DreamQii, a Toronto-based robotics company that develops unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), has introduced PlexiDrone, a UAV made specifically for aerial photography.
The aircraft – a portable, swarm-capable, easy-to-control camera robot – is controlled through any smartphone or tablet using DreamQii's custom PlexiGCS (ground control software), a next-generation control platform that allows the user to operate one or many PlexiDrones with a range of up to one mile. Users interact with a 3D map to identify stationary or moving points of interest, draw desired flight paths and send commands.
The UAV is available for pre-order through Indiegogo and includes several different kits. DreamQii says it will deliver the first batch of PlexiDrones in spring 2015.
It can be assembled or disassembled with no tools in less than a minute, the company says, and is compatible with a variety of cameras, including standard point-and-shoot, GoPro, Sony Action Cam and others under 1 kg (the maximum payload). The vehicle is also a development platform where makers can create and share custom payload modules.
One operator can control a swarm of PlexiDrones by using the PlexiHub, a proprietary Bluetooth-enabled bridge that acts as a wireless router for UAVs. This allows one user to simultaneously capture aerial footage from multiple vantage points. Swarm technology extends usage scenarios by allowing a single user to control a network of drones to accomplish goals such as following search grid patterns or surveying larger surface areas, DreamQii explains.
The camera stabilization system and retractable landing gear give the device an unobstructed 360-degree field of view, the company says. The aircraft also uses customizable voice prompts designed to engage, inform and entertain the user. Instead of using status indicators such as blinking or color-coded lights, PlexiDrone talks to the user and informs of its status.
With removable snap-fit arms, the PlexiDrone can fit in a container the size of a lunch box, says DreamQii, which will also offer the PlexiPack – a hard-shell backpack for transporting the vehicle.