Phantom 3 Drone flying in downtown Toronto

Last weekend in the Roadhouse Park in downtown Toronto, I was lucky enough to bump into somebody who was flying a Phantom 3 drone quadcopter. It is an impressive piece of kit, and the operator, Milton, was kind enough to let me make this video, as many interested people watched on.

Here is the Phantom 3 website.

The Phantom 3 can auto-pilot hover at a fixed spot in 3D space, with the multiple GPS readings used to keep it in-place. The camera is on a pivot which can be controlled independently of the drone’s movement. I’m not sure if you can zoom, etc.

There are 3D no-fly zones defined so that it won’t let you get into restricted airspace around airports, etc. That isn’t just zonal – it can include slices extending upwards where the runways are, rising at 15% degrees, so you are height-restricted too if the drone is just outside of a restricted zone like an airport. There is some kind of “return home” functionality, which will take control of the drone and safely land it for you back where you took off from. That might actually get auto-engaged if you fly into a no-fly zone. The manufacturer seems to be very safety-conscious, and also to be proactive in regards to being self-policing.

It can fly up to about 500 metres high, and the batteries last about 20 minutes. There is a fairly large battery pack, and you can get spare batteries for about $100-$150. It is recording onto normal flash media at 4K. It can stream back a preview at 720p via the custom radio link (not Wifi). Milton gave incorrect information on that when we were talking.

Very interesting piece of kit. It costs about $1700.

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