The Fotokite was born at ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena, one of the world’s most advanced research labs in aerial robotics. While finishing his PhD at the Arena, Fotokite founder and CTO Sergei Lupashin was struck by the growing power and popularity of drone photography. Frustrated by overly complicated existing systems, he set out to build something more robust, and eventually arrived at using a taut tether to sidestep fundamental drone limitations.
Fotokite’s mission is to make aerial photography accessible to everyone. Specifically, we aspire to solve fundamental drone issues like safety, the need for piloting skills, and the lack of accountability.
After a debut at TED2014 (Sergei is now a TED Fellow), the company developed its first product: the Fotokite Pro, a live broadcast aerial camera that can fly for hours thanks to being powered from the ground. The Fotokite Pro was presented for the first time at NAB2015, and has been used for several productions and is being evaluated for more.
Working closely with the broadcasting industry on a professional solution gave Fotokite the experience to start working on a more affordable version: the Fotokite Phi. By being able to shed core drone components such as expensive GPS receivers and by getting rid of an RC controller, we have been able to build what is, to our knowledge, the lightest, friendliest, safest, most portable and most affordable GoPro quadcopter yet.