AR Drone - The Maiden Voyage

I wrote about drones a while back and as part of my exploration of them, I bought an AR Drone on Amazon. It was shipped to my office for some reason and sat there for about a month as I normally cycle or scooter home. But yesterday I decided to Hailo it home and bring the drone home with me.

It was good timing as all of our kids are home this week and got to participate in the maiden voyage. Emily and I unboxed it and charged the battery. Then we took it for its maiden voyage in the living room of our apartment.

Josh did the flying bit on my android phone, Emily and Jessica did the Instagraming and Vining, and I played prevent defense so that the drone would not hit our Eric Freeman painting.

After witnessing this scene, the Gotham Gal immediately banned all drone flying in the apartment so we will have to continue our exploration in the back yard.

Here are some thoughts based on the out of the box experience and maiden voyage:

1) the out of the box experience is great. It basically comes all put together, you charge the battery, download the app (iOS and Android) onto your phone or tablet and you are good to go.

2) it conects via wifi not bluetooth. That works fine but while you are flying the drone, you are not online. That seems like an issue at some level for cool things you might want to do with it that leverage the internet.

3) the app that controls the drone and the interface was not particularly intuitive. Josh plays enough video games that he is probably a candidate for the air force drone academy and yet he had some difficulty figuring it out.

4) everyone loves the drone. It would make a great house pet.

Once I get the hang of flying the drone, I want to start programming it. I plan to continue to post updates here as I get more into this.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Anne Libby

    I hate/love that it’s called a drone.(We had a brief romance with model airplanes when I was growing up, and I see this here. Enjoy.)

    1. fredwilson

      very similar to model airplanes. i did model rockets when i was a kid

      1. Anne Libby

        Yes! I remember a model rocket, too. With the little parachute on the capsule.

        1. WA

          The Constellation! Great payload section. Can’t post the various experiments here due to potential NSA surveillance.

          1. jason wright

            buying a drone could get the buyer on a terrorist watch list.

        2. pointsnfigures

          Loved model rockets. Always wanted to get the Apollo 11 one. The first guy I clerked with was into scale model planes. They’d fly jet fighter’s by remote. the vid is totally geeky, but cool. This one looks cool too:

          1. WA

            The Saturn V was a sweet one! Big. 4 D engines right?

          2. Avi Deitcher

            The Apollo 11! How I wanted that one, too. It was three stage, each with multiple engines and its own parachute, right?

        3. ShanaC

          me too, I had one one summer at camp!

      2. Avi Deitcher

        You did? Estes rockets? I loved those things. I even did them with my kids as an adult a few years back, a park off of the Saw Mill River Pkwy…… and chased the rocket into the woods, not recognizing poison ivy. 🙁

      3. Matt A. Myers

        I did basil wood plane models when I was a teenager and younger. Every time I think about them I remember how peaceful it was – and then rewarding and fun to see this fly and adjust its rudders to make sure it goes in a good-sized circle. I need to get back into that.

      4. John Revay

        I remember building an Apollo rocket (I am guessing late 60’s around the Apollo 11 launch/landing). This rocket must have been almost 4′ tall.Not sure if I have any photos…..When you think of today and all of the picture we and our children take every day – things will be differnt when they get older

      5. Steve

        Yes. My brother and I got some pretty good altitude out of the “Sprint” rocket (single-stage). But, the best was the “Arcas” (two-stage) rocket, which we lost after it disappeared through the clouds after firing its second stage engines. Good memories.

      6. Jeffrey Hartmann

        Absolutely love model rockets, some of the best fun I had as a kid was building and firing off model rockets with my Dad. He generally didn’t like much of the sciency stuff that I did, but it was a rush letting those rockets fly and we both really enjoyed it. Good times.

    2. WA

      Ah. Estes. So much more than a park on Colorado. That and the Cox airplanes as a kid. Thanks for the flashback!

      1. Anne Libby

        Nice memories for me.And another memory popped to mind: “Mom always said not to play ball in the house.”

  2. Tom Labus

    Can it cook?

    1. ShanaC

      I’d still prefer a robot that does that (though I like cooking)

  3. Avi Deitcher

    How are you planning on hacking it? Arduino on board? Something else? Please do post the details.Very cool.

  4. William Mougayar

    You should get the serving tray accessory. This restaurant in London is already using drones to deliver sushi.http://www.businessinsider…. (watch the video, it’s funny)

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Thanks William… I was thinking of this link when I saw today’s title.

