Have you ever wanted to travel the world without leaving home? Well now you can!
With the latest Phantom 4 firmware update, anyone will be able to experience flying over the Grand Canyon, the Great Wall of China or any other monumental landmark in the world without even owning a drone.
When the Phantom 4 was released, there were a lot of nice features added such as Active Track, Sport Mode and even obstacle avoidance. What they didn’t tell you is that the Phantom 4 was created as a smart drone for a good reason. Now with the latest DJI Virtual Sightseeing app, you can simply pay $9.99 to gain access to any available Phantom 4 in the world. Simply press the Takeover button in the location that you would like to fly and the app will automatically connect to the nearest Phantom 4 in that area. It will then launch the drone and fly to the location you selected. At this point, you have full control to explore the world from the sky.
For people who already own a Phantom 4, you can now make money with your drone by offering it up to the Virtual Sight Seeing system. All you have to do is buy the new DJI battery docking station which will act as a landing pad, radio hub and battery exchange unit. Once you place the Phantom 4 into the battery dock, it will handle all virtual tour transactions, battery charging, communication to the DJI Cloud and everything else.
To avoid crashes and maximize safety, the DJI Cloud will automatically take full control of the Phantom 4. This stops it from flying in a way that would prevent the obstacle avoidance system from working.
Additionally, there will be a new drone specifically designed for virtual sightseeing called Virtual Sphere. The Virtual Sphere is a new type of drone which holds 12 individual cameras to create a live 360 degree video sphere around you. In oder to take full advantage of the Virtual Sphere, you can use the Oculus Rift (or any similar head mounted display) along with a full body motion tracking suit and brain interface device.
With all of this technology, you’ll be able to explore the world as if you were inside a floating orb in the sky. To move, all you have to do is think of going forward and the Virtual Sphere will start moving forward. For an even more interactive experience, you can invite other users into your virtual sightseeing session. You can even 3D scan a photorealistic version of yourself into the Virtual Sphere so that users who join your session can interact as if you were both standing in the same Sphere together.
This Is An April Fools Joke Right?
Yes and no. DJI is not going to come out with a firmware update that turns the Phantom 4 into a personal aerial money making machine, but they have filed a number of interesting patents which clearly hint in the direction of real time virtual sightseeing. The most important one is actually called “System and method for enabling virtual sightseeing using unmanned aerial vehicles”. This patent covers in detail how a virtual sightseeing system would work.
Things that the patent mentions
- Managing multiple drones to individually or collectively create a virtual environment.
- Using different types of cellular communication such as 4G and future 5G networks.
- Brain interface devices, head mounted displays and full body tracking suits.
- Rooms for simulating environmental elements such as wind, temperature and humidity.
- Ways of seamlessly dealing with drones that crash or need recharging.
Although I don’t think that this is something we will see in the next year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were able to fly around in a Virtual Sphere by the year 2020. In any case, this is definitely something that would take drone flying to another level.