The DroneBase AirCraft platform allows pilots to build structures in the sky with GPS-based augmented reality. It’s expected to be used for pilot training, among other things.
The ability to overlay a virtual image onto our view of the real world has enormous potential. At least that’s what industry reports relating to the insurance, logistics and retail sectors have stated – but plenty of businesses are still uncertain over the commercial future of augmented reality (AR). Finding a practical use for such a specific technology isn’t easy.
California startup DroneBase is a leading platform connecting drone pilots with work and potential clients. It has an active community of professional pilots, including plenty who are looking to make the transition from being a hobbyist into paid missions. As such, DroneBase is in an ideal position to test out new technologies and experiment with AR.
Potential AirCraft applications
The AirCraft platform adds a new element to the standard DroneBase application. With it, pilots are able to build three-dimensional structures in the sky using colored blocks.
Any building platform transforming the sky into an open canvas has plenty of creative potential, particularly when AirCraft allows for more than one pilot to collaborate on the same project.
Applications range from aerial works of art to virtual race tracks and pilot training. The latter may be of most interest to enterprises and individuals. It’s easy to see how practising on virtual courses could help pilots improve their skills and a low-risk environment.
The flexibility of the platform could also allow for specific designs to aid pilot training, from (admittedly crude) oil rigs to telecoms towers or houses. All are commonly inspected with drones, so pilots looking to improve the speed and efficiency of operations could benefit from running through the flight with AR beforehand.
But just as important is getting pilots flying. Plenty of hobbyists buy a drone only to forget about it as it gathers dust in the garage. “AirCraft gives pilots of all skill levels new reasons to fly their drones,” said Dan Burton, Founder and CEO, DroneBase.
“We believe AirCraft allows your drone to evolve from a camera in the sky to your cursor in the sky. Pilots can use our AR technology to create giant works of art or a drone racecourse or more practical commercial applications like rendering a CAD model at a construction site or evaluating a post-disaster insurance claim.”
DroneBase hands over the controls
Although there are obvious commercial applications, the DroneBase team has been careful not to limit its AR platform to any single use case. As you might expect from a first-of-its-kind technology, AirCraft is somewhat experimental.
DroneBase’s Burton expects the platform to be the catalyst for plenty of creativity and for community-driven use cases to emerge over time.
“Since the possibilities are endless, we’re looking to our community of pilots to see what they will build, how they will use this technology, and what they want next”.