    2. ShanaC

      how are they being piloted? (though this plus a kinect hack might work somehow…)

      1. William Mougayar

        Good question. A new type of job will emerge:Restaurant Drone Operator!

      2. LE

        Man in video with ipad is in control.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      I saw that. First thing came to mind is have fun navigating those spinning blades – yes I know they’re generally plastic but will still hurt like a mofo if they hit you..

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Now, I’m surprised it can carry that much weight.

      1. LE

        Well first it’s not entirely clear it’s carrying the weight because it’s apparent from watching that once it clears the “ground” effect it goes down. The ground effect is whenever a chopper is close to the ground there is additional “lift”.I’ll give an example. I have a micro copter at the office that I can land on my hand. When the battery starts to go low (after, say 7 minutes approx.) the chopper will fail to hold a certain altitude. But if I put my hand out I can hover the chopper over my hand, it doesn’t land (unless I want it to). That’s more or less the ground effect.The ground effect is also what makes it more difficult to land a chopper when you are practicing with a non-automated one since it becomes a bit unstable.Lastly, the idea of using this is not practical if you’ve ever flown these in any type of wind you have some real control problems even with the computer assistance.http://www.rchelicopterfun….To test this, get your RC heli into a nice stable 3 to 4 foot hover. Now decrease the throttle/collective ever so slightly so the heli starts to descend slowly. As you near the ground, you will find the heli will start encountering the bubble of high pressure (at about 1/2 the main rotor diameter) and stop descending, you are now in ground effect. The nice thing about ground effect is it allows you to concentrate almost 100% on your cyclic controls since the lift generated by the main rotors is somewhat self-correcting while in GE.

      2. andyidsinga

        I was wondering the same thing – I’ve read a site that says the AR drone payload is only 100 grams (maybe Fred can confirm in his experiements 🙂 )the drone in William’s pic seems to be something other model/brand.

      3. jason wright

        it’s not McDonald’s.

    5. Ana Milicevic

      The video is great.Doesn’t look like they thought of protecting the food from birds while in transit from kitchen to table. Hmmm….

      1. William Mougayar

        Maybe that costs extra 🙂

    6. PhilipSugar

      Maybe this is cranky Phil, like cranky William at the foursquare post.When I see the media writing stories like this I think the hype curve is a giant wave that is getting ready to crash.I like drones but…In the one corner we have a low tech, no maintenance plastic conveyor belt delivering sushi, never spilling food, with counting plates to calculate the bill. (it is my understanding they are like Pod in Philly)In the other corner we have a wait staff, an iPod, and a drone, to deliver food much slower than if the wait staff just handed it to you, with the added possibility of spilling food and hitting some clumsy oaf that is going to threaten to sue you because he ran into the drone.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I think a lot of gimmicky, non-sustainable, uses will come about with experimentation and see what people / the market is willing to withstand – and from that there will hopefully be some cool, useful / valuable, non-intrusive use cases that arise.

          1. Ana Milicevic

            @wmoug:disqus @mattamyers:disqus @philipsugar:disqus When I was working with the UN many years ago and when drones were much rougher than they are today we were looking at them as a way to deliver supplies & medicine to hard to reach areas (e.g. post natural disaster or simply very remote). We’re not talking about a wifi drone clearly, but robots delivering or even just scanning disaster areas with cameras/IR sensors would be really cool & much needed.Agree that this is a tad hype-y, but to Matt’s point that seems to be a recognizable pattern.

          2. William Mougayar

            But I look forward to seeing what Fred will come up with in terms of programming it, apps, usages, etc…

          3. Matt A. Myers

            Another use I thought could be very valuable would be fire-fighting related.

          4. Matt A. Myers

            If following that then it seems so. 🙂

      2. William Mougayar

        Deep inside, I’m with you, but was playing along the Dronemania fever.This example is definitely pushing the limits of practicality. It borders on the ridicule, like when SNL did the skit on GoogleGlass.That said, I can comprehend using a personal drone for aerial photography/filming, but can’t think of other practical usages except for the thrill of flying a weird looking object.

        1. PhilipSugar

          No, I love them too just saying where on the hype curve we are.My brother gave my son one of those cool helicopters for Christmas. I liked it and flew it so much my wife ordered me to buy my own and stop using my son’s.

