You’ve heard a lot in the news lately about drones crashing onto the grounds of the White House and even delivering packages, but some people will use drones as part of their daily lives. 7 On Your Side takes a glimpse into the future.
Drones can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The possibilities are fascinating and as one person put it, the uses of drones are only limited by our imagination.
Flying drones for fun is popular in the tech-friendly Bay Area. David Urrutia, a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, has been doing it for over five years.
“People get that bird’s eye perspective,” Urrutia said.
In the not-so-distant future, drone cameras will capture your every move. The ultimate selfie Mark Johnson of Visual Law showed me how it works.
“This will talk to the phone and I will be able to hand you the phone, and when you walk, the drone will follow you,” Johnson said.
This so-called “follow me” feature will be at the heart of how consumers use drones in the future.
This may be new technology, but there’s an old feeling to it — like having a little brother follow you around.
The new technology can also offer a new perspective on your home movies. You’ll be able to get footage of your kid’s soccer game, your friends and neighbors, and even your outdoor recreational activities.
Speaking of workouts, James Canton who is a San Francisco-based futurist thinks drones will come along for your walk or run.
“I think the most important area of drone is going to be personal fitness, just purely being able to follow you. You can measure your performance,” Canton, from the Institute For Global Futures, said.
Drones will also become a big part of entertaining us.
“These goggles are made by the Epson company and I can see through them, but it will project what the drone sees on the screen,” Johnson said.
But two things have to happen before we use drones every day. First, a collision avoidance system is needed because power lines and tall buildings are still big obstacles. The second is a longer battery life is needed.
There is an automated battery changing device that is known as the ground station. San Francisco-based Skycatch developed it so drones would automatically return to get a new battery. It is meant for use by large businesses and is not yet considered practical for use by consumers.
Regardless, Skycatch CEO Christian Sanz says anything is possible if people want it. He tells You’re your Side, “When massive amounts of audiences ask for it, you know people build it and then people buy it.”
People have privacy concerns about drones. Jamie Court from Consumer Watchdog said, “Something that can spy on Afghanistan has the same capacity to spy on our neighbors when they’re sunbathing.”
Still, experts say there are already advanced ways to protect the public.
“We have technology where we can geo-fence the location and blur out everything that’s not within the area that we care about,” Sanz said.
It’s predicted some of the drone features we showed you in this story could be in wide-use starting in six months to two years. The FAA in March released proposed rules regulating the use of drones.