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Hexo+: A promising autonomous aerial filming project


Since then UAVs started to be more common in civil area, the aerial photography and film making were one of the most promising applications from the very beginning. The possibility of having a controllable robotic camera in the air was find to be useful for many directors and photographers, but also for lot of others. However, cameras and visual sensors are usually a necessary part of every drone application. So, the next step of this development would be naturally to invent a UAS for a really simple and functional autonomous aerial shooting. Though there are currently some projects enabling such application, each system is designed differently and offers another advantages. So, in this post I´d like you to present a really interesting and extraordinary project, which aims to bring a perfect autonomous flying camera mainly for sportsmen, inventive directors and any creative people.

There are remote places where is aerial filming pretty difficult, tricky and sometimes even dangerous. I´m speaking about wild nature, mountains, snow plains, deserts, oceans and such. Not only in mentioned places can easily happens a situation, when is to risky to even control a drone and do the aerial shooting. So when the Hero+ team realized that they need a simple copter which would be able to follow them and do the aerial filming autonomously, they just started to make it come true. They basically combined their experience about action-sports movie making, UAV developement and aeronautic software. The final product consists from four parts: there is a drone, a camera and a smartphone with a simple app. At first, you need to set a shot frame with a fingertip on your smarphone. The app allows you to set the shooting distance, height and other necessity. After pushing your filming settings to your drone, it will automatically take off and fly to its specified position – and hover there until the subject starts moving. Then the drone is following the subject while filming it autonomously. It´s just that simple.

The Hexo+ team has choosen a light weight hexacopter with a GoPro camera. The drone´s flight time is around 15 minutes, which might be not so impressive, however for the stated purpose it should be enough. We should also mention that one of the main goals of this project is to achieve a good availability for almost anyone which obviously means mainly a reasonable price. Another pretty interesting fact about this project is that the team decided to put their intentions on the Kickstarter and use the internet community and UAV fans in order to gather financial resources for starting the production. Using the Kickstarter might be a good idea because the will also stay in touch with the users and build this project together with them. Crowfunding is definitely a great indicator of what people really need and it might be also an interesting chance for the drone development in near future.