          1. William Mougayar

            Happy Wife, Happy Life. I hear you.

          2. PhilipSugar

            That was my wife instilling order in her domain. No different than Fred getting banned in the apartment. Wise for all involved.

          3. William Mougayar

            I’m familiar and happily complies. Makes us 3.

      3. William Mougayar

        And to top it off, this exact video was featured on the 11pm news in Toronto. They didn’t utter the word Drone. They called it Flying Helicopter that delivers your food.The TV media does have a way of dumming things down.

    7. Esayas Gebremedhin

      love this. it’s baby steps but it shows the dimension where this is going. reminded me of my insane discovery from yesterday:

    8. jason wright

      haute cuisine?

      1. William Mougayar

        literally 🙂

  5. awaldstein

    I like the image or hundreds of them on the Great Lawn in Central Park having a Drone Off.The image of them in my apt is something that Sam, my cat would enjoy but my artwork and other stuff beware.My father the physic’s teacher would have bought this in a second for his kids and his classes.

    1. William Mougayar

      This will give a new meaning to the word ‘personal airspace’ 🙂

    2. fredwilson

      that would be cool

  6. Laurent Eschenauer

    Awesome to see you started playing with it! Two pointers about your remarks:For 2) check this out to have your drone connect to your WPA secured wi-fi:…For 3) check out WebFlight (project of mine), an open source Ground Control Station built in nodejs that enable you to play from a laptop and hack various things easily:…Enjoy and don’t hesitate to reach out to the #nodecopter community on twitter/irc if you need help with anything:

  7. maxciociola

    Fred, surprised how a geeky guy like plays with this toys ;-)Forget AR DRONE, Phantom DJI is what you deserve (gps control, software based,etc) and go-Pro support.

    1. Laurent Eschenauer

      Max, I think both are very different beast. The Phantom is closer to the RC world (Mavlink etc.). What is really cool in the ARDrone is the fact you can remotely control it with very fine grained movements (beyond GPS waypoints). This enable many interesting use cases not possible with the Phantom (in the field of autonomous flights, object tracking, etc.).Both are great technology, and will eventually converge.

      1. maxciociola

        In my experience DJI Phantom has an incredible software based technology and in terms of camera view with Go Pro is kinda of amazing…DIYDRONE is an awesome project where they also evangelize ARDUPILOT, arduino based co-pilot…Agree with you. Those toys are incredible pieces of technologies…

        1. Laurent Eschenauer

          Absolutely agree that if I was making a movie, I would go for a Phantom or other RC type (mavlink/waypoint based) device.If however you want to teach your drone to play catch like a good dog or prototype other use cases in need of image processing, state estimation, etc… then the ARDrone API is much better suited.It provides you with things like motion estimation, tag detection, fine control of roll/pitch/yaw, etc. All “easily” programmable, even in Javascript :-)Two different devices for different use cases. I don’t think one is ‘better’ than the other. I expect the industry to evolve towards a lot of different ‘kind’ of ‘drones’ based on the requirements of the business solution they support. We won’t do drone logistics with the same drones as terrain mapping, gaming, indoor vs outdoor, etc…

      1. maxciociola

        you have to buy this one. Yep 😉

  8. Louis Berlan

    I bought one about a year ago, and I agree with your points. It’s a much better experience outside (especially when you take away the foam protection). The app is not intuitive enough, but the main problem I have was input precision. I’m wondering to what extent that’s not due to a touchscreen interface – i.e. can you be as precise as a traditional RC plane/car without physical controls?The cameras are very cool as well.

    1. kenberger

      At least not out of the box. Having to use a phone/pad to control it is a fail (despite a couple of benefits, such as the phone “transmitter” understands in which direction you’re facing) for 2 reasons:1. you want the precision and feel of a dedicated helicopter transmitter.2. a transmitter gives you 2.4ghz control without being restricted to the wifi protocol (with a phone, you’re stuck w/ wifi). wifi is pretty bad as it significantly limits range and is much more susceptible to interference if you’re in or near a city.Both items can be changed with ARDrone by hacking, although there are other products out there to consider for that route.

    2. Laurent Eschenauer

      The ARDrone has a very friendly SDK and, thanks to its wi-fi support, it makes it really easy to develop third party apps for it. Thus, you can find opensource projects to control your drone by other means. For example, using a laptop and a gamepad/joystick. The later gives you amazing precision in the movements.

