Home Health Parents News Now Dad's Flying Drone Gives New Meaning to 'Helicopter Parenting' Dad's Flying Drone Gives New Meaning to 'Helicopter Parenting' By Holly Lebowitz Rossi December 02, 2012 Advertisement Save Pin FB ellipsis More Tweet Mail Email iphone Send Text Message Print Comment helicopter 30049 "It's those Vermont winters that provided motivation for the project. "If I am walking my kid to the bus stop in December and January, I would really rather not be doing that," Wallich told NBC News. The drone is a quadcopter that he built from store-bought parts. He strapped on a smartphone with a video-chat app so that he could watch his son from the comfort of his warm home. The trick was to get the drone to follow his son. After exploring a few possibilities, Wallich put a GPS beacon in his son's backpack, and employed navigation software that tells the drone to stay an arbitrary distance from the beacon. It worked ... up to a point. "Vermont, as it turns out, is a really bad place for doing this kind of thing because you have hills and you have trees," Wallich said. "Hills mean that the altitude control gets a lot more complicated and trees mean you have to do obstacle avoidance. "If my kid is walking along the road and there is a branch overhanging the road, the quadcopter will gleefully run smack into it." There are potential fixes, such as sonar for collision control. By flying the quadcopter closer to his son — about 15 feet off the ground — he could program it to maintain altitude with respect to the ground instead of following GPS coordinates." Drone photo by Paul Wallich, via NBC News By Holly Lebowitz Rossi Save Pin FB ellipsis More Tweet Mail Email iphone Send Text Message Print Comment Comments Add a Comment Be the first to comment! Advertisement Close this dialog window Add a comment Dad's Flying Drone Gives New Meaning to 'Helicopter Parenting' Add your comment... Cancel Submit Success! Thanks for adding your feedback.