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NAB 2012: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Quadcopters, hexacopters, and octocopters, oh my!

By Adam Wilt | May 04, 2012



It's true: the black helicopters are coming after you.

In the first two days of NAB, I saw five different folks walking through the halls carrying multi-rotor camera copters. In previous years? None. UAVs of all sort were all over the show; here are pix of a few of them.



Six spinning rotors of death! Thank you for observing all safety precautions.




Cute little quadcopter.




Canon-lifting octocopter.




There was no shortage of traffic at any of the UAV stands.




Lockheed Martin showed off an autonomous drone and a lighter-than-air UAV.




Turbo Ace may have had the highest copter-to-floorspace ratio at the show.




Small copter, small price.




$349, and the sky's the limit... (training optional).




I especially like the LED-lit landing pad.


Note: it's harder (and more hazardous) to fly these things than it looks, and there's no legal framework in the US allowing you to fly radio-controlled helis for profit (and by "no legal framework", I mean, "it's illegal"). I quite handily resisted the siren call of the $349 quadcopter, despite being an aviation nut (with over 1000 hours of real-world, fixed-wing Pilot-In-Command time), because I've flown too many copters in an RC simulator, including gyrostabilized ones, and crashed them all.

Still want to shoot with a quadcopter? Do yourself a favor: talk to your favorite production insurance company first, and see what it'll cost you for coverage... if you can get coverage at all. Then make up your own mind.



Disclosures: I attended NAB on my own dime, with a press pass to save the cost of admission. The NAB did not provide the pass in exchange for any promise of positive coverage, nor did they influence me in any way before or afterwards.

There is no material connection between me and any of the manufacturers covered in the article, and nobody offered any inducements for favorable coverage (other than appearing at the show and having interesting things to look at).

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Comments

Ivan Oliveira: | May, 05, 2012

There is no better way to mix fun and work!
I already bought a couple of toy helicopters to get the hold of them before investing in a quadcopter that can carry a camera. So far so good. I will be getting one of those soon!

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