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A first-person taste of flying a drone

I got to try flying's radio-controlled drone with first person video from a heads-up display when I was in Athens for the WPP Stream unconference, and it is truly astonishing what you can experience with one of these things.  Here's their video compilation of footage shot over San Francisco.  You will see things from a totally new perspective.

For example, they fly right by a hawks nest that I've often watched high in a tree behind my daughter's house in Bernal Hill. You see the hawk launch itself out of the nest.  Unbelievable!  But that's just a personal note.  They fly right over traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, then later in the same video, they fly underneath the span, along the length of it.  

Astonishing stuff.  And that you can do it with a $2000 kit is even more amazing.
Lenora Goehner's profile photoMichael Williams's profile photoGary Mortimer's profile photoRaphael Pirker's profile photo
Is the camera operated independently of the plane?  IE one person can change the focus while another flies.
Now drones are so common that Israel has shutdown a drone recently; origin: unknown! 
Hi Tim.  I am a drone advocate and what Teram Blacksheep is doing looks like a lot of fun.  But, I hope the FAA never sees this clip because what Team Blacksheep is doing violates so many FAA regulations that they will find themselves in a lot of trouble.  Aside from that flying a drone in congested areas doesn't make any sense when it comes to liability issues. I don't know what they do for liability insurance.  I don't know of any insurance companies that will insure them because what they are doing is illegal.  
+John Evans Perhaps someone from team-blacksheep can answer that one, but I suspect that the focus effects are done after the fact somehow.  As far as I know, there are two cameras on the drone.  One lower-res camera is used to fly, and the other records passively in HD, with no control circuit.  You get the HD after you land.
Wow, I loved it....  The music was a bit weird but oh well.  :)
Very cool. Also edited while on LSD. Too bad they didn't make it all the way to Sebastopol!
Chao Li
nice video, I love it!
Cool devices.  But if you used them anywhere in an urban area in the northeastern US, the FAA would be all over you and you'd get arrested immediately.
heck yeah I want one more than u do
Super cool..any device/technology that helps us look at things in a different perspective is a boon to far as FAA is concerned..oh well..;)
Very impressive and aesthetic pictures. Thank you for sharing them, Tim. But like +Rick Marshall  I'm also a little bit concerned, what unaesthetic accidents might happen, when radio controlled drones get more popular in our cities.
Bird's Eye View just got a totally new different meaning... Loved it!
This brings me one step closer to having a remote controlled drone that I can fly into stores with a hanging basket and ask people at the checkout to fill her up with chocolate, fly the drone back out the store and back home, even better once it can happen autonomously. That day will come. Ooh just think of it, shopping drones! :)
Wow ,,,I not have words, I  CAN  say... A W E S O M E !
+Clay Mann You don't need flying objects to go shopping for you. Online stores already take care of the shipping.
Amazing!!! Top quality high res pics too. :O)
It's Awesome !!
Thanks for this awesome vid!  Good Job
Don't tell the cops or they will use them to spy on u
I'd have to agree with +Rick Marshall and think that it is only a matter of time before governments everywhere (in particular the USA) move to specifically legislate against this activity instead of it being just part of standard FAA regulations which are basically safety focused. I can only imagine they will move for very stiff penalties because safety arguments aside governments think only governments should be able to do this. If you're anyone else flying drones then you must be a terrorist, spy, or big time felon to be surveilling people from the air.  

Legislation like that the first time a drone drops out of the sky and kills someone or the first time one is weaponized and used for nefarious purposes such as an aerial assassination attack.  Sad to say this will happen eventually - governments (in particular the USA) give us an excellent example of how effective they are.
Wonder what the powers that be think of someone flying a drone all around the Golden Gate like that.
+Simon Waddington  yep, I feel a no drone law coming down on us in this land of the regulated and home of the over taxed.   >..<
wounder full work and road trip takes u
I think this. Is very good we Done my parents like black sheep
This is so cool. Especially flying THRU the Golden Gate and the dive to the water. Thanks for sharing.
Very cool combined multicopter fixed wing timelapse and video editing. Want to check out your other videos :)
Someone needs to tell me who made that music...
This is fake. Just computer animate. Or mostly from handy cam.
I'm all for great drone videos, but without a minimum of $5mil insurance policy these guys are just asking not only for trouble for themselves, but highly restrictive regulations for ALL drone enthusiasts.

Drones break, RC radios fail, and as a result flying in a populated area can have substantial liability costs. Flying in unpopulated areas presents much lower risks.

