With inspiration coming from Amazon's much-publicized drone-delivery plans, a 19-year-old former college student has established an advertising company based upon unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Philadelphia-based DroneCast plans to offer campaigns in which UAVs carry banners advertising businesses, according to an article by NBC 10. The banners hang below the aircraft and can be as large as 6 feet long and 2 feet wide.
GauravJit Singh, the company's founder and CEO, says the UAVs fly at a height of about 25 feet. Five clients are lined up to test the method, each willing to pay $100 per day to have their business advertised at busy intersections and office buildings.
Notably, the UAV flights are autonomous. Routes are plotted to determine altitude, flight speed and hovering, and the drones are then launched using GPS as a guide. The first official drone-advertising operation occurred on April 28, with cars in pursuit of the aircraft to ensure safety. Once the flights are proven to be reliable, Singh notes that the company will forgo the car chases and monitor the drones from a single location.
DroneCast is also considering vertical flights along skyscrapers. While the company is currently limiting its operations to Philadelphia, Singh hopes to expand the service to other large cities in time.
Legality, of course, is an issue. The Philadelphia Police Department will defer to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations regarding UAV flights, and according to an article by Philly.com, an FAA spokesperson notes that the operation would likely not meet the agency's requirements to authorize commercial UAV use.
Photo courtesy of DroneCast