Drones have been utilized by police in the past to monitor large crowds of protestors but this might be the first time a drone has been used by protestors to monitor the police. Tim Pool has modified a Parrot AR Drone to provide a live feed of Occupy Wall Street from above, offering an angle unique from all the other Occupy live feeds already providing footage of the protests across the globe.
The Parrot AR Drone is a fairly inexpensive quadracopter which can be piloted via smartphone or iPad. Its built-in video camera and $300 price tag make it a pretty accessible tool for protestors, no matter what the cause.
According to The Guardian, Pool is attempting to make it so multiple people in a crowd can assume control of the drone, just in case the pilot gets busted by the police. He also hopes to create a 3G controller to allow people to pilot the drone remotely.
As the line between advanced surveillance drone and remote control toy blur, we can probably expect to see a lot more amateurs fiddling with drones like this in the future. Indie filmmakers are already using drones to get stunning aerial shots that previously would have required expensive permits and equipment rentals.
The overwhelming amount of video footage of the Occupy protests—including that of the UC Davis pepper spraying incident—has mainly been enabled by technology like YouTube and smartphone cameras, tools that protestors in past decades never had access to. Now we can start expecting wide, sky-high shots of the drama as well.
[via The Guardian]