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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Drone for home?



The price of small drones keeps falling while capabilities go up. There's a lot of competition between manufacturers and that's a good thing. I'm interested in the lower end of the market. I would not want to spend serious money for something that I'd crash in the trees or land in the lake.

Until recently I always thought of them as toys. Some of the video I've seen has made me reconsider. They can be really useful scouting devices. A drone with the ability to stream live video can be pretty handy. A lot of boaters are using them. Fishermen use them to look for fish. Divers check out dive sites. Sailors can scope out narrow passes before risking their boat.

Property owners are using them to keep an eye on their land. Ranchers can send them zipping along to check out the fence line in short order.

Recently I've been contemplating their potential for homestead security. A lot of remote homesteads have various alarms to protect their property. They range from simple audio alarms to security cameras with video, sound and even night vision. Some people have sensors just around their main gate, others protect their whole perimeter.

A drone could make a good supplement to other security measures. Imagine a simple audio alarm is triggered. The drone could be dispatched to see what tripped it. Even sophisticated camera systems could be supplemented with drone use. While a video feed could provide a limited picture, a drone's eye view reaches further and could zoom in for more information.

What got me thinking about this is that my dog ran something off my property. There was a lot of barking, growing and running around. Never did figure out what upset it. It would have been pretty handy to be able to get a bird's eye view of the action. The dog's great, but she gets just as upset by a bold squirrel as she does by a bear. It would have been good to know what triggered her.

I'm not yet in the market, but if trends continue I may be sooner rather than later.

-Sixbears

15 comments:

  1. They are trickier to fly than what one would think.
    The kid brought a little tiny one home (it cost a hundred bucks!) and I was messing with it one day.
    Pretty steep learning curve and I have operated a lot of different kinds of equipment in my day.

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    1. Good to know. Thanks. I'm sure some are easier to control than others, so it's something to look out for.

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  2. I got one for $59 on Amazon a couple years ago. For another $20 you could get a low resolution digicam to attach to it. Have only used it in the house. Battery power only allows about 90 secs of flying time.
    Bigfoot

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    1. They have better ones for less these days. That's what got my attention.

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  3. Would be nice to know if an intruder has two legs or four.

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    1. Truly. Although anyone who comes by way of the swamp is in for a hard slog.

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  4. Suddenly, there are all sorts of Drone magazines on the news stand at our grocery store. I have only seen one drone, some guy was up at a gap in the mountains flying one. I hope he knew what he was doing because if it crashed out there he could never reach it. If you do get one I'd be interested in what you think of it. I can see the advantages, but in summer and spring the forest canopy here is so thick it wouldn't be any use. In winter it could be handy. For one thing, I could use it to see if packages are down at the gate at the foot of the mountain without having to drive down there.

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    1. Have you considered putting a remote camera down by your gate?

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  5. I can see how they could be helpful, especially to ranchers.

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  6. Best Buy has the 3DR Solo drone with extra props, 1 extra battery and a 3 axis gimbal thrown in for $399. This was a state of the art drone that was over $1400 for all listed above.

    Designed for serious photography, it will takeoff and land itself with the push of a button. It works with a Gopro, in fact, Gopro closely collaborated with 3 DR in its design etc.

    All the things you mentioned in your post, this thing can do. Cheaply except of course, you have to buy a Gopro. Knockoffs won't work.

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    1. That's a big price drop in a short time. It's still more than I can justify right now. However, those price drops are what got my attention.

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  7. My son had one awhile back, but I don't think he has used it for a long, long time.

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    1. So . . . it might be more of a toy than a tool?

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  8. My brother and I have also considered buying a drone for viewing our land holding. Not huge (166 acres) but the vast majority of it is covered in trees. What value is that to me (look - right there next to the tree, lol). But I admit I wouldn't mind getting the different perspective in view from the 'birds eye' (as shown in Bing Maps - only closer).

    I saw my 1st drone in a pawn shop yesterday. That is when you know the technology has arrived (getting traded in, likely for an updated model).

    Thank you Sixbears.

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