Advertising gets taken to new heights

The Florida-based company Drobotron is looking to establish a new generation of aerial advertising with the launch of its ‘Flying Billboard Drone’, also known as the DL1200. At its heart is a 1,200mm, 13kg octocopter, but what makes it stand out (quite literally) is the 980 x 225mm full colour Lumenix 360 LED circular display screen that wraps around it. This 1,000 nit screen gives off such sufficient light that any digital display can apparently be seen in broad daylight – giving clients a new way to promote their businesses in the air.

The Flying Billboard – DrobotronAs well as being able to carry the screen, the craft has a number of features built into it that include easy breakdown for transportation in the carry case, triple IMU redundancy, redundant GPS modules, the ability to maintain flight even if one of the propellers or motors are lost, and the options for autonomous, semi-autonomous and fully pilot controlled flight. The system uses DJI A3 Flight Controller and Lightbridge 2 Radio for control, and the DJI E1200 Motor/ESC/Propeller combination for lift. According to Bobby Watts, founder and CEO of Drobotron, these parts were picked for the project as “they are reliable, easy to use, and known by many pilots today. Any pilot who has flown a Phantom or Inspire could easily fly the Drobotron.”

Despite its unique shape and the extra weight involved, Bobby maintains that the DL1200 “flies just like any other drone on the market today.” Although he does add that “the most noticeable difference is how it flies in the wind. Due to the large surface area of the screens, the DL1200 has to lean into the wind a bit more than a traditional drone to maintain a hover.” At present it can fly in winds up to 20mph.

The Flying Billboard – DrobotronAs for the creation of the system, Bobby explained: “Our parent company, USDrobotics Inc, is focused on developing incredible flight autonomy systems that could revolutionise how drones fly in the public domain. Once we had this idea in our head, we knew it was time to patent the idea, make a proof of concept and begin showing these things off wherever we could.

Although a commercial version of the system will be available from October, priced at $19,499.99 (with hiring options), the team has not finished working on it. Not only are they working to improve the flight time, they also want to make the whole screen bigger. As Bobby told us: “Bigger is always better, right? If we make it bigger, we can fly further away from spectators while still making it possible for them to see the content on the screen.”

However he has pointed out that some legal restrictions do apply, most notably “the 55lb rule that the FAA has enacted upon SUAS aircraft. It seems that getting a waiver for aircraft over 55lbs is quite difficult so we will be pushing hard to overcome this in the future.” For more information on the DL1200 go to