Video helidrone


Fabulous technology that could revolutionise TV coverage of our sport
While the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix may be a first in bringing together the kiteboards, skiffs, foilers and catamarans in one regatta, another technical innovation being showcased here on Murcia’s Mar Menor is that of a remote control model helicopter from which high definition video can be shot. The project is that of Alejandro Sobron Rueda and Jose Luis Alvarez. Both living in Madrid, Rueda is an aeronautical engineering studying at university, while Alvarez by trade is a sound engineer, the two having developed a friendship as they live near to each other and are both musicians. Rueda has been designing and building model helicopters and planes for the last 10 years and has developed his latest flying machine over the course of the last year. The helicopter, which has been quietly buzzing over the race course, measures about 0.7 x 0.7m in plan view with eight propellers mounted in a square configuration. The propellers are driven by battery powered electric motors, enough for a flying time of up to around 20 minutes. While the basic design and technology used in the helicopter is of German origin, Rueda has carried out considerable customisation to accept the two cameras fitted to it. One camera is a miniature low resolution webcam type, while the other, slung beneath the main body of the helicopter, is a compact lightweight GoPro. The former is the ‘pilot’ camera while the GoPro records the high definition footage. Images from both are beamed back to a base station ashore where there are two screens showing the output from the cameras. However this is just the beginning. Telemetry from a GPS is beamed back from the chopper and there is an ‘auto’ mode which can be programmed with latitude, longitude and altitude, so that the helicopter remains hovering in one position or when

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