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Convert your drone into an all-terrain vehicle. Water, snow, rocks, sand, and other rugged terrain are no match for WaterStrider™.
Convert your drone into an all-terrain vehicle. Water, snow, rocks, sand, and other rugged terrain are no match for WaterStrider™.
Convert your drone into an all-terrain vehicle. Water, snow, rocks, sand, and other rugged terrain are no match for WaterStrider™.
159 backers pledged $24,229 to help bring this project to life.

About

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WaterStrider: Perfect Footage. Confident Landings. Anywhere.

$24,229

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At DroneRafts, we have developed an accessory for the DJI Phantom 4 and Phantom 3 quadcopter. Like all-terrain suspension for your drone, WaterStrider enables perfect footage and fearless landings—anywhere.

WaterStrider on Phantom 3 taking a splash in the stream.
WaterStrider on Phantom 3 taking a splash in the stream.

 

Water strider insects glide naturally over water, inspiring the function and design of the WaterStrider, our patent-pending landing gear. It is elegantly designed to maximize flight performance, landing stability, buoyancy on water, and is ruggedly engineered and tested. With the funding from this campaign, our plan is to go into full production and share this amazing product, allowing you to #DroneAnywhere.

We originally envisioned an accessory which allows drones to land on water. The more we flew the prototypes, the more benefits we discovered: added stability, visibility, and undaunted landings. And we've only scratched the surface. Already we have received ideas for other innovative ways to use WaterStrider.

Did you ever find the perfect spot to capture some amazing aerial footage with your drone, only to find that there is no good place to take off and land? Maybe you've tried the dangerous practice of hand-catching and hand-launching your drone, or maybe you just didn’t get the shot. Unfortunately, some of the most beautiful places to film have the worst options for takeoff and landing.

With WaterStrider, landings on almost any surface are worry-free, allowing you to focus on getting the perfect shot.

Don't let this happen to your drone. Use WaterStrider for fearless landings on any surface.
Don't let this happen to your drone. Use WaterStrider for fearless landings on any surface.

 

#DroneAnywhere with confidence using WaterStrider on your Phantom 4.
#DroneAnywhere with confidence using WaterStrider on your Phantom 4.


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Our Commitment and Guarantee

We are committed to the WaterStrider as well as the experience of our customers using it. We're happy to offer the following guarantee to the backers of this campaign.

Engineered Design

We've considered every possible design detail we could manage. Before starting our design work, we developed a thorough product requirements document. For each requirement, we also developed a plan for testing it to be sure it would work as expected. We're proud to say that WaterStrider now meets or exceeds these requirements.

Some of the best design elements that came from this process are highlighted in the animation and further discussion below.

 

We landed on this rock field with the Phantom 4 to show how WaterStrider provides amazing stability and protection to the drone. Other landing gear extensions and gimbal guards on the market come nowhere close to this level of stability and protection.
We landed on this rock field with the Phantom 4 to show how WaterStrider provides amazing stability and protection to the drone. Other landing gear extensions and gimbal guards on the market come nowhere close to this level of stability and protection.

Another key design feature is the ability to get clear footage without any obstructions in the camera's Field Of View (FOV). In fact, most of the campaign video footage was filmed using two WaterStrider equipped drones.

The WaterStrider is designed to be extremely durable. Of course we did some initial rapid prototyping and proof of concept work using 3D printing. However, 3D printed parts are definitely not strong enough to meet our requirements to provide long-term durability (with sun and water exposure), remain lightweight, and permit freedom to land anywhere without worry.

Our parts are fully engineered from the ground up and use carbon fiber as well as injection molded and thermoformed high impact plastics. The WaterStrider is designed to protect the drone by absorbing the maximum descent velocity impact of the Phantom on any terrain, including water, with no damage. A 3D printed version of comparable weight to our final solution only survived about 33% of the requirement. The production WaterStrider meets the full 100% and more. We've tested the design to prove it.

One of the common questions we receive is: How does WaterStrider affect the drone handling and performance in windy conditions. The video below shows how the WaterStrider handles very windy and gusty conditions on both the Phantom 3 and Phantom 4.

Design & Development

After doing some research and analysis of the rapidly expanding drone industry, we looked to users for their stories, and we heard you: "We want easier, safer landings—anywhere." So we set out to develop a solution for every possible earthly terrain.

We knew we had a ton of considerations: weight, balance, buoyancy, durability, aerodynamics, hard landings, and compatibility with the camera and sensors. What materials would look good and provide the kind of features we need? How can we keep the cost low? How will the finished product connect to the drone?

As soon as we had a good concept, we started prototyping in earnest. It turns out that we changed almost every design feature as a result of several rounds of testing. With each prototype, the product got better and better. Like a good songwriter or artist, we know that at some point, it's time to put the pencil down. The resulting WaterStrider is a light, lean, production-ready reality.

WaterStrider on Phantom 3 ready to continue exploring.
WaterStrider on Phantom 3 ready to continue exploring.

