DroneBase, a company which provides “professional drone services for every business,” has developed an augmented reality platform for its iOS app through which pilots will be able to build virtual structures as they fly their UAVs.
In short, this company, which largely provides aerial data and imagery for corporate and private consumers, is adding a Minecraft-like AR section to its smartphone app. Why? Well, in a conversation with DroneLife, DroneBase seems keen on inspiring its users to get creative and share their virtual constructions with other users. Ultimately, it could have major repercussions in architecture, construction, and the recreational drone market.
We’ve been seeing quite the uptick in the AR market recently. While Google Glasses didn’t exactly pan out how the tech giant would’ve liked, Apple’s new iPhone X is leading the charge these days, with Epson and DJI’s new Moverio smart glasses cornering the new AR-drone niche. DroneBase is eager to provide its users with the sky and landscape found in nature as its canvas, on which the imagination can run rampant and implant virtual 3D structures. The motivation, perhaps, would be the inevitable opportunity to conceive of and design structures virtually, with the aid of an actual drone, from vantage points previously unavailable to corporate and private customers. An architect in 2024, for example, may find the latest iteration of AirCraft to be an invaluable tool.
Regardless of the future possibilities of AirCraft, the CEO and founder of DroneBase, Dan Burton, deems the current iteration (which is a Beta version you can sign up for upon downloading it from the Apple store) appealing enough to motivate consumers to use their drones more often. “AirCraft gives pilots of all skill levels new reasons to fly their drones,” said Burton.
“Every pilot (including us) began as a drone hobbyist and enthusiast,” he claimed. “They are perhaps the biggest group and also the least engaged with their drones. AirCraft lets DroneBase reach out to drone hobbyists for the first time, but we fully expect that as AirCraft encourages pilots to fly more, many will become open to the possibility of making money from their drone and some will even consider being a full-time drone pilot their profession. We firmly believe that the next group of great drone professionals are the hobbyists and enthusiasts of today," he added.
First of all, Burton is spot-on with this assessment that a generation that comes of age with affordable, engaging software absorbs it rapidly and quickly becomes expert at it. One need only think of those of us who grew up with the internet, video-editing software, or digital audio tools that resulted in an entire generation of self-taught users. Burton’s other point, regarding how those who may get captivated by AirCraft could extend that enthusiasm into the professional world speaks to that exact opportunity of reaching an audience while its young.
What does AirCraft actually look like? Let’s take a gander.
As DroneLife aptly points out, the vast possibilities here keep flooding the mind. You could build a virtual airport and share it with others, training your take-offs and landings. How about constructing an obstacle course and competing with other users? For those interested in architecture - choose your favorite spot in the city and start building your masterpiece.
“Unlike current AR experiences, AirCraft allows pilots to create and interact with virtual objects in the sky while flying. We’re looking to our community of pilots to see what they will build, how they will use this technology, and what they want next,” said Burton. This speaks to DroneBase’s sense of actually listening to their audience. Far too often, companies stubbornly forge ahead with a product and their initial idea of what it should be, dismissing input from their community and keeping that virtual garden walled off. It’s good to see Burton make it a point to stay receptive, and open to suggestions and ideas.
We’re pretty excited to watch this AR-focused drone arena expand, as more companies join the marketplace of ideas. There’s certainly a lot of creative stuff happening here, and these are just the early days. Stay tuned, as we keep our eyes peeled at DroneBase’s new endeavor.