For every drone owner, it's hard to forget this harrowing video, in which a YouTube user named Zwier Spanjer plunged into freezing water to catch his new Phantom drone after it lost power mid-flight and dropped from the sky.
Although his story has a happy ending, there are other drone owners who don't. Luckily, there's solution for them: introducing the Splash Drone.
It's a quadcopter encased in a waterproof shell that can safely land and float on water without being damaged. A GoPro camera can be mounted on a waterproof gimbal so the drone can take pictures or video when it's fully submerged, a feature that was specifically created for the drone.
The drone also comes equipped with splashy features, including the ability to plug in a transmitter to beam live video up to a mile away from the pilot. It can also zip around the pilot autonomously via an app from a presumably non-waterproof Android app.
Since the project launched on Kickstarter yesterday, it quickly tallied up more than $10,000 in donations—more than half of the $17,500 it requested. An encouraging sign for the small drone maker, considering that one figure pegs the failure rate of Kickstarters at 56 percent.
Its creator, Alex Rodriguez from drone-maker Urban Drones told Motherboard that he expects the drone to appeal to "everyone," especially Phantom owners like sad ole' Spanjer.
"What happens when the Phantom's battery goes low is that it stops and lands whenever," he said, referencing the viral video. "So, if you happen to be flying over the water and it loses power, you're done. You'll never see it again."
Not anymore, at least not with the Splash Drone. He said it's been in development for several years and was inspired by his boating and fishing friends in South Florida, where he lives.
"They told me it would be cool to have a drone that floats. And that's how it all came about."
"They told me it would be cool to have a drone that floats," Rodriguez said, who has built other drones before. "And that's how it all came about."
A search on Kickstarter for "drones" reveals several dozen flying robots looking for funding. The Splash Drone is different, Rodriguez claims, in that the custom-built drone has been in testing for months now and is ready for mass production.
"There are other drones on Kickstarter that have been successful, but a lot of them are having issues," he told us. "That's normal for a new product, but I think the reason they're having issues is because they went to Kickstarter too soon."
He expects the Splash Drone to start delivery in mid-June with the donations pushing the drone into production. The retail price will be $1,199 a pledge of just $799 will get you one for cheaper.