After a lengthy Kickstarter campaign, Helico Aerospace Industries have finally reached their $300,000 goal for their AirDog ADII drone. However, the thing is – there are only 256 backers who pledged slightly over the required amount (if we are to be more precise, $3,588 more). This leads me to assume that AirDog ADII might not be as popular as most people think. Still, that doesn’t have to be true, it’s just an assumption…
Even if it goes that way, the truth is – this drone is not intended for beginners but instead for more experienced users… as well as those who enjoy extreme outdoor activities. Obviously, this crumbles a good portion of potential drone buyers… but considering AirDog ADII is going to be priced at $1,500 (and as far as I can tell, it’s worth every penny), it’s safe to say the profit will not be scarce.
Where can I buy AirDog ADII?
At the time of writing this article, AirDog ADII is still available for preorder on the official Kickstarter campaign. This means you’ll not only receive it faster but you will also pay much less for it. More precisely, by preordering it on Kickstarter you will pay $1,099; by purchasing it once the campaign is done and dealt with, you will have to dash out roughly $1,500. The latter will also push the delivery time by more than a few months. We’re talking somewhere near the end of 2017, probably during the Holidays season.
If you’re wondering about the distribution channels for this drone after the end of its Kickstarter campaign, there is nothing to worry about. Since it has raised a lot of money, I’m sure it will be available from plenty of places. Of course, Amazon is most likely to be the first major distribution channel just like it was the case with the original model when it was first released.
AirDog ADII Overview
Now that you know where and how to buy it, it’s time to take a closer look at this interesting new drone to see what’s it all about. Obviously, the shipping hasn’t started just yet (first copies will be shipped out in a few weeks or so, for early-bird backers on Kickstarter) which means I haven’t received it and thus cannot make a thorough review on it. Despite that, I’ll do my best with the presented information and specifications to hopefully deliver useful insight about this seemingly outstanding drone!
The first thing that needs to be said about the design of this beast is its foldable structure. All 4 “arms” are foldable and you’ll have an easy access for removing the props as well. This is, of course, extremely handy since it easily fits into backpacks. Second thing, while the shape and design are pretty much identical to the original, color schematic is not. AirDog ADII features white and purple fashion while its predecessor sports purple and yellow. Honestly speaking, ADII looks much better just because of this. The original is, at least in my opinion, too colorful to be taken seriously. As a matter of fact, most of my colleagues thought it was a toy drone until I told them the real story.
This time around, AirDog ARII incorporates a brand new gimbal with full support for the all new GoPro Hero 5. As far as I could tell, the clip-on mechanism is pretty much identical to that on GoPro Karma. Obviously, GoPro Hero 5 is an excellent camera and is bound to produce exceptional aerial footage of your favorite outdoor activities. Even more so if you take into consideration extraordinary tracking systems that are in place here.
It’s true! AirDog ADII takes tracking very seriously. I’ve already did my fair share of research and can confirm this birdie’s tracking is superior to DJI’s ActiveTrack… currently the best tracking system out there. Still, ActiveTrack relies on data from its camera to effectively track an object. While this is good for cinematography, it does not do well with fast-paced action which is a common occurrence with extreme outdoor sports. That’s where AirDog kicks in with its comprehensive sensor system that, together with GPS and AirLeash (more about this down below)
For those of you who are not familiar with the original AirDog (also referred to as AirDog 1st Gen), this little birdie does not come with a controller. Actually, I should rephrase that. AirDog ADII does not come with a classical controller. Instead, due to its autonomous flight regime, you are going to control it by a sporty device called AirLeash (AirDog and AirLeash… Get it?). It is 100% waterproof meaning you can dive into your water adventures without having to worry about AirLeash. Plus, it has kept the small screen that you’ll use for navigating through its various flight features.
I almost forgot to mention that AirDog ADII is a fully autonomous drone. Once you set it off in the air, all you have to do is select one of many smart flight/record modes and you will be good to go. They include the ever so popular Auto Return To Home, AirLeash tracking, customizable flight paths and several cinematic modes such as circle around, panorama, look away and much more…
Needless to say, these features are all selectable solely with the help of AirLeash. It has a highly intuitive control schematic and you’ll learn the basics in no time. Come to think of it, the motto Future is Hands-Free isn’t there for nothing!
Even though I could not find any information about its battery and motors, I doubt they will be much different from the original. However, information about the operating range, speed and airtime have been released some time ago. In terms of airtime, you’re looking at roughly 15 minutes with the camera recording all the time.
Range, on the other hand, has been significantly reduced from the original, presumably to increase autonomous tracking systems which tend to cause errors when facing longer ranges. As a matter of fact, I think the 150m range might be software-limited… but I guess we’ll have to wait until it’s shipped to confirm whether that’s true or not… While mere 150m might seem short at first, you need to remember this is not an exploration drone. Its main use is to record its user’s outdoor activities and sports. It’s as simple as that!
Another thing I’d like to point out is wind resistance. Since we are talking about a highly powerful drone here, it’s not surprising that it has great wind resistance as well. The precise information aren’t familiar, but I’ve seen this thing flying on YouTube during strong winds and it didn’t even flinch… Lastly, AirDog ADII is quite the speedy devil with roughly 44mph or 70km/h. Obviously, such a speed will suffice for even the most extreme of sports which just confirms my statement above.
So, with everything that has been said above, I believe it is time to say a few conclusive words. For starters, I would like to make one thing clear – AirDog ADII, just like its predecessor, isn’t for everyone. This is not a typical drone by any means. It’s a sophisticated aerial platform focused solely on outdoor sports. Mountain biking, windsurfing, or just plain old cycling… if you’re into anything like this, then one thing is for sure – AirDog ADII is meant for you!