World famous camera company Canon is making the jump into the drone world! Last September the Japanese camera maker partnered with Prodrone Co. to produce a drone that will be branded under the Canon name and be equipped with Canon cameras.
This week Canon started to show off their new PD6E2000-AW-CJ1 drone (please change the name Canon, please!) on their Japanese website. The drone is supposedly designed for search and rescue operations and is equipped with Canon’s high-end ME20F-SH camera.
There is no official announcement on when the drone will be available for sale, but the rumors suggest that when it does it will be in the $20,000-$40,000 price range…ouch!
Canon is the latest camera maker that is taking a stab at drones and they better hope they learn from the mistakes of companies like GoPro. According to reports, Canon hopes to sell $4.5 million worth of drones by 2020.
Search and rescue officials in British Columbia, Canada recently used a drone to locate lost skiers near the Sun Peaks Ski Resort. The skiers were lost for nine hours before the drone team from the nearby city of Kamloops could arrived and find them.
The drone was equipped with a infrared FLIR camera which made it possible to located the skiers using their thermal signature. FLIR infrared cameras are now small enough and cheap enough to use on a quadcopters and can help in everything from search and rescue operations to firefighting.
This is another example of the positive impact drones can have, which sort of makes up for the actions of really stupid and inexperienced drone pilots.
A recent example being the drone pilot who flew over the skijoring race (where a horse pulls a person on skis) in Silverton, Colorado. The drone flew too close to a horse and spooked it. The horse then subsequently ran into a group of people, injuring three and sending two to the hospital. Local police said they would ticket the drone pilot, but the pilot was not identified.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced on January 12th that they will begin to use drones to responding to arson scenes, suspected bombs and hostage situations.
According to the LA Times, during the press conference to announce the use of the drones, the Sheriff’s Department reiterated numerous times that the drones will not be used to to spy on people and refused to call it a drone.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said, “The dangers of law enforcement can never be eliminated. However, this technology can assist us in reducing the impact of risks on personnel.”