A man in Cyprus had to walk his dog during the country’s COVID-19 shutdown and decided to see if a drone could handle the job.
Vakis Demetriou shared his experiment on his Instagram, showing his dog Oliver walking up a residential street with a small drone following close behind holding the leash.
‘5th day quarantine,’ he wrote. ‘Stay home safe but don’t forget your dog’s happiness.’
Demetriou pilots the drone from a nearby balcony while a friend films the dog and the drone on the street, according to a report from Business Insider.
While the video is charming, it’s unlikely a drone would be able to walk most dogs, even those as small and lightweight as Oliver.
The average weight a hobby-grade drone can carry is around 4.5 pounds, while an adult Pomeranian can weigh anywhere between four and eight pounds.
It’s probable that Oliver would be capable of pulling the drone out of the air if he became distracted or wanted to sprint after a skateboarder.
With more powerful commercial drones, however, the dog could be endangered, as the drone could lift the animal into the air or drag it across the ground.
Demetriou isn’t the first person to have the idea of using a drone to walk his dog.
In 2017, Drones Direct tried to market a product called the Dog Drone, which would use GPS data to lead dogs through a pre-set walking paths.
The base model sold for $2,590 but it wasn’t available online and could only be purchased in the showroom of Drones Direct, a retailer in Huddlesfield, England.
Because of drone use laws, it would be illegal for the person piloting the drone to lose sight of it, making it necessary for the dog owner to follow along on every walk the drone and dog went out on.
This restriction undermined one of the device’s main selling points, allowing a dog owner to stay on the couch while the robots took their dog out for 30 minutes.
The drone also had no mechanism for picking up dog feces which would inevitably become an issue over repeated use.
A shelter in West Yorkshire found a less fraught use for drones, using them as a toy for highly active dogs to chase back and forth across an open field.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Michael Thomsen