Friday, December 25, 2015

Twitter envisions drones controlled by your tweets

Twitter envisions drones controlled by your tweets


A drone may one day deliver your selfies to Twitter.

The San Francisco-based company was granted a patent last week for an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, for capturing photos and videos that can then be shared through users' accounts on the microblogging network. The drone's movements would be controlled by Twitter users' likes, tweets and replies, determining what images were recorded.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC: "Two words: drone selfies."

Drones, most often camera-equipped quadcopters with four computer-controlled rotors that keep them aloft, are hot items as consumers snap them up and businesses seek to put them to use. More than 400,000 drones are expected to be purchased this holiday season, according to Michael Huerta, administrator with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Companies such as Amazon, Google and Walmart are also looking at the devices as a way to get a jump on the competition with speedier package delivery. Google has said it plans to begin drone deliveries by 2017, while last month Amazon showed off a new prototype drone it hopes to use to deliver small packages to customers in less than 30 minutes. Following Amazon and Google's lead, Walmart sought permission in October from the FAA to test its own drones to deliver merchandise.


As interest in drones has exploded over the past few years, the FAA has wrestled with how to regulate commercial drone use. The FAA in February proposed regulations that would allow drones to fly during daylight hours and within the operator's line of site.

The rules, which the FAA expects to finish writing by mid-2016, don't yet accommodate more radical drone ideas such as Twitter's. That said, there's no guarantee Twitter will actually use the technology described in the patent.

New rules for hobbyist drone pilots have already kicked in. On Monday, the FAA began requiring consumers to register their drones.

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