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WaterStrider—Make Confident Takeoffs & Landings Anywhere

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Adam Morrison, May 18, 2016.

  1. Adam Morrison

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    Greetings to the Phantom Pilots community!

    My name is Adam Morrison, and I'm one of the co-founders of DroneRafts LLC. I wanted to introduce you all to our new and exciting product called WaterStrider. Since the early fall of last year, our team has been totally dedicated to developing and bringing to market an accessory for the DJI Phantom that allows effortless takeoffs and landings anywhere you want to go with your drone. This includes water, sand, snow, mud, deep grass, sloped surfaces and many other situations where you might find yourself.


    As we immersed ourselves over the past few years in the industry, there are several operational issues that we've struggled with and that other drone owners we have interviewed have also struggled with. Many of these issues revolve around easing takeoffs and landings in areas that are absolutely beautiful for filming and photos but are not very friendly for takeoffs and landings. Operating in these situations frequently result in expensive camera damage or at least the inconvenience and expense of tip-over and propeller breakage. On top of all of this, the frequency of people losing their Phantoms in water while filming above and around water is truly staggering. Then there is the dangerous practice of hand launching and catching, which seems just fine until there is an inevitable mistake.

    So, we set out to solve these problems with a fully engineered, lightweight and durable product that has a minimal impact to the actual job of taking aerial photos and video. We believe that the WaterStrider provides an awesome, balanced approach to solving these problems while providing massive added stability and protection to the drone and camera.

    Current Status

    We have already started low rate production of the WaterStrider. The product design and testing as well as our manufacturing and production processes are all worked out and validated. Our team is really experienced in product development, supply chain, and manufacturing. We didn't 'go live' with this product until we knew everything was ready.

    Two weeks ago, we also did a public debut with four WaterStriders at AUVSI XPONENTIAL in New Orleans. This is one of the largest drone and UAS conferences in the world and thousands of people attend. We were able to get the WaterStrider into the hands of real Phantom users (other than ourselves) and demonstrate the product flying and landing on gravel and sloped surfaces in the demonstration area. The overall response to the product was fantastic. Here is a quick video compilation from the show.



    We're currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the additional funds necessary for the more durable tooling needed for full-rate production. With a successful campaign, deliveries of WaterStrider will start next month (June 2016). You can learn a lot more about the product and our experienced team by reviewing the full campaign page and video at the following link.

    WaterStrider: Perfect Footage. Confident Landings. Anywhere.

    Our Kickstarter campaign ends in 12 days on May 30th. It is our intent to deliver WaterStrider to all backers of the campaign before starting deliveries through other channels. It will take through at least July to complete these deliveries depending on the number of backers at the end of the campaign. This is the quickest way to get the product in your hands and onto your Phantom this summer.

    A Few Common Questions

    Our website and the Kickstarter page already address a number of common questions, but I'll post just a couple of the most common ones here.

    What Phantom Models Does It Work With?
    Presently, we're fully validated on the Phantom 3 (all variants) and the Phantom 4.

    Flight Time Reduction
    In an indoor, side-by-side test we see approximately 30% reduction in flight time. We know how to make this impact less, but it requires a trade-off on the incredible durability and performance of the current product. We believe we've found a really nice balance of protection/durability, effortless takeoffs and landings, and flight time/handling.

    With all of this said, in real-life flying situations we've found that in some cases we can increase our useful filming time by landing some distance away to 'rest' and save batteries (instead of hovering) while waiting for the situation to be perfect for filming. This can even be done on water! For example, with the stock drone we would never consider landing 200 yards away where you can't see the landing surface close-up, but its a regular occurrence in our flying with WaterStrider. In addition, we spend less time thinking about and setting up takeoffs and landings. You just set it on the ground or in the water and take off. When you want to land, you just land. This all saves a lot of time finding a landing spot or dragging out a landing pad or flying back and forth for landings.

    Stability in Wind
    We've recently posted a video on YouTube and our Kickstarter page showing operations with WaterStrider on the P3 and P4 in winds gusting to 31 mph. We recommend a wind limitation of 17-23 mph for the P3 and 23-28 mph for the more powerful P4. Check out the video!



