While visiting Shenzhen China this week, Nicole Scott came across a really interesting drone project called the Ghost Drone. No, we are not talking about a secret deployment of military aggression, we are talking about a geek’s dream come true with a Smartphone operated, quad propeller drone that can be programmed to independently fly from point to point. Eat your heart out NASA!
The Ghost Drone is crowd sourced project developed by a company called Ehang and it’s a pretty unique take on flying a remote controlled drone that puts the emphasis on making things as user-friendly as possible. It’s possible not only to control and fly the Ghost Drone using an app installed on your smartphone, but you can also use the app to pre-program a flight path from A to B.
The Ghost Drone has a 3-cell 5,400mAh battery, which sits inside a molded polycarbonate chassis, plus plastic propellers and feet – all of which weighs in at only 650 grams. The drone uses four propellers to take flight and is controlled via your smartphone which is connected to a dedicated Bluetooth router which then relays the radio signals to the drone. The app lets the user have full control over the drone’s movements with options to program a preset flight path, as well as several other commands like “fly”, “hover”, “land” and “return”. The app also has a graphical joystick for manual maneuvers.
Of course one of the coolest things about owning and operating flying drone, is that you can enjoy some outstanding aerial photography. The Ghost Drone is fitted with a camera which can take photos and shoot video. Thus far it’s not clear about the quality of the camera but the photos seem to indicate a fairly elementary level sensor.
The idea behind the smartphone app is to make it very, very simple for non hobbyists to get into the game. The really cool thing of course is that Ehang are trying to bring to market a mainstream consumer product that has advanced features like programmable navigation, something that was previously missing from consumer-level drone products.
The Ghost Drone is not quite available for retail just yet, but the product web page in Simplified Chinese is up and underway, which would suggest that the product will be available soon. You can also find the Ghost Drone on DemoHour, the mainland Chinese equivalent of Kickstarter. Pricing starts at $400 USD.