Drone Enthusiasts Use Open Source Hardware To Drive Innovation

Aarti Shahani | NPR.org | July 8, 2013

One drone-maker in Silicon Valley has a vision: iPhones with wings populating the sky, collecting data about everything. And to get there, he's enlisting tens of thousands of his fellow drone enthusiasts. His civilian drone company is open source — a business model that's completely contrary to the military's model of proprietary secrets.


The global race to build drones is on and it's not just a race among militaries. Private companies in the U.S. and China are competing neck-and-neck for top spots in the burgeoning civilian drone industry. We're talking about drones that might use to eyeball forest fires or rescue stranded hikers.

From member station KQED, Aarti Shahani reports on one Silicon Valley start-up that plans to win the race by giving away its secrets.

AARTI SHAHANI, BYLINE: Fridays at the Berkeley Marina, Chris Anderson wanders into this grassy clearing to test fly his latest drones.