    How do I Know it Will Work?
    We're confident that the WaterStrider will do what it was designed to do. To alleviate any concerns about this (we totally understand that we're a new product and company), we've included a guarantee to our Kickstarter campaign backers. If you're not happy with the product, return it to us within 30 days and we'll refund your pledge.


    We're working hard to get the word out about the WaterStrider. This is an incredible forum with incredible content with experienced Phantom users. We're excited to be introducing the product to you!

    Finally, we're happy to answer any questions and dialog with you on this thread about the product. I understand that this post may not have answered all of your questions. Check out the Kickstarter video and page and then post any questions or comments you have here. And if you're excited about the product, let use know that as well and consider backing the campaign.

    Sincerely and respectfully,

    Adam
    Co-Founder; Head of Engineering & Technology

    Kickstarter Campaign Page
    DroneRafts Web Site
    DroneRafts YouTube Channel
     
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  2. bernek

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    Good luck ! Great product idea :) I don't fly over any water so I won't be needing it but who flies at the beach or over lakes / rivers its a great insurance call !

    I would like to see some stability on lakes/rivers maybe even the sea.

    If its too windy you shouldn't fly anyway.
     
  3. Adam Morrison

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    @bernek Thanks for the good words! In case you didn't have a chance to see it in the videos, the WaterStrider adds a lot of stability, camera protection, and added flexibility away from the water as well. It works really well in deep grass, sand, gravel/rocks, and mud, snow, and other similar situations. There is a carbon fiber tube running right under the camera gimbal as well, which provides additional protection for ground obstructions.

    I definitely agree on the 'too windy' comment. Neither the P3 or P4 is much fun in winds gusting to 31 mph.
     
  4. seeyalater

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    Looks like a good solution for when flying over open water. I already lost a P3P in the drink and this would have saved me a grand.
     
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  5. DAVEJF

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    Looks interesting. I'm thinking there may be a problem with such extended undercarriage popping up uninvited in camera/video shots
     
  6. pakar

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    One question and forgive me for my bad English.
    If the drone is 100ft high and one of 4 motors stop or broke, the drone will fall. How it will land? On waterstrider or random?
    Has the waterstrider the ability in free fall to turn it from upside down?

    T@p@t@lk
     
  7. Adam Morrison

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    Great question! For the vast majority of shots that you care about, the landing pods do not appear in the image. In the main Kickstarter video, almost all of the footage shown was taken from a Phantom 3 equipped with WaterStrider. It is possible to get the landing pods into the side of the image during more aggressive maneuvers such as rapid changes in rotation. This is similar to the situation when flying fast and the propellers get into the top of the image.

    If you watch the windy day video closely, we highlight a moment in the video where the pod very briefly sneaks into the edge of the shot.

    Unless you are filming while doing heavy maneuvers, the shots will stay clear of the Field of View of the camera while equipped with WaterStrider.

    Adam
     
  8. Adam Morrison

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    Absolutely! We have been astonished at how many times we've heard stories just like yours. At the AUVSI show I spoke with a gentleman who lost three of them in the water in one long weekend!
     
  9. Adam Morrison

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    Here is our latest fun video showing a variety of takeoffs and landings with WaterStrider from water and other difficult terrain. The campaign ends on Monday, so time is running short to get a WaterStrider from our production runs in June and July (June is already full)!

    The campaign page link is in my signature below.

     
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  10. dflyguy

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    Thank you for this creative and simple solution for water & uneven terrain takeoff and landings. I wish I'd heard about this before the kickstarted finished. I would like to know when the pre-orders start. And BTW, what's the price for this device?
     
  11. Adam Morrison

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    Thank you for the kind words. We plan to start taking pre-orders (and hopefully direct orders) soon. If you would like to be notified when this starts, please go to the following page on our website and enter your information. You'll get added to our list and we'll let you know just as soon as we start taking orders again.

    Buy -- DroneRafts

    If you have any questions, just let me know.
     
