Vantage Robotics’ small, 4K-capable Snap drone has some unique safety features that enable it to earn what will be the first certification of its kind from the FAA to fly over crowds of people for both emergency and non-emergency purposes.
The Snap drone debuted a few years ago with its protected rotors and breakaway, frangible design that lets the drone break apart into smaller, less harmful pieces in the event of an impact. This, however, is "landmark in that it [is] the first [waiver] for flying over crowds of non-participants at commercially useful altitudes," according to Vantage Robotics CEO Tobin Fisher. After demonstrating the unique safety features of Snap’s drone, Rutherford County, Tennessee is now the first county in the United States with such a waiver.
While much of the industry’s focus is currently on providing both compact and large no-compromise drones for commercial, aerial videography, others in the industry such as Vantage are proving there’s room for smaller, lighter, and safer drones. And that purpose might not stop only at surveillance as cameras improve and as filmmakers constantly battle with ways to get the shots they require in the easiest (and most cost-effective) way possible.
What do you think of drones flying overhead at events or demonstrations? Does it concern you, or can you a see a world where it becomes the norm and is completely safe?
An earlier version of this story stated an incorrect classification of the type of waiver granted. This has now been corrected with an additional quote more specifically and accurately describing the nature of the FAA waiver that was granted for Vantage Robotics' Snap drone.