By technical editor Matt Allard:
At the Teradek live show at NAB Dan Chung caught up with Sergei Lupashin from Fotokite. Fotokite is a tethered flying camera system that has been designed to be reliable, safe to use and quick to deploy. Unlike traditional drones the Fotokite allows the operator to have a direct physical connection to the aerial system at all times. Because the Fotokite is tethered and the power is supplied from the ground it can stay operational for hours.
The Fotokite is a good solution for news and event coverage. The ability to deploy a small drone quickly using a readily available GoPro camera and maintain a level of control over it is crucial for news organisations. As it has a visible, load-bearing physical tether it clearly signals the operator’s location to anyone in the vicinity – be they bystanders or property owners. The concept is that the operator is in complete control of the device at all times (although I guess that would depend on the competency of the operator). The have had interest from news organisations and in particular the BBC.
As far as the regulations go, Fotokite claim that “the Fotokite shares fundamental attributes with conventional kites and is thus welcomed by safety experts as a safe, more reliable way to access aerial perspectives, especially near crowds.” What the FAA and other international airspace regulators think may of course be quite different.
For more information on Fotokite head over to their website.