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Forget pets; have a drone follow your footsteps

Posting in Technology

When you want to capture your expertise on a ski slope or climbing, short of strapping a GoPro camera to your head or have a friend film, you're out of luck. But what if a drone could track your shadow and record your every move?

This is the dream of startup firm Universal Air. Next week, the company will finish shipping out its entry level R10 quadrotors, which were meant to be simply prototype unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The project's Kickstarter campaign, UAir, wanted to raise $15,000 and ship 30 of the drones, but has brought in over $220,000 -- which has resulted in a headlong dash to try and keep up with consumer demand.

With such high demand for the personal drones which can allow photographers and videographers shoot from the air for a relatively low cost, the campaign will now have to create a production-quality version.

The R10 is able to cope with loads like GoPro cameras, but is not up to the task of tracking you in extreme sports -- something the creators want to address for the future models.

However, the personal UAV is not an invasion of privacy, according to the startup. Future Universal Air drones will come equipped with a Wi-Fi connection -- connectable to a hotpot such as your mobile phone -- to allow for better personal tracking and keep the drones limited to the location of the user.

This doesn't completely eradicate the idea of snooping on someone, but it does make it more difficult.

UAir does not want to focus completely on the consumer UAV market, but would also like to see its products used in the mining and farming industries. Equipped with industry-specific sensors, the drones could be used to track environmental impacts, roof inspections or even crop fertilization.

Read More: CNET

Image credit: Universal Air

— By on May 11, 2013, 3:35 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure