Send in the Drones – Using your flying robot more productively in business


The increasing use of drones by the military has led to increased interest in remote controlled AV’s. 

The AR Drone in your Smartphone

The amazing Parrot AR drone allows a smartphone user to easily control a remote controlled flying camera using a smartphone.  It’s easy to setup and easy to fly.

It’s worth seeing the CES video if you haven’t already:


It seems that the accessibility of a drone of this quality and ease to consumers will lead to use in the private sector.  

The River of Blood

In a January 2012 news article an AV Drone Enthusiast discovered a “River of Blood” using a drone. He was using the drone to survey the course of a local river when he photographed an environmental hazard.

The applications here for law enforcement and of course the media are obvious.  Where else might this be applicable?

Drones for the Enterprise

For the past decade the ability access previously inaccessible underground places using “pipe cameras” has meant more accurate assessment of infrastructure.  These range from simple fibre optics to remote controlled drones.

Now the use of flying drones will mean accessibility to inaccessible places that would have required helicopters or similar.

For inspection and maintenance, the assistance of a flying “friend” may soon be essential.   Because outside areas, roofs, ceiling cavities, yards with vicious dogs and other previously hard to get at places are now quickly accessible, it inspections will be quicker and more effective. 

The use of mobile devices such as iPad to control the drone and record the video delivers many advantages.  These include integration to enterprise applications for logging and analysis.   

The size, shape and manuverability of drones will vary.  The “Hummingbird” surveillance drone for example looks and behaves like a bird in the air.


The drone, built by AeroVironment with funding from DARPA, is able to fly forwards, backwards, and sideways, as well as rotate clockwise and counterclockwise. Not only does the ‘bot resemble its avian inspiration in size (it’s only slightly larger than a hummingbird, with a 6.5-inch wingspan and a weight of 19 grams), it also looks impressively like a hummingbird in flight.

The limited battery life of the current generation of commercial drones limit the use of the devices now, but as the technology improves I think we can expect our skies to be filled with all kinds of flying robots.  Perhaps you’ll be using one soon.



Swivl, the mobile cameraman



Max the health inspector tours the kitchen, pointing out the water damage on the plaster in each corner of the room.  He then points out the water damage on the floor.  As he does this, the camera smoothly follows him.

Max doesn’t need a cameraman to do this for him.  He uses “Swivl”, the automated cameraman.

Swivl is a small robot that can take your iPhone and film you doing various activities.  It seems ideal for creating evidence videos.

It uses a tiny hand-held remote to track the person being filmed.  This control also has buttons for handling tilt.

This is another example of how commonplace “drone” technology will be.  Real-world automated assistants who will assist in recording and surveillance.

Swivl has just been announced at CES 2012.  There is much excitement about the product among vloggers and sportspeople. It was formerly known as the Star accessory and was crowdfunded into existence on IndieGoGo by Satarii and users in early 2011.

They are preording now (costs around $159), so take a look at


The Verge – Swivl Hands On –

Swivl –

Flying Drones –