  12. Bleedin Iris Photog

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    Your site is stupid.
    BUY
    **offending content removed**
    Just saying bad Web design and marketing
     
    #12 Bleedin Iris Photog, Jun 14, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2016
  13. Adam Morrison

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    All Kickstarter WaterStriders Have Shipped!

    Today we are happy to announce success with the deliveries for our Kickstarter campaign! In just over 3 months from the completion of the campaign, we have shipped every WaterStrider due as part of our Kickstarter campaign. Thank you to everyone who has helped make WaterStrider a reality!

    Finishing the Kickstarter deliveries is a key launch milestone for us. Going forward, we are actively working on setting up our online store. If you are interested in a WaterStrider, sign up for our Pre-Order list at www.dronerafts.com/buy to be notified when the store is online!

    This project has been a challenge (as we expected from our previous experience with other successful businesses), but we've learned a lot and greatly refined our production and manufacturing processes to be able to deliver in larger volumes. Our Pre-Order notification list is growing rapidly and we're getting lots of inquiries about the WaterStrider which tells us that the interest is very strong.

    We are up to the challenge!

    2ea20f9713d88d6dbc589f0fd69d493f_original.jpg
    WS_brackets.png


    Here are some other interesting points:
    • The WaterStrider works with the exact same hardware on both the P3 and P4. This was a big design challenge, but we made it work and it's really slick!
    • We have beat our original weight targets on the final production design! Careful engineering and testing has allowed us to remove 27% of the mass from our final prototype units. This translates to even better handling and better flight times with a WaterStrider that is just as strong. The picture below shows a production WaterStrider carrying 8X the mass of a Phantom 3 or Phantom 4 with no damage at all.
      [​IMG]
    • We are in the middle of open ocean water testing and so far everything is going really well. As with calmer fresh water, the camera and drone have stayed dry. Flying off of the ocean is just plain fun!
    • We have had a number of comments from Kickstarter backers expressing their thanks for actually delivering on our promises. Our team has a lot of experience in product development and manufacturing of far more complicated products, so we understood what we were getting into. The WaterStrider is a unique challenge, but we were confident that we would deliver. We are also confident that we will deliver to our customers when we go live with our website store.
    We're excited to get the WaterStrider out to anyone who wants or needs one and soon that will be a reality.

    Let me know if you have any questions.
     
    #13 Adam Morrison, Sep 10, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  14. GB71

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    You may be right but do you have to be a dick about it?


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
     
  15. dmagnus

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    Trying to watch the ocean footage and it says I don't have permission to view the contents of that album...
     
  16. Adam Morrison

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    The ocean photo is not a video, but rather just a still photograph that we took while testing. We are getting a cool video together, but we haven't quite finished it yet.
     
  17. Adam Morrison

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    The WaterStrider Store is Live! Order your WaterStrider today!

    Our launch price is $139 with all four pods white and $159 if you prefer the high visibility model with bright red front pods. We're currently shipping anywhere in the world and we've already shipped to over a dozen countries.

    DroneRafts.com
    Buy WaterStrider

    Since my last post we have finished all of our Kickstarter deliveries and released the new website with the online store. We have also been busy doing more exploration of WaterStrider's capabilities. Check out some of the new content below.

    For those of you who are interested in seeing the WaterStrider in action on the ocean, check out the video below from when we completed our sea trials.



    Also check out our new WaterStrider - Expanded Horizons for DJI Phantom video that shows some fresh footage and capabilities.



    If you have any questions, let me know!
     
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  18. Adam Morrison

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    WaterStrider is on sale with free shipping in the United States!

    We're running a holiday special on our website. Get your WaterStrider with free shipping in the United States for as low as $99.

    DroneRafts.com
    Buy WaterStrider
     
  19. intrepidcruiser

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    Wow dude, pretty harsh. The site is pretty cool, it's clean and simple with clear content and videos, and marketing seems spot on, "Drone Anywhere" is a good slogan since it looks like it can help you luanch from uneven surfaces and water, maybe you should navigate through all the pages again.
    Home
     
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  20. Sfgiants24

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    I'd give $50, not $150. No thanks.


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