive to a process that may occasionally lead to unidentified falling objects.

Simply put, if you’ve got a drone flying challenge, Jardine is your first call.

So, Mr Jardine is now flying his flying robots over volcanoes. There are going to be lots of calls to have these things entirely banned, but they are just too useful for that to happen.

When I was a kid and making airplanes out of balsa wood and paper, powered with rubber band propellers, I remember thinking that such toys were potentially a lot more than mere toys. I’m actually surprised at how long it has taken for this to be proved right.

What were the recent developments that made useful drones like Jardine’s possible? It is down to the power-to-weight ratio of the latest mini-engines? I tried googling “why drones work”, but all I got was arguments saying that it’s good to use drones to kill America’s enemies, not why they are now usable for such missions.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

One thought on “Aerobots”

  1. Comment on the original posting:

    I think the answer is micro-controllers – they have become cheap/low-power (in watts)/high-power (in computer terms) so they can act as auto-pilots for drones. That is what differentiates them from old remote-control planes, you can operate them with much less skill & over longer distances. Also to have a hovering ability the quad-copter arrangement really requires some sort of auto-pilot – I don’t think a human could do it alone. Flying a helicopter is much harder than a plane for instance.

    Secondary things are probably battery power to weight ratio, cameras that are light, ability to transmit live pictures back (again modern electronics make this possible at low cost).

    Posted by Andy on 26 February 2015

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