Flying high with the Falcon 8

Twitter - anthill droneAny news-worthy site will feature some kind of blog or news article which documents the rise of the drone. Everyone is writing about these odd-looking spider machines – in fact, doing a ‘drone’ search in Google brings up 136,000,000 search results which to put into context is more than David Beckham (98,900,000 results) or the term ‘Rugby World Cup’ (185,000,000 results).

Drones featured prominently at this year’s CES Exhibition in Las Vegas with industry leaders showing off new prototypes as well as new-players trying to get heard above the noise.  We saw the world’s first human-carrying drone (, Intel showcased their intelligent drone with Real Sense tech and despite quite a few teething problems such as battery life and privacy issues, 2016 is primed to be a busy year for the drone.

Last Friday we visited Miles Venni, Founder of Anthill Drones based in Cambridgeshire.  Anthill Drones provides innovative aerial imagery and cinematography using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Miles has a fairly substantial DJI S1000 drone which he uses for photography and cinematography – he can get amazing pictures and video for filming and housing type works.  He also has a AscTec Falcon 8 which we were able to get up close to and fly in the peaceful Abington countryside perfectly situated just outside of Stansted Airport’s airpsace.

Miles is clearly passionate about drones and the surveying projects he carries out for his clients (mainly agriculture related). His knowledge of the technology involved and his tenacious views regarding drone regulation makes him a perfect candidate to champion local drone projects. I asked him about his plans for the future and what he thinks 2016 might hold for the drone:

My plans for anthill are to continue growing my client base and get the Anthill name out there more. I hope to expand more into the inspection and surveying sectors.  I think 2016 is going to be quite an exciting year for drones, if you look how much they have come on in the last year this next year is going to be very interesting.  I am sceptical of the delivery drone services being rolled out this year, because I don’t see how it can be proved to be safe yet.  But for the already exisisting markets such as where I am I think there is going to be some growth as people start to realise what they can do and the benefits they bring, Such as health and safety, and time saving.

We are hosting an exclusive, invite-only event called CW Unplugged for young entrepreneurs and engineers next week and we’re thrilled to have Miles exhibit for us. More info to follow post CW Unplugged.

Facts from Miles about his Falcon 8:

  • Speed is  12 m/s in GPS mode
  • Weighs 2.3kg with the camera and battery
  • Can see in a full 180 degree arc so all the way up and all the way down. Perfect for inspections
  • Has 3 flight control systems – very safe if one fails, the next takes over immediately
  • Can lose 2 of its 8 propellers and still fly
  • Used for land surveying as well, by putting Ground control points on the floor and using a high accuracy gps, it is possible to build a model from which it is possible to carry out traditional surveying techniques just in your computer
  • You can put multiple payloads on,  such as a normal camera, or a thermal imaging camera and a normal camera all at the same time, this helps a lot with certain inspections

Cambridge Wireless is papped by the Falcon 8 drone

Photo left to right: Alex Mott (deals with our PR), Abhi Naha (Heads up our marketing and business development), Miles Venni and Lucy Woods (Digital & Social)

Anthill Drones
Tech Crunch
Ascending Technologies (this is where the Falcon 8 is manufactured)

More photos on our Facebook page – Venni, Founder of Anthill Drones

Miles Venni, Founder of Anthill Drones