  9. jason wright

    what’s its utility?

    1. aminTorres

      It’s a toy… a learning tool, creativity infuser, entertaining…

      1. jason wright

        it looks like a domestic disaster waiting to happen….how many daily drone damage ER admissions are there?…and drone divorce cases?

        1. aminTorres

          well, someone woke up on the negative side of things….so far, all side effects I’ve seen is that they turns mother figures into air traffic controllers 😉

          1. jason wright

            the lawyer inside of me

    2. kenberger

      1 thing I love about piloting is that it’s very zen and mind-clearing (assuming you have a quad with a real, 2-joystick, transmitter, not this iOS-controlled nonsense.)It’s very sensitive, you can’t freak out, get shaky hands, have to be alert and concentrate at all times. I find it an excellent work break in late afternoons. Each session feels to me like when Yoda was coaching Luke to just feel it rather than over-think it.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        That’s a great description.

  10. aminTorres

    What a nerd… wink!Gotham Gal: Toughie 😉

  11. RichardF

    Add a paintbrush to the drone and you could have a very “unique” eric freemanIn fact maybe I’ll launch a kickstarter project for the first drone painted art…….

    1. ShanaC

      semi-done by a former professor of mine actually :…(wish I could own his stuff. also the only guy I have ever met to out seo Playboy for the words “every play cover” at one point.)

    2. fredwilson

      that would be a james nares. we also own one of those

  12. JimHirshfield

    That Vine shows how much fun you were having!! Kinda looks like you’re dancing with the drone…drone dance lessons?

  13. jason wright

    can they be tracked on Foursquare?

  14. Denim Smith

    Lol living in the future ‘all drone flying was banned in the house’ awwww man.

  15. Dave W Baldwin

    I may have misunderstood via the video you posted back then, but I believe it has a vertical sensor (fly over wall and it will jump to that distance above the top of wall). To enable a horizontal sensor would be great.

    1. Laurent Eschenauer

      I think this was the case with the ARDrone 1.0, not anymore with the 2.0 which also has a pressure based altimeter in addition to the ultrasound one.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Very good! When I watched that video, was bewildered. With horizontal, you have so many programming options.

  16. John Revay

    Fred are you doing research here:)I saw that Chris Dixon invested Airware.

    1. fredwilson


      1. John Revay

        I went back to read the post again today – and noticed that you youtagged this post under “Posted in drones”#StayTuned

  17. Matt A. Myers

    “I played prevent defense”Haha. I absolutely love the vine. Exactly how I pictured it happening. Much laughter was had. Awesome. 🙂

  18. Tracey Jackson

    I guess my question is why? It must be a guy thing. Guys get such a charge out of stuff flying around. “Look it flies. Look I can turn it off with phone.” Women see it flying into a vase and breaking it. I am totally with GG on this one. Though I agree with whoever said it needs to cook. Then I would drone up the house. But only in the kitchen.

    1. LE

      If men didn’t want to tinker and do what you are describing above we wouldn’t have half the stuff that we have which came as a result of such behavior.

      1. Tracey Jackson

        Not without merit…

    2. Guest

      Not without merit….

  19. LIAD

    RC HELI STATSNo. purchased = > 5No. expedited-shipping replacement blades ordered = DozensTotal successful flying hours = < 0.1Cumulative incurred frustration = LoadsTime to induce immature schoolboy regression = InstantDollar value of aggregate pleasure provided = Priceless

    1. LE

      Suggestion. A micro one to practice and fly indoors.Buy this, ( WL V911 4 CH Single Rotor Helicopter) it’s great for practicing indoors you can crash into walls multiple times and it still flies:

    2. kenberger

      which models are your quads of choice so far?

      1. LIAD

        no quads yet.have new priority of keeping my money in my pocket rather than in bits of smashed plastic strewn all over the floor

  20. Conrad Ross Schulman

    LMAO “prevent defense”- jeez Fred ure killing me today with this…:)

  21. Kirsten Lambertsen

    It has a camera built in? How far away from the control can it go?The Vine was neat 🙂

    1. andyswan

      I’m GUESSING as far as your wifi connection takes you, since that’s how both it and the “controller” (your phone/ipad) connect.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Makes sense.