 

This comparison chart shows how the WaterStrider compares to other drone products with some similar characteristics. The WaterStrider combined with DJI Phantom provides great value and capability compared to the other options.
This comparison chart shows how the WaterStrider compares to other drone products with some similar characteristics. The WaterStrider combined with DJI Phantom provides great value and capability compared to the other options.

 

Timeline

Specifications

Cost Breakdown

The animation below shows a cost breakdown for the first year of production.

Backer Rewards

All of our backer rewards include access to our project updates and a big Thank You for supporting our project.

Meet Our Experienced Team

DroneRafts next steps...

We're not planning on being a one-hit wonder. The DroneRafts team already has plans to continue to deliver solutions to the unmanned vehicle market, across various industries and applications.

For this WaterStrider launch, we plan to refine our manufacturing and production methods based on the demand we see from this campaign. Join our community TODAY and have a say in our next accessory launch and our future product lines!

Please note that DroneRafts LLC is not affiliated with DJI or the DJI Phantom. All company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Risks and challenges

We've worked hard to try and minimize the risks associated with our first Kickstarter project. Based on the design, analysis, and testing already performed, as well as our engineering backgrounds, the technical risks are very low. Most of the risks will be associated with production. Here are some of the steps that we've already taken to minimize potential problems:

• We already have a facility for production.

• We are only sourcing supplies from established companies within the US, so we don't have to deal with importing parts.

• With the exception of the injection-molded part, we have identified at least two sources for each part that we use in case one runs out of stock, or for any other hiccups. Injection molding tooling is very expensive and generally works with only one manufacturer. For this part, we are using a source that we have found consistently reliable on other projects. In addition, we have talked with other companies that use this same supplier to verify our own experience.

• We are limiting the number of assembled products that we will deliver each month to less than half of what we believe we can actually deliver. This will give us time to fix any unexpected issues and, if things go well, even deliver them early.

• Because we believe the risk to be fairly low, we have already personally invested in building and buying all of the other specialty manufacturing equipment and tooling necessary for delivering WaterStrider across the globe.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    HALL OF FAME! Receive thanks for your generous support and ongoing project updates. Plus, get a (optional) shout out on social media!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    TEE SHIRT: This tagless, blended-for-comfort tee is custom printed with the WaterStrider logo. Wear it with the satisfaction of knowing you backed an awesome Kickstarter project!

    We'll send you a survey after the project closes asking for your shirt size. Plus, you'll enjoy our mildly humorous updates (for those of you that like humor).

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    31 backers
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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $139 or more About $139

    5:00 AM SUPER EARLY BIRD SPECIAL:
    Get your very own WaterStrider for the DJI Phantom 3!

    This standard model is equipped with white landing pods, white mount brackets and carbon fiber legs.

    (Anticipated MSRP $239)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $159 or more About $159

    6:00 AM SUPER EARLY BIRD SPECIAL:
    Get your very own WaterStrider for the DJI Phantom 3!

    This standard model is equipped with white landing pods, white mount brackets and carbon fiber legs.

    (Anticipated MSRP $239)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
    $
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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $159 or more About $159

    AUVSI XPONENTIAL Drone Conference Special:

    Get your very own WaterStrider for the DJI Phantom (Check FAQ for applicable models.)

    This standard model is equipped with white landing pods, white mount brackets and carbon fiber legs.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 35 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $159 or more About $159

    6:00 AM SUPER EARLY BIRD SPECIAL #2:

    Get your very own WaterStrider for the DJI Phantom (Check FAQ for applicable models.)

    This standard model is equipped with white landing pods, white mount brackets and carbon fiber legs. (We'll ask before we ship it to you if you'd like red front bottom floats for free.)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 17 backers
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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $179 or more About $179

    7:00 AM EARLY BIRD SPECIAL:
    Get your very own WaterStrider for the DJI Phantom 3!

    This standard model is equipped with white landing pods, white mount brackets and carbon fiber legs.

    (Anticipated MSRP $239)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 10 backers
    $
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $179 or more About $179

    7:00 AM EARLY BIRD SPECIAL #2:
    Get your very own WaterStrider for the DJI Phantom!

    This standard model is equipped with white landing pods, white mount brackets and carbon fiber legs.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 10 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $298 or more About $298

    DOUBLE THE PLEASURE:
    Get two of your very own WaterStriders for the DJI Phantom 3!

    This standard model is equipped with white landing pods, white mount brackets and carbon fiber legs.

    (Anticipated MSRP $478)

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    Limited 5 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    THE POWER OF FIVE:
    Get five of your very own WaterStriders for the DJI Phantom (see FAQ for applicable models).

    Want a different quantity? Please contact us!

    This standard model is equipped with white landing pods, white mount brackets and carbon fiber legs.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCE A CUSTOM #DroneAnywhere VIDEO:

    You help decide where we will film a short 30-60 second video to show how WaterStrider really shines. If you're able to join us during the shoot, you're welcome to attend! You will get public kudos (in the resulting 30-60 second video) for sponsoring a magical, one of a kind bit of #DroneAnywhere footage.

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Funding period

- (38 days)