Piloting a drone with a GoPro attached, Ross Barringer captures an aerial view of the damage the Mission Bay 360 blaze wreaked upon the building at Fourth and China Basin.

Without a shadow of a doubt, drones have come a long way in recent years.

Currently, drone usage is protected under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations pertaining to recreational and hobby uses as long as the drone is under 55lbs.

As you can see from the clip above, commercial aerial surveillance can be enhanced via the use of drones.

Similarly, drones can also be used by filmmakers to gather footage thanks to their ability to maneuver into locations that cable-suspended cameras cannot reach.

While traditional aerial shots have classically been captured using helicopters, cranes, or other objects that could capture footage from an aerial point of view, drones can now be used for these purposes.

In the past, it has often been difficult to get certain angles because of the large size of the airborne object used to capture the video. Difficulty stabilizing the camera used in airborne objects was also common.

Since drones are small in size, it is easy to squeeze them into tight spaces and control the drone so that it can be used to capture unique and complex angles in full 4K video. Furthermore, by using drones, fluid movements can also be captured.

Moreover, drones used in filmmaking often contain a gimbal. This is a stabilizing device that keeps the camera horizontal no matter the motion used to capture video.

Ultimately, drones are not just used for filmmaking purposes though. Many private individuals, companies, farmers, small businesses, and so on have also started using drones. You can learn more about some of the different enterprises that make use of drone technology by checking out the DrDrone website.

To elaborate, nowadays, drones can carry sensing equipment to assist with geological surveying, agriculture, and archeology. Additionally, several other industries can benefit greatly from the myriad of sensors that can be packed into a drone.

Needless to say, the future for drones seems to be very exciting indeed.

Let us know your thoughts about drones in the comments below.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by d-b

    Great coverage! It seems to me that the developer cut corners by building this apartment house with wood instead of steel and concrete.

  2. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Actually the corner cut was to defer getting the sprinklers up and running. Had they been installed and charged when the fire broke out it would not have spread so quickly.

  3. Posted by AnonArch

    MoD, how in the world do you get the sprinklers “up and running” during the framing stage? The pipes do go up at certain points, but there are numerous issues and alterations during construction that do not allow the sprinkler system to be initiated to well into the duration of the project. If you were to fill and drain the pipes during each change and head adjustment there would be no water left at Hetch Hetchy!

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    AnonArch – You segment the sprinkler plumbing into under-construction and completed portions. The completed portions can be charged and active while the rest of the building is under construction. Periodically some under-construction segments are connected to the completed segment. During each “annexation” the system needs to be depressurized and you’re back to being vulnerable to a fire, but only for a short period of time.
    The extension of the completed and charged section of the sprinklers doesn’t need to be done every time a new floor panel is completed. It could be done once a month for example, not even wasting a swimming pool’s worth of water.
    On this 360 Mission case it looks like floors 1-7 were all framed. If the sprinklers were active on those floors they would have gone a long way towards preventing this fire from spreading so fast.

  5. Posted by sf

    A perfect metaphor for SF- looks fine on the outside, a complete mess on the inside.

  6. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Periodic sprinkler charging and system expansion would have wasted a heck of a lot less water than was sprayed to fight the fire…

  7. Posted by AnonArch

    Apologies, I did not know the entire building was all framed. MoD is correct if this was further along in construction than I was aware.

  8. Posted by Hill

    Tip to the noisy TV news choppers that tormented the neighborhood for hours and hours on Wednesday – save money and aggravation, get your sky shots with an inexpensive drone.

  9. Posted by Rillion

    Uh, we just had a thread about commercial uses for drones about a week ago. It had previously been banned but a judge ruled against the FAA’s ban. So while the news cannot yet use them, they may be able to in the future.

  10. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    The drone is super awesome. Lucky that the neighboring buildings are not affected.

  11. Posted by RobBob

    Also they make special refrigeration units to freeze water in pipe segments so that connections can be made live without the water being shut off. Alternatively to keep the entire existing section running you can weld a new pipe with a valve onto an existing pipe and then use a special drill with seal to drill through the old pipe inside the new pipe. Then while removing the drill you close the valve, adding a closed T to the existing connection. Then you can add in your new section of pipe and open the valve when the new section is complete.

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