CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Sci-Tech

Gawk at Richard Branson's tropical hideaway via aerial drone

Watching this video of Virgin founder's opulent private island captured via drone will make you drool -- and he wants you to.

If like most of us, you don't have the $27,475 it costs to stay on Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson's famous Necker Island for a week, don't fret: you can now see the beauty of one of the world's most opulent private islands from a bird's-eye view.

Actually, it's a drone's-eye view. On Friday, Branson posted a two-plus minute video, shot with a series of 3D Robotics drones, that practically taunts you with imagery of the place where the founder of the Virgin empire can often be found frolicking with models and celebrities.

Necker Island, located in the British Virgin Islands, is a 74-acre retreat that offers luxury accommodations for the rich and famous and serves as Branson's private hideaway when he's not planning commercial flight in space, the conquering of the deepest ocean depths, or running his many other businesses.

men-and-drone-in-the-air1500px.jpg
Virgin founder Richard Branson flying a drone on his private Necker Island. Virgin

In the video, we see several drones -- one sporting what appears to be Branson's sunglasses -- soaring around and above many of Necker's fancy homes, and often, filming the white-haired Virgin impresario playing tennis, windsurfing, or otherwise luxuriating in his wealth. There are no drone shots of him in meetings, however.

These days, consumer-grade drones are becoming more prevalent as prices drop and ease of use skyrockets. Whereas just a couple years ago most drones required some level of mechanical skill to set up, today there are a wide range of drones that can be operated by almost anyone out of the box.

Devices from companies like Parrot, DJI, and 3D Robotics have become common in many places, given that it's now possible to get a drone that's easy to operate and offers compelling photography options for as little as $200. That, of course, has led institutions like the National Park Service and many municipalities to ban their use, citing safety and privacy concerns.

While the main point of the video seems to be making the average Joe drool over Branson's lifestyle, the Virgin founder also tried to make a larger point about the increasing utility of the flying devices for people around the world.

"It's not just about beauty shots," Branson wrote on his Virgin blog. "When you say the word 'drone,' most people will think about military drones, which are used for surveillance and warfare. But this increasingly affordable, easy to use technology is starting to be used around the world in many positive ways. Like to monitor endangered species, deliver healthcare to remote areas, and help manage natural disasters."

Branson added that he's excited about the "potential for drones, and I hope this affordable technology will give many more people the chance to see our beautiful planet from such a powerful perspective."