The startup Cape calls itself “the world’s first online drone flight platform,” and they do exactly as the name implies: Cape lets you fly a real drone, in a real-world location, without ever leaving the comfort of your desk chair.
Sign up for the company’s public beta, and soon you’ll be invited to launch one of Cape’s drones placed all over California. Once you’re in, use your computer, tablet, or smartphone to launch and fly the thing—no pesky FAA certificate required, no worries about crashing an expensive investment, and (apparently) almost no lag between the controls and the drone.
We haven’t gotten access to the public beta just yet *shakes fist in the air*, but DPReview has and the setup seems pretty simple.
You simply pick an available DJI Inspire 1 along the coast or in the desert of California—each location is active at different times and days—read over the controls really quick, and hit enter to automatically take off. Once you’re in the air, you’ll be automatically fenced into a safe zone, kept at a legal altitude, and otherwise prevented from having too much fun at the expense of Cape’s fleet, but otherwise you’re free to fly around to your hearts’ content.
As a bonus, you never know what you’ll find. Cape posted this picture of a “buried Stealth Bomber” on their Facebook page in December. Apparently a user just stumbled across it:
Honestly, the technology sounds really cool—flight simulator meets real life in an unprecedented way, made possible by the ubiquity and affordability of drone, and the speed of your broadband connection. Learn to frame great drone shots, scout parts of California you’ve been thinking of photographing, or just take a joy ride—it’s up to you.
To learn more about Cape or sign up to try it for yourself, click here.
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