Not one for the self-conscious, Ghostdrone 2.0 VR from EHang adds a new twist to flying a UAV around. Rather than using a traditional controller, to fly the Ghostdrone VR, the user dons a headset to get a point-of-view perspective of what the drone is seeing.
The drone is controlled by gestures, touch commands and tilting of a smartphone, while the camera is controlled by the headset. If you manage to fly it into a tree, no worries: The company promises to repair your drone free of charge for a year while you figure out how to avoid running into stuff.
Drone flying 101
“Flying a drone is too difficult,” says Matthias Hagedorn, the company’s European marketing director. “We wanted to make things both easier and more fun. Ghostdrone 2.0 is a new way to experience drone flying.”
After raising a solid Series A in 2014, followed by an even bigger Series B about a year ago, the company launched its Ghostdrone 2.0 product in the U.S. earlier this year and has since expanded distribution to Germany and the rest of Europe.Eschewing the traditional controllers is but one step along the journey for beginners. The company claims that its smartphone-based control combined with a pair of VR goggles is a much more natural way to fly. For nervous pilots, the control app includes a tutorial, too, so you know what to expect as you’re hovering above God’s green earth.
Cleverly, while the smartphone is used to control the drone itself, the headset is used to control the camera. Look up and down to tilt the camera up and down — elegant!
The second part of the n00b pilot introduction program is that the drone is un-groundable. Not because it’s indestructible (no drone is), but because if you do manage to smash it into something, EHang has a one-year no-hassle warranty. Free repairs all around (up to a maximum of three times), regardless if the damage is caused by the drone or the pilot malfunctioning.
It isn’t just about hovering about for fun, either. The drone can record 4K video as you’re cruising around for up to 25 minutes at a time. The flight time is monitored, of course, and if a pilot gets close to the limit, visual and audio cues will remind them to place the flying machine carefully on the ground.
The drones can be bought in various shops or direct from the manufacturer. In Europe, the Ghostdrone 2.0 VR retails at €989. In the U.S., it is adorned with a $1,100 price tag.