    2. LE

      Funny that is the number one question that I used to get asked back when flying years ago.I would be at the field and someone would come up and always predictably ask “how high can that thing go”. The answer (at least with what I was flying at the time) was that the limitation had to do with your ability to see the craft not with the radio’s loss of contact.If you’ve ever flow even large choppers once they get up in the sky far and high you loose the ability to even know what direction they are headed in. It’s actually a real challenge. You lose your visual orientation and depending on the lighting (sun, shadows, trees) you can set yourself up for a crash very easily.

      1. kenberger

        easy to solve for, with a DJI Phantom or build your own modular:1. with a GPS module and associated software, there’s a homing function that has it auto-pilot back to wherever it took off, kicking in if your transmitter ever breaks connection (works super well, btw).2. with an attached camera (gopro hdmi out, or cheaper cams), you can fly in “FPV” mode, allowing you to see through the “bird’s eye” and much more easily maneuver through trees, bridges, monuments, etc. This is an awesome feeling, especially if you use special goggles to view the video out and fly as if you’re the bird.

        1. LE

          First thanks for that. I am looking into that right now (after reading what you wrote) found this:…However I do want to point out that part of the thrill of flying a non quadracopter is the skill level involved as well as the threat of crash. For example you play (what appears to be a guitar). Part of the fun of that is that it is difficult and not everyone can do it. The more things you add to make it “easier” it’s not the same experience. At a certain point it’s close simply playing someone else’s song. Same with skiing not on the “bunny” slope. It’s hard you want it to be hard makes it a better thrill when you can do it and others can’t.So I like the challenge.That said the DJI is cool and I might buy it because of the photography aspect which I want to be able to do. So thanks for pointing all this out.

          1. kenberger

            you describe quite well an important aspect, re the challenge and achievement, that one can’t really understand until you get into the hobby.and that’s the reason that for people that fancy themselves like that, i would recommend *against* the Phantom, and towards getting something a bit more DIY.Here is a great source for serious kits that are ready to fly and you can build on them: http://readytoflyquads.comCheaper than the Phantom, and you can add more Phantom-like modules to start or later on, can do way more tricks, stunts etc as you get good. The Phantom is cool but I can see it getting boring, flying skills-wise, with time. Then again, FPV flying certainly takes some serious skill and you can do that with either.I love that this field is so clearly in just the hobbyist stage, and agree w/ Fred about that attractiveness.

  22. kenberger

    I am now obsessed with RC quad flying and take a piloting break most afternoons, in decent weather! It takes a while to get any good, but i’m getting there quickly.I have a demo DJI Phantom carrying a Hero3 Gopro. Very professional and useful craft.A tiny $50 Hubsan X4…. Surprisingly capable.My favorite now, this little hand-size one:…(or…And attached is my summer project: basically the guts of a DJI Phantom but you add modules to it, swap boards, etc.

    1. fredwilson

      typical. you are way ahead of me on this too.

      1. kenberger

        highly recommend to also now buy at least 1 of the little guys I link to above. They are a blast, teach you basic flying skills, and are MUCH more indoor-friendly.The Extreme Fliers guy was a Disrupt exhibitor, btw, and we’re staying synched re his upcoming products.

  23. kenberger

    Southern Brooklyn, it turns out, is a world capital of RC flying. There are *3* official airfields where you can see groups of hardcore RC geeks on any wkend year-round flying their stuff. Hanging out there is my primary way of learning about piloting and building these.1 of these places is an actual airport in existence since 1969. The runway is visible here:'s a vid of a swarm of screaming kids chasing my drone!

    1. fredwilson


  24. andyswan

    $200 bid for paintball attachment

    1. fredwilson


  25. Jesse

    These Drones are getting so popular, I believe in no time, if not even used already, the average person will be able to use these as a spying tool, posing huge security issues. Imagine flying your drone with a gopro camera up to your neighbors bedroom window…this is happening .. what does everything think about this?

    1. andyswan

      Our policy is, we’re comfortable with our bodies. You know, if someone wants to help themselves to an eyeful, well, we say “Enjoy the show.”

      1. Jesse

        I agree with and thats my stance! However, not everyone thinks like this!

        1. Jesse

          Look for the domicopter, which dominos is launching to deliver pizza. It will be a huge breakthrough in the industry if they could achieve success.

          1. Albert R

            Not sure if you’re being facetious, but I actually think this is how deliveries will happen in the future.

