What comes in a white cardboard box, weighs little more than a kilogram and can be purchased in a few clicks from Amazon?
Few people would guess a drone — a term that conjures up stealth strikes and spy movies.
But that’s the point for DJI, a Chinese company that dominates the young but growing market for personal and commercial drones.
It wants to make the airborne gadgets, if not soft and cuddly, at least unremarkable.
“It’s made of white plastic. It’s not scary. It’s pretty accessible to most people,” says Eric Cheng, DJI’s director of aerial imaging.
The company’s ready-to-fly Phantom photography drone makes it a “global leader,” in small unmanned aerial systems according to Frost & Sullivan, a research group.
DJI believes drones like the Phantom will soon become another “camera in your bag,” allowing photography enthusiasts to embrace “dronies” with same fervor as “selfies.”
“It’s sort of an extension of the selfie stick really,” says Cheng. “It’s an unlocking of the third dimension for camera positioning.”
Their latest four-propeller drone is equipped with a high-definition camera and a wi-fi transmitter lets pilots watch the video streamed live to their smartphone that attaches to the controller.
Mounted on a three-axis gimbal or stabilizer, the camera can be rotated while the drone hovers in place enabling it to capture stunning aerial images such as close-ups of a volcano.
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