TechCrunch went skiing with a drone
Because of its impeccable safety record, Cape is currently the only FAA-approved company that’s allowed to fly drones close to people in locations other than a closed set. Yet the opportunity is still highly regulated.
Select ski areas let Cape Productions film skiers, but only in areas away from crowds because the drone still has to stay at least 500 feet from anybody who is not directly participating in filming the video. There is an exception, though: Cape can fly drones within 500 feet of people who are not participating only if there are barriers or structures that would protect them from a malfunctioning drone.
The Cape crew uses DJI drones (an Inspire 1, in this case), which they have programmed using their own proprietary software. The drones are programmed to stay away from obstacles and follow skiers on their paths. They are not allowed to fly directly over a skier’s head.
Cape works with Olympians and says its footage helped Lindsey Vonn pinpoint what caused her injury. They have also captured mountain biking and other action sports.
Launched last year, Cape has already received $10 million in venture capital from New Enterprise Associates, The Commercial Drone Fund and others.
In the video above, I’m in the purple pants and producer Felicia Williams is on the snowboard.