LA100 fully autonomous UAV brings aerial photography to non-flyers
The LA100 is designed to carry a GoPro HERO3 for capturing aerial images
Micro UAVs have proven a boon for photographers looking to spread their wings into the aerial realm. Similarly, wearable actioncams, like the GoPro line, have enabled amateurs to capture professional quality images and video from angles hitherto the province of seasoned professionals with expensive equipment. France’s Lehmann Aviation is bringing these two technologies together with the LA100, a fully automatic UAV designed specifically to carry a GoPro HERO3 camera.
Like the Swinglet CAM UAV, the LA100 follows a pre-programmed flight path, but unlike the Swinglet, the LA100's flight path can't be customized or overridden by remote control. This is because the aircraft is targeted specifically at users with no piloting background. After a few minutes of capturing footage from a height of 80 to 100 meters (262 – 328 ft) with no input from the user on the ground, the hand-launched LA100 returns to the launch site for a horizontal landing.
With the ability to fly at speeds of 20 to 80 km/h (12 – 50 mph) for periods of up to five minutes, the LA100 has a range of up to 0.5 km (0.3 miles). It can also fly in winds of up to 45 km/h (28 mph) and in temperatures from -25° C to 60° C (-13° F to 140° F). The UAV has a wingspan of 92 cm (36 in) and length of 45 cm (18 in). Made mostly of foam and carbon fiber, the LA100 weighs around 850 g (30 oz), including a mounted GoPro camera.
A camera can be mounted on top of the wing to capture oblique images or at the bottom of the wing for vertical images. It can also fly with two GoPros on board at the same time. However, buyers will have to supply their GoPros as they aren't included in the purchase price.
The LA100 is priced at €990 (US$1,275) and will come ready to fly from December, 2012. Lehmann Aviation says it plans to roll out hardware and software upgrades for the LA100 on a regular basis.
The video below shows the LA100 and some of the aerial images captured with it.
Source: Lehmann Aviation
About the Author
Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.
All articles by Darren Quick
Now it looks like UAV's come within reach of whoever wants one, 990 euro's is something an amateur into aerial photography would spend to get decent shots, consistently.
But, what happens when I get to Versailles, or any other touristic hotspot and launch my UAV, together with dozens of others? Authorities will not be very happy with skies buzzing with UAV's, if only for security's sake.
It will be interesting to see what happens, probably their first reaction will be to prohibit private UAV's outright above cities, near airports and above crowded locations. Then, on a trial basis issue permits to fly to selected, trusted individuals, after having researched the issue. As we know, officialdom does not move quickly, so expect to wait a bit before you can get your personal Versailles aerial. Or act quick before the world gets into UAV's.
I like where this is going. Cool stuff.
Why was there no video from the GoPro shown?
This thing must have horrible aerodynamics with a big flat camera in the slipstream. Why not mount a small camera on the underbelly with a two axis positioning control and link it to an iPhone. There was a great article in a recent issue of Wired regarding autonomous drones. You don't have to spend $1300 to acquire one these days.
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