The concept of flying unmanned aircraft over fields in season to gather photos and remote imagery is nothing new, but making it into a commercial business has proven to be a challenge. AutoCopter Corp. of Charlotte, NC is trying to do just that.
The AutoCopter is a remote-control helicopter with stabilized software that allows it to hover over target field areas, providing a mobile aerial platform for surveillance, photography and sensor management.
The AutoCopter is designed for commercial use, capable of carrying a cargo of 15 pounds and providing generous flight times. The capacity is adequate for modern digital camera technology, as the typical camera often weighs less than 2 lbs. The unit can be ready to fly within five minutes of unloading. The helicopter also provides the benefit of operating at a lower altitude than fixed-wing aircraft.
“You are able to survey and precisely target precise areas with video,” says Donald Effen, AutoCopter president.” You can fly with GPS information readouts on your laptop screen, including latitude and longitude, altitude, direction of flight and distance from home. On some models you can program 200 “waypoints” to allow for flying a grid with infrared cameras. It will fly itself and you can watch, change directions and alter flight while sitting at your laptop.”
For a video demo on YouTube, click here.
AutoCopters start at $30,000 US. They cost less than $2.00/ hour to operate, using ½ gallon of fuel per hour. For more information visit the company web site.