With about 2 days left on their kickstarter campaign, AirDog, the Latvian auto-follow videography drone that allows extreme sports enthusiasts to film their moves, has reached its 3rd stretch goal on Kickstarter, surpassing the mark of $1 million. This exceeds team’s initial estimates more than five times and makes AirDog the most funded Latvian startup on Kickstarter.
AirDog’s team of 10 engineers has announced that the additional funds will be used for research and development. The first feature introduced is the currently patent-pending Obstacle Avoidance Solution desired by many users.
Edgars Rozentals, CEO and founder of Helico Aerospace Industries explains: “Our team of engineers has started development of a software based and community driven obstacle avoidance solution. It means that you will be able to define a 3 dimensional “no-fly zones” using our AirDog app. This will enable use of AirDog even in places where simple following wouldn’t be possible or would be dangerous.”
The Obstacle Avoidance Solution for AirDog will be compatible with previous AirDog version and available to AirDog owners at no additional cost. The first batch of drones will reach their purchasers already before Christmas 2014.
The team is also determined to utilize their Kickstarter success to provide handy accessories to the device. Besides designing AirDog-compatible travel bags and propeller guards, startup is on its way to introduce a floater accessory to enable takeoff and landing from the water. All of these will be available separately on AirDog website.
The closest alternative to AirDog discussed among technology enthusiasts is an iPhone-compatible drone HEXO++. The device was created by a French big mountain snowboarder and action sports fil but quickly abandoned the idea after field testing. The key reason why AirDog ended up constructing a dedicated tracker called ‘AirLeash’ was the freedom and safety of sportists. Using smartphones during extreme movements limits the performance and poses danger, especially in water sports like surfing or wakeboarding. Additionally, several technical limitations of smartphones played their role. According to AirDog engineers, phones lack critical sensors to ensure precise tracking and safe flight, while short and insecure range of Wifi and Bluetooth connections are too risky to rely on when you are hundreds of meters away from the coast or rushing downhill at an accelerating pace.
Nevertheless, despite all the careful considerations that AirDog team has taken to design the perfect device for extreme sports activists, the drone is also an excellent tool for indie moviemakers, outdoor lovers, real estate photographers or anyone else in need of professional filming assistance. To quote the CEO Edgars Rozentals: ‘Like iRobot cleans your house AirDog is your cameraman – it’s your airborne sidekick.’
Marija Odineca is passionate about Baltic startup scene, visiting interesting Baltic startups and gathering their stories. She also coordinates the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Latvia.