Over the last few years, drones have been finding jobs in industry. They are used for gathering news, checking crops on farms, as well as photographing houses for real estate agents, and — at least in the imaginations of Amazon executives — drones will one day deliver packages to consumers.
Now, among the first mainstream uses for drones will be airborne selfies. Recently, a number of new products and social media services have popped up, in an effort to help people take better pictures and videos of themselves with the aid of a drone. Last week, two drones made their debuts on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter , both designed to allow people to shoot drone selfies, or dronies.
The Hexo Plus is compatible with a GoPro high definition camera and is billed as an “intelligent drone that follows and films you autonomously”. A competitor, called the AirDog, treats a drone like a dog on a leash, tracking and following you wherever you go and snapping video and pictures of you as you do action sports. Based on sales, consumers seem eager to buy these kinds of products.
Hexo Plus had hoped to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter. In three days, it passed $700,000. Air-Dog quickly flew past its $200,000 target, too. The drone selfie movement even had its modern Gilded Age moment when the Marquee Dayclub , at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas, announced a new type of bottle service where patrons in bikinis at an outdoor pool can have their drinks delivered via a drone.
Then it’s time to smile for the camera as your drink delivery vehicle snaps a picture. The price is a cool $20,000. But take it from me, the drone craze is not all $20,000 bottle service . When I tried to fly a drone recently , it was as difficult as the first time I drove a car. I have crashed drones into the San Francisco Bay, concrete sidewalks, trees and walls. Drones sometimes crash into other people, too. In April, a runner at the West Australian triathlon was hit on the head by a drone that was being used to photograph the event.