          2. Jesse

            I was not being facetious at all, it is the future

  26. ShanaC

    Urg – my post went missingI thought that painting was glorious, but I am actually kind of interested in why you react to a drone like a pet – do you think the programming could evolve for semi-autonomy of a sort and there will be robot pets (not the toys you see on tv, more pet like)

    1. Ana Milicevic

      Perhaps not robot pets as much as robots as caretakers – for example for the elderly in Japan (….I’m very interested in the potential here throughout health services but also can’t escape thinking of the movie ‘Robot and Frank’.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Many over here have started to wake up to the fact we are not that far behind Japan in number of elderly.The photo down below shows one way of looking at it. If you fashion the mobile base and utilize screen (tablet) you have a start.Sorry, couldn’t get photo to paste. It is number 15 in this slide show I use with kids:…Of course, getting to level where arm/hand dispenses medication has a slew of safety issues. To think, we will move from communities going thru debate then pass establishing bike lanes… not too far off, we’ll have robotic lanes in hospital hallway…

  27. William Mougayar

    That vining clip will go in the same priceless category as the ping pong one 🙂

  28. Jay Bregman

    All we can do is get the drone home. Everything else is up to you 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      i enjoy using hailo as a verb

  29. Kevin Dorren

    Here is how I lost my drone (luckily a lovely neighbour brought it back after a few days)

  30. LE

    “It was shipped to my office for some reason and sat there for about a month”It makes total sense actually.Things like that happen when you get older.Back when I was growing up there you got so few toys – you got them only at Chanukah, (or Christmas), or your birthday, and some of the time the gifts were clothes and not toys anyway, – so when you got a new toy it was truly special and you wanted to open it immediately and play.The idea of waiting even a day or two was unheard of.Now of course it’s different. First because being older you are distracted by other things more important and also because the thrill just isn’t the same. Especially if you can pretty much buy what you want to play with.The other thing that has changed is that things have become more complicated in the sense that if you decide that you want to buy a $3500 Sony HD camera it comes with a manual and you have to generally read something before you can begin “playing” with it. Even the quick start card is friction preventing enjoyment. Back when I started with photography an SLR had f stop and shutter and if you got a new camera it was like driving a different car basically. Now a new digital camera has menus, settings and a host of variables (unless you put it in “auto” mode of course).I’ve had the exact same thing happen when buying things. I buy and then it sits there until I can find the time to get it setup and working. I never have the patience to read manuals either.

    1. Steve

      Yes, agree totally. But, my kids can take the most complicated electronics item out of the box and intuitively figure out all of its functions, while I would still be thumbing through the instruction manual.

      1. LE

        While some of that can be related to older age and mental decline there are other factors at play as well.When you are a kid getting to do something like that (which you want to do) is a way of avoiding what someone else tells you to do. It’s almost a lesser of evils. As a result you are going to be much more motivated. An older person has no such person “telling them” or giving them a pass however they do have adult obligations which would tend to make them more impatient. I mean can I really afford to sit leisurely with something that is “play” when I have more important things to do? Gotham Gal isn’t going to want to use a new convection oven when she has Thanksgiving dinner to prepare.A more accurate test would be to find a child that has only nominal interest in something and observe their motivation without the manual. Give them the HD camera and see what happens. Give a girl who has no interest in robots a robot and see what happens. Give a boy a girls toy and see what happens. (Not a challenge but just a normal “hey can you work this”. A challenge changes the whole dynamic so it’s not a valid indicator.)It’s almost a cliche that kids at a young age are able to use a remote vs. adults in some cases. The reason is they are tremendously motivated to figure it out in order to get the reward (cartoons).I’m really good with these things and always have been. But when you get older there are just other things that are more important you don’t have the block of time to devote that you were when you were a kid and when you were done with your homework there wasn’t much else you had to worry about.

  31. Ana Milicevic

    Good defense, Fred.Do you have an idea of what your first drone program will be?

  32. andyidsinga

    the vine was funny – futile attempt at defense 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      yup, poorly done

  33. LE

    “After witnessing this scene, the Gotham Gal immediately banned all drone flying in the apartment”That’s the point of the indoor guard that you remove when you fly outdoors actually.When I was a kid my mom used to worry about me messing up and breaking things in the house (photography chemicals, drills at the kitchen table, tools, messy garage, cables) luckily my dad overruled her saying that the experimentation was more important than the household objects which could easily be replaced. Not to mention that if you really did break something when flying it would be covered by homeowners insurance (yes it would, legitimately).

