Richard Branson Talks Drones: Mapping, Photography and Tennis?

Billionaire businessman Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has once again touted unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and given an update on what he’s been doing with the technology.

Nearly two years ago, Branson noted in a blog that he had made an investment in Berkeley, Calif.-based drone company 3DR; he even hosted co-founder Chris Anderson on Necker Island (owned by Branson), where they captured aerial footage of the island.

Since then, Branson says in a new blog, he has welcomed both 500Below and Skycatch, who created, respectively, another bird’s-eye view and an orthomap and 3D point cloud of the island. He says the 3D map was “a viewpoint [he] had never experienced before.”

Branson adds that Virgin Active, the Virgin Group’s chain of health clubs, is deploying drones as part of tennis training: Pegged as “Drone-ovic,” the UAS drops tennis balls to players, as well as records their performance, according to a separate Virgin blog.

Branson, who notes that Necker Island may bring in drones to augment future construction work, says UAS “will continue to shape the world around us in new ways as they become even more advanced.”

The blog in its entirety can be found here.


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