Amazing video, thank you. I now feel like a have flown in a helicopter,,,Good job.
WOW.. I love San Francisco! that's why I live here :)
Nat aS
+Simon Waddington we'll just have to make Anti-Drone drones to intercept unauthorized drones. The sky above the city of the future will be like a tiny robotic battle of Brittan. Pedestrians will either invest in Kevlar umbrellas, or buy personal defense drones to catch the falling debris. Eventualy drones will get so tiny that we won't even notice them, and when they fight, it will be like the toner wars in The Diamond Age.

On a more serious note, people already own guns and cars, both of which are probably more dangerous than the drone they were flying. Seeing as how they recovered it by flying it into somebody and catching it. I could only imagine it hurting somebody if they were standing on a ledge and it made them lose balance. If it hit a larger aircraft that might be a problem, but it never went high enough to conflict with anything else.

Like guns and cars, the government will probably regulate them by making you have a license and registration. And like motor-scooters and bb-guns, small enough drones will be unregulated below specific altitudes.
We have to encourage vision, creativity and imagination. Then we do laws that help us all live together. Please don't do the opposite!!!
I think the music is "too heavy" for the footage. 
For those who are concerned about liability issues - this drone is a styrofoam wing, so light that if you want, you can catch it as a way of landing it.  So the notion of it "falling out of the sky and killing someone" is far-fetched.  That being said, I imagine that they will be regulated anyway, for the reasons other comments outlined - this gives too much power to the people.
Re. the music - watch it with the sound off.  Much better.
/??/) ,/? / / / /??/' '/????? /'/ / / /??/?\ ('( ? ? ?&;/' ') \ ' / '\' \ _.?? \ ( [more]
Just simply amazing! I want one so bad
cutting is horrible too
This is awesome how and where do I get one
+Tim O'Reilly the issue isn't the styrofoam drone - they also used a quad that was not as soft - the issue is a car slamming on the breaks when something 3ft long falls infront of it on the bridge, causing a series of accidents behind it - and with motorcycles splitting lanes, possible loss of life.

I own drones, I have seen awesome videos of them from all over the world, but they can cause damage and injury if someone unsuspecting is spooked by one while driving. There is a reason movies used fake streets, closed city blocks while filming, and now mostly use CGI. Liability affects the bottom line cost.

I'll be the first to change my tune when private drones are so numerous that they are a common site and will not surprise anyone if they see one around them. Of course if we end up with some accidents before then, unfortunately politicians will enact OVERREACHING laws that will affect all drones. Laws in many states already prohibit the use of drones for COMMERCIAL purposes w/o a pilots license. It would be sad if the same regulations applied to non-commercial drones as well. 
that is cool. what city is that a picture of?
I thought the trade federation shut those things down
To all the safety people out there or drones. reflex life is not about liability insurance
Drones have been available to the general public for a few years now. In the radio control world (helicopters and airplanes) its called "first person view" its nothing new. You can build your own or by the whole set-up for as little as $1000
this drone techno. must be strictly for military use only.. it cant be use by civilian, otherwise if this tech. will be adopted by terrorist using drone techno. then it will be a big big problem of entire world.. u.s.government must control this techno.. no civilian is allowed to develop this tech.. then we are safe in the future..
morgs p
should be in a nightclub
The US government must control this technology??
The prototypes were built with off the shelf parts taken from the civilian R/C market. They tweeked the designs of the airframes and added their own classified avionics.
Nice footage.  But:  Anyone else notice that the fog was running backwards (streaming out of the Gate, not in), and yes, it's much better without the soundtrack.
Cool video and neat technology but I agree the feds will outlaw it eventually to much freedom for the average joe.The music is from a French group called The Algorithm "Access Denied" at least that's what you tube said.
Thanks for sharing a great video! Love Bay Area and SF so much! Have a nice day everyone!
i wish i can fly to see all beautiful in there
Well done video clips and good editing. Could improve the music.
drones their going to be everywhere soon thats not a bad thing bad for the crooks but
Like the bridge shots more than everything else. Probably could've stopped there.
I like the video I have dreams of flying its just like I dreamed it would be actually after watching it I dreamed I was flying again.kool Ill keep dreaming.
+Rick Marshall the flight activities are covered by AC 91 57, which to this date is the only governing law regarding remote controlled operations. so in fact none of this is illegal in the USA. We have very good (and expensive) insurance covering all of our operations and these flights are meticulously prepared and planned. As a drone advocate you should also note that we are flying are not drones. These are 100% human piloted with no intelligence on board whatsoever.
yeah. or maybe they haven't said a word about this for over 6 months. the first time I received something about this was DEC 2011.
That was for the University gig I thought though not the bridge? At the moment they struggle to keep towers open so UA are the bottom of the pile.
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