Anyone who has taken an interest in the development of the helicam or drone industry is well aware of the amazing benefits that filmmakers and photographers enjoy through the use of this technology. Distance shots that have a lot more "intimacy" than a true helicopter shot; large scale, unbroken shots that create drama or scale; and service footage that allows everything from rescue operations to real estate to be photographed or filmed in an unusual way - this is what drone, helicam, and aerial filming provide.
Just consider some of the most inspiring television commercials you have seen - the rugged pickup truck bouncing along a woodland path, the mountaineers trekking a steep and difficult path, the seemingly peaceful city skyline at dawn...many shots of this kind cannot use standard helicopters. These are the shots made with drone and helicam equipment. This indicates a few things about such gear, but one of clearest messages is that this technology provides a lot of control. Swinging up above the scene and then dipping quickly right up close, the shots demand equipment that can function with pinpoint accuracy.
Clearly, this says a lot about a flying camera and the devices used for aerial filming, and the message is not lost on many people in other industries. Only last year we heard that drones were going to be put to use for more than creative enterprises, and one of the biggest names we heard in this discussion was Amazon. At that time, the CEO of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, suggested that drone equipment could serve as an ideal delivery method. This is forward thinking, to say the very least, but it is not only Jeff Bezos who is thinking along these lines.
A Horsefly Takes Flight
A recent story out of the University of Cincinnati shows that drone equipment is being taken very seriously as a form of transportation. A design project done as a collaborative effort between the university and AMP Electric Vehicles has created the "HorseFly". A prime example of the seriousness with which engineers and business leaders are taking drone technologies, it is a "never-before-seen method of delivering goods". (Robinette, 2014)
Essentially, the HorseFly is an octocopter made to work in tandem with the AMP firm's fleet of delivery vehicles. The driver of a vehicle can make their "rounds" but also use the HorseFly to tackle nearby deliveries. The self-guiding software and the pinpoint precision accuracy of the drone would ensure fast, effective, safe, and efficient delivery. The vehicle would make a self-guided delivery in almost any setting and then return to the delivery truck - wherever it might be.
The octocopter was chosen because it does allow for such accuracy and safety. Helicam systems use these eight rotors for "redundancy" - in other words, multiple failures would still keep the vehicle in the air. However, they also chose this design because it allows for very precise moves. If equipped with camera tech - such as helicam units - the drone would be able to be set down in even the closest residential settings.
Aerial filming experts have long known the benefit of octocopter, drone, and helicam gear. The multi-rotor systems allow for smooth and accurate flight paths that create flawless helicam shots. However, that same smoothness, accuracy, and stability is exactly what will make this technology the wave of the future where delivery and transportation are concerned.
The design leader for the HorseFly says, "If you want to get really far-fetched and look into the future, at something like a flying car, that's possibly what you could be looking at with this...” However, aerial film experts already know the benefits of this sort of technology and use drone gear, helicam equipment, and aerial filming techniques to tremendous effect.
Works CitedRobinette, Tom. Octocopter Named "HorseFly" Takes Flight. RDMag.com. 2014. http://www.rdmag.com/news/2014/06/octocopter-named-%E2%80%9Chorsefly%E2%80%9D-takes-flightX