Technology of Copter Drones
Yes, drones have come to the island. Bryan Stovall is a Savannah photographer and new Isle of Hope resident who wanted to combine his expertise in commercial photography with visionary technology to propel his business into the future.
On a clear and windy day in mid-April, I met Bryan and his partner Ian Nott at Memorial Stadium for a demonstration flight of their new custom-built remote control hex copter a/k/a the drone.
It takes a few minutes to warm up, as the six-propeller copter had to lock into about 12 satellite feeders, to directionally guide the drone with GPS technology. It takes two people with two separate remotes to operate the system, as one flies and one guides the Black Magic Pocket Cinema camera. This camera shoots “Hollywood” high level cinema grade video, which can be broken down to still images as needed.
The sensor stabilizers were activated, which adjusted for wind speed and height as the whirring machine lifted above the ball field. The moving object caught the attention of a softball team practicing below as it reached a height of about 400 feet in the air.
Since battery technology hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world, the test run was brief, as the battery packs will only allow for a 10-12 minute flight. But the team always has multiple sets of battery packs on standby.
“Only a few years ago, all this was military grade technology. This copter can get to places a traditional helicopter or plane can never go, and the possibilities are endless,” said Nott, a senior at SCAD, majoring in Industrial and Service Design.
So why has this experienced photographer and a SCAD student formed a partnership? Together, they see business opportunities that push beyond the limits of hobbyists, while extending the technology to providing a useful service
“It’s very exciting to build my business, called Aetho and apply my technical knowledge before I even graduate,” said Nott.
According to the pair, this one drone, together with a handheld steadicam-type unit they built, with another 3 axis gimble and interchangeable camera, could replace a tractor-trailer full of traditional movie equipment.
The hand held wi-fi device, along with the drone, has the potential to replace booms, tracks, cranes and lots of hard wiring.
Working in collaboration, the duo envisions working on property inspections or industrial tower inspections with the safetyman on the ground, to help guide the device to specific area. Services can also extend to agricultural or engineering surveying.
We can save a company thousands of dollars by downsizing their budget from 10’s of thousands to just thousands for flyovers, aerial inspections, high end real estate portfolios, and more,” said Stovall.
Look for Bryan Stovall this fall at the Isle of Hope Art Festival where he plans to exhibit
some of his favorite Savannah matted and framed prints.
Watch the video: Search for the word “Aetho minute” on You Tube for a view of the drone in action at Memorial stadium.