In wakeboarding, athletes ride on a short surfboard and do stunts while holding a rope towed by a motorboat. Now instead of a motorboat on water, imagine a drone towing a snowboarder on land.
An inventive father did exactly that. He decked out his kid in full snowboarding gear and tethered him to a cable attached to a large drone, letting the machine pull his son down a snowy path.
The world's first and youngest droneboarder just made his debut on YouTube, so the sport is still in its infancy and is slow to take off. In the video, the child (who can't be a lot older than eight years old) barely slides along at a walking pace. If it were his father at the end of the cable, the drone may not have been able to move at all.
And that's the thing. Consumer drones just aren't powerful enough to pull even a small human being across a freshly powdered street at a speed faster than a brisk walk. The concept, nonetheless, is a viable one.
There are fire-fighting drones, racing drones, heavy-lifting drones, and even passenger drones but this is one of the first few (if not the first) cases in which a drone is used as a form of propulsion. It's an interesting proposition, but it's still just a bit too ahead of its time.
The drone in the video, however, probably didn't last for more than one, slow trip down the snowy street the kid lives on. Going back up the street? That might call for another charge at home, otherwise the kid might tear up the street.
So until drones become more powerful with longer-lasting batteries, droneboarding as a sport might just be restricted to kids under a certain weight limit. Heavier folks on the end of the rope might just need a team of drones pulling them across some snow or water.
But then again, having a team of drones, like a team of Siberian huskies, isn't a bad idea either. Now all we have to do is wait for someone to pull it off and then post a video of the feat.