Snowboarding has turned into "droneboarding" on top of frozen Lake Ninieris in Latvia.
Agence France-Presse recently filmed a 9-foot-long drone, which has 16 propellers, as it towed snowboarders across ice and snow.
As skiers and ice fishermen looked on, the snowboarders held on to ropes with handles, similar to the type used in water skiing.
The 121-pound drone, made by Aerones, can pull up to four snowboarders at a top speed of 94 mph, but usually travels more slowly so Aerones CEO Janis Putrams can accurately steer it.
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He described how the invention came into being:
We started thinking about it two years ago. It was a sort of Friday afternoon idea and we just wondered if it would be possible.
But the idea was always to build something big, to see how much power it could have. Luckily in Latvia we have both great engineers and great winters, so it's ideal for droneboarding.
A droneboarding run by the $37,000 device lasts around 10 minutes.
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Putrams wants to partner with other companies to market his drones for firefighting as well as search and rescue missions:
It's not just for droneboarding. We could use it to lift someone from the roof of a burning building, or a hose could be sprayed on parts of a fire that would be inaccessible to ladders. If there was a connected power supply instead of batteries, the flight times would be limitless...
[T]here will need to be a lot of certification before we see large numbers of these drones operating commercially, to make sure only safe drones are used.
The company's drone pulled a wakeboarder on part of the Daugava river in September 2016 at a top speed of 112 mph, reports RT.
The Aerones website also touted its drone's firefighting ability, which accompanied a video posted on Jan. 15:
Latvian heavy-duty drone manufacturer Aerones Ltd., together with the fire and rescue team from Aizkraukle, conducted an experiment the world had never seen before. In this experiment, the "Aerones" drone was tested to fight possible fire accidents. The results proved that it is able to reach heights exceeding those of firefighter truck ladders, while the drone also has the capability to operate in hard to reach and dangerous spots.