Consumer drones have been a game changer in aerial photography and videography, but a UK based drone store called Drones Direct attempted to revolutionize the art of walking dogs. Attempt is the keyword here because Drones Direct’s dog walking drone was asked to be removed from sales as it was condemned by DJI. Drones Direct modified a DJI Phantom 4 to be able to walk a dog and set the price to over $2500 (£1,999). The UK based drone store has had a history of on and off again custom drone products just as unique as their dog walking drone. Their marketing campaign has met some success since their products have even gained the attention of news outlets from all around the world.
The Dog Walking Drone
A DJI Phantom 4 with an upgraded 5870 mAh battery gave the dog walking drone a 30 minute flight time. A modded retractable leash with a preprogrammed flight route allowed a user to walk a dog while sitting at a nearby park bench. The obstacle avoidance was marketed as a safety feature, but that was already available on the stock Phantom 4. Besides the retractable leash, there wasn’t much added to the drone. Drones Direct insisted that the product was a genuine modded drone, yet no real pictures were being offered on their site. Based on the cartoon like pictures, it is safe to say that the dog walking drone was just a marketing stunt to draw attention to the “UK’s largest and best drone store.”
DJI Asked to Remove the Dog Walking Drone
For obvious safety reasons, DJI asked Drones Direct to remove the dog walking drone from their site. DJI even told International Business Times that “[they] do not condone using a drone in this way and as a responsible company who prioritises safety…it would be extremely dangerous to use a drone in this manner both for the animal and anyone in the vicinity.”
Other Drones Direct Products
A 24 karat gold plated DJI Phantom 4 and an umbrella carrying drone were once some of Drone Direct’s products. The 24 karat gold plated DJI Phantom 4 drone was available to buy for over $24,000, but it got pulled off the site. The $1600 modded DJI Phantom 4 carrying an umbrella lasted just about as long as their dog walking drone before it was also removed off their site.
Drones Direct may just be toying around with their products to bring attention to their site, but it won’t be long before more future drones change the way humans live their lives. Everyday errands can be replaced or guided with drone assisted help, but a dog walking drone is too much of a safety risk to become reality.