Just when you think you’ve seen everything, right?
We’ve seen drones be used for a number of interesting applications including, but not limited to, delivering packages, deterring poachers in vast animal reserves, and even for target practice. However, this is the first usage of a drone as a way to walk pets.
While on the surface, I really want to laugh this off as the technologically-advanced version of someone walking the dog by holding a leash out the window of the car. However, given the amount of dogs that sit at home for eight hours a day while the owner is at work or otherwise occupied, it could be decent solution to letting your dog out while you’re not home. The other big usage would be people with mobility issues that are physically unable to take the dog out. Obviously, people will use it instead of taking a walk with the family dog, but let’s think positively.
The creator — or really the first guy to figure out how this might work — offered up a video of how the process might work. First, the owner would program in a route for the AR drone using a Google Maps-type program. The drone is then attached to the dog’s leash and the walk commences. It flies just above the dog during the walk, so occasionally it “checks” to make sure the pet is there and safe. One issue that’s not addressed is what happens when the dog sees a squirrel or something interesting and takes off after it. This also seems completely useless unless your dog is the most placid, well-behaved dog in the history of dogs. I have not had the pleasure of owning a dog like that, but I hold out hope.
There is a really interesting application here, but it’s pretty limited. Don’t forget, this is just one guy’s idea, not anything you can currently purchase. You still have to attach the leash to the dog, which limits the ability to use it remotely, and the drone would have to be smart enough to recognize things like cars or other obstacles. If I was the owner, I would also want to see a live-feed of the dog's walk, though it appears in this version you can at least see where the dog/drone is located.
For the record, if this would allow me to have a dog in my apartment in a way that I was comfortable with the dog's safety, I would totally purchase one. I think it has potential, but it needs a few add-ons. This is assuming, of course, that the FAA continues to ignore violations of drone laws. So, sadly, for now it's boring old human dog walkers for me.