Drones Over Austin

Motherboard's SXSW drone takeover didn't stop at Oblivion Drone Day at VICELAND. We tagged along with Colin Guinn, CEO of the North American branch of DJI Innovations, a small Hong Kong-based drone manufacturer, out into the streets of Austin with a small quadcopter mounted with a camera.

Passersby waved and smiled before turning their own cameras to face the eye of the Phantom, DJI's flagship prosumer system. Police kept close watch, but let it all play out.  

These were telling reactions. Austin (and Texas writ large) sits at the forefront of a burgeoning domestic debate over "drones"; over what these aerial robots should or shouldn't be, what they should or shouldn't do, and how we should go about addressing all the ethical and moral questions this sort of technology raises. So it was a somewhat risky move, swooping through the streets--if entirely legal. The thing with piloting micro drones, which are really just small radio-controlled toy airplanes, is that, for now, the workaround means piggybacking off of existing regulations for RC aircraft. Remain within line-of-sight and climb no higher than 400 feet, and no harm, no foul. Colin did just that. 

So sit back, flip to full screen, and enjoy what SXSW looks like on drones.  

More on flying robots:

Watch These Drones Swarm-Dance to the 'Harlem Shake'

Drone On

Topics: drones, drone, sxsw

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Brian Anderson

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