Capable nano drone flies under the FAA’s radar

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nano drone

Photo: ONAGOfly

The ONAGOfly is a quadcopter like all the rest – four props and an onboard camera that records video at heights once the domain of TV news choppers.

But you don’t need to stand back to launch the ONAGOfly – not when the palm of your hand will do for a launch pad.

The size of a small bird, the ONAGOfly manages to carry a powerful payload, mainly a 15-megapixel camera that captures 1080p HD video at 30 frames a second. There is also “obstacle avoidance” sensors to minimize running it into walls, trees or anything that could send the nano drone plummeting to the ground.

One of its most attractive features may be what it doesn’t carry – a lot of weight. The ONAGOfly weighs about three-tenths of a pound, light enough for it to be exempt from a new Federal Aviation Administration law that requires drone pilots to register their aircraft.

The little drone that carries a big camera.
The little drone that carries a big camera.
Photo: ONAGOfly

No matter what features stand out to consumers, the ONAGOfly managed to raise nearly $600,000, or 400 percent of is goal on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo with 21 days remaining in the campaign. Early backers could pre-order one for $199 and have it shipped as early as February.

More than 1.6 million drone aircraft are expected to sell this year and the FAA, fearing unsafe flying of drones are a risk to manned aircraft, is requiring aircraft weighing in at a minimum of half of a pound be registered.

ONAGOfly travels below that radar. Your smartphone and a companion app let you control the nano drone, as well as syncing photos and videos and setting it to auto-follow its pilot. Don’t have a selfie stick? The ONAGOfly will hover and use “smile detection” to capture selfies.

It will stay in the air for a full 15 minutes on one charge.

ONAGOfly will make a more public debut next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.