3D Robotics


Worth watching the video of the ABC Denver news report of a drone flyaway (it was a Storm Drone 6 with a DJI Naza controller).  A screenshot of DIY Drones makes an appearance ;-) I can't embed the video, but you can watch it here

DENVER - We've seen flyers for lost dogs, lost cats, even lost birds, but never a lost drone -- until now.

Loyal Merrick says his $2,000 Storm Drone 6 with a $400 GoPro camera attached just floated off like a balloon.

He has posted flyers around the Denver metro area.

7NEWS has discovered that drones floating away from their operators are becoming more common with this new technology.

"This one makes it bank, this one makes it turn," said Merrick as he showed how the controls work on the transmitter.

He still has the transmitter, but as for the aircraft itself, it's gone.

"I tried to run in the direction to get closer to it, and I don't know," said Merrick. "I just lost track of it. It's that simple."

Merrick was flying the drone on Friday over the now closed Rosedale Elementary School.

"And then it got a little bit too high," he said.

So, he hit the fail-safe button on the transmitter.

"It's supposed to return to its exact take-off spot," said Merrick. "Just like a boomerang. It didn't do that. It just kept flying off in the same direction."

7NEWS discovered several drone blogs indicate this is a common problem.

Merrick invested in his drone for a possible future aerial photography business.

"If you can get a GoPro up in the air at the right place, it just can capture the beauty of Colorado," said Merrick. "I could use it to photograph real estate, especially high-end real estate, weddings, bike races, events. Right now it's just a hobby, but it could be a career."

Even though the FAA has declared you can't fly drones for commercial gain, Congress has mandated the FAA integrate drones into commercial airspace next year.

"I took a big risk, but that's what entrepreneurs do."

As for the liability of the drone flying off, Merrick says even if it crashed it wouldn't do much damage because the carbon fiber is so lightweight, and the drone itself is noisy.

"So it's not going to sneak up on people. It's not going to be hitting people. People are going to see it and get the heck out of the way," Merrick said. "For me, this was just a very expensive first mistake."

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  • This GPS tracker looks pretty good.  It has sensors, inputs and outputs that could be quite useful.  It can sense vibration, activate a relay, transmit sound and even perhaps allow you to talk to anyone who might have found your craft.

    This one looks like it would end up pretty small once the magnet and case has been removed.  Powering by the balanced plug of onboard lipo would drop weight further.

    This one has really small weight and form factor.

  • Most people that see me flying relate the Amazon delivery drone or beer delivery. Hope that doesn't change to "oh like that guy that lost his in the city".

    Thanks Jeff (and Chris?), keep the positive flowing

  • TK102 is pretty reasonable priced $40 GPS tracker (actually GPS reporter) as long as you land somewhere with cell signal.  http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=108384

  • he calls himself an "entrepreneur". please.

  • I've had models returned to me thanks to laminated labels with my phone number; they can even handle the rain.  I would recommend that everyone puts their contact information on their models.

  • Moderator

    The wording of the article says it "drifted" away, but unfortunately, we know the way it came down was probably not nearly as gentle as that sounds!

  • Hopefully banning will not happen. But training might and required license might. This can and has happen to a lot of people. I am wondering what will happen when someone gets the hell knocked out of them when one comes down in an urban area. Say it hits a house with a nice big window and ends up in the living room or a moving cars windshield. It really is just a matter of time. With adverts saying ready to fly out of the box and such just stay tuned for more. But if I have to guess it will fall on the controller flying the units once the victim of the crash has found out who they are.

  • These types of things are going to get consumer sUAS "Drones" banned across the USA. Has anyone ever heard the term "It only takes a few idiots to ruin the fun of many". This is what is happening. It is said and I am dreading the day when all R/C and Consumer sUAS are banned...

    This is just another sad day for us all.... 

    Some advise to those who buy the RTF "Drones". Find someone to teach you how to operate it safely so that we can all enjoy this hobby for years to come.... 

  • This is why you should earn your way to GPS failsafe from manual flight and not vise versa. I am happy i started flying when GPS was just some NASA weird device. I once had this scenario with the APM2.5 and i was lucky i knew how to manually fly the model back. Since that day GPS failsafe turned into GPS I am bored to get my copter back go fetch it.  Anyway usually RTH follows a straight line so if the owner is reading this he should follow a straiht line from the point it lost it. He can calculate the maximum distance covered by the copter based on the battery capacity and copter consumption and start looking there although somebody might have picked it up and started a new hobby

  • Looks like from the video that his fails are was to just turn the transmitter off. Also looks like a Devo 8 transmitter. I wonder what kind of flight system he had?
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