    1. andyidsinga

      I constantly struggle (internally) with this same thing with my kids… then I just give up the idea of having anything nice 🙂

      1. LE

        I think it totally depends on what the upside vs. downside is. For example I would never let someone toss a ball in the house. You don’t need to improve your skills in that area at the expense of the house getting ragged looking (blinds broken, marks on walls etc.).One thing I am a stickler on is cleaning up the mess that one makes after “playing” or whatever. I think that needs to be reinforced at a very early age.

        1. andyidsinga

          yeah agreed.I have the clean up issue too – our dining room table gets covered with projects :daughter: dad I have to use the dining room table for this please use the table in your room we gave you for projects.daughter: it already has a project on lets go take a [sigh at the sight of a mountain of “projects” on the table] okay you can use the dining room table. when are you going to finish some of these?daughter: thanks dad! [while hauling stuff to dining room]

  34. Nick Grossman

    That is so funny — last night, we had a helicopter flight inside our house as well. A friend accidentally got theo a “14+” birthday present instead of a “4+” one — a remote controlled helicopter.So, too bad for theo, but good for me. I was flying it around the living room last night. And similarly, Frannie was none too pleased.

    1. fredwilson

      and theo?

      1. Nick Grossman

        He was asleep by the time the battery charged but I think he’ll love it. Its really fun to fly.–http://nickgrossman.ison the fly

  35. Steve

    Fred – Aside from just the thrill of flying it, what practical uses of the drone would you envision for you and your family?

    1. fredwilson

      if we can make pickup and delivery work, both to local businesses and friends in the area, that would be awesome

  36. matthughes

    Fun stuff!

  37. karen_e

    Hubby and I watched the ANKI introduction at the WWDC and thought, WWFP = What will Fred post? Here is our answer. (Holy home robots, Robin! Defend the paintings!)

  38. Albert R

    You should get an NVIDIA Shield and try flying it with that. I preordered one and I’m probably going to buy an AR Drone just because I’ll have something with such intuitive controls for it.…Or just get a gamepad for your phone (in which case it’s a good thing this uses wifi and not bluetooth).

  39. Pete Griffiths

    Market your drugs on SilkRoad, take payment with Bitcoin, communicate with your clients over Tor or Silent Circle then deliver using drones. Also handy for collecting ransom or blackmailing payments.

    1. fredwilson


  40. Esayas Gebremedhin

    Nice Idea For IWISH. Let’s see how many people will wish for it:

  41. Donna Brewington White

    The only thing I can add to this thread is the observation that you subtly used Hailo as a transitive verb.See I pay attention.

    1. jason wright

      gotta startup idea – the Hailocopter.

  42. Jan Schultink

    Maybe ultimately, drones make easier/cheaper house robots than walking ones (moving parts, obstacles)

  43. kskobac

    Very cool. My friend has the DJI Phantom quad copter. We hooked up a GoPro to it and have started recording videos. This is an example of the first one, which ended early because of the wind, but you get the idea!

  44. Robert Holtz

    I’ve seen these but was resisting the temptation to actually buy one… until now. I just know this is going to be a huge productivity waster. Thanks a LOT, you guys! 😉

  45. chrisboden

    Fred, you’ll enjoy the aerial video this guy is shooting using his quadrocopter + gopro

    1. Accommodation in NYC

      Beautiful video.

  46. Nick Grossman

    Speaking of drone as a house pet….

    1. fredwilson


  47. John Revay

    Have time to go to Paris & do some shopping :)…

  48. Accommodation in NYC

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Sofa, I give you: the dog-walking drone. Just pre-program the daily route, drone holds leash, off they go. Owner sits at home on sofa, chewing chips, keeps an eye on it by video. Dog-walking service companies such as @swiftonyc should jump on this, like already! 🙂 (Boisterous mutts need not apply…or at least not while the technology is still too dainty to restrain them) Comes with optional ‘Pooper-scooper’ attachment.

  49. John Revay

    Saw a link on Benedict Evans newsletter over the weekend> Worthwhile blog posts>RC Drone footage of the Taksim Square protests. The Future. Imagine drones at Tiananmen Square. in the comments – he flew a Quadcopter – found a link on B&H – not sure if it is the same type