PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — All Josiah Almeda needs is a wide open space and a smartphone to get his drone successfully off the ground.
“I can fly in circles, I can fly fast, I can fly slow,” Josiah says as he maneuvers the robot through the air. “It’s completely up to me.”
About a year ago, the 10-year-old picked up the controller for the first time, and fell in love.
“That’s pretty high,” says Josiah as he flies it around a park in Pflugerville. His father is the one who brought home the Phantom 3, which led Josiah to becoming a certified drone operator.
The fifth grader has flown it above some of the most beautiful places on family vacations, like Cozumel, and posted the videos to his YouTube channel. He also shot aerial footage of his entire school spelling out their theme for the year outside Pond Springs Elementary.
Josiah’s mother, Senaida Almeda, believes her son was born with a gift.
“He’s been drawn to technology ever since he was small,” said Almeda.
His room at home is filled with gadgets — a 3D printer, a Virtual Reality headset and a computer with a large flat screen where he can practice coding and gaming. Josiah also has a bearded dragon fittingly named Laser.
“We are guilty of fostering his passion a little too much sometimes,” said Almeda with a laugh.
But it’s his passion for electronic that helps channel social and emotional challenges that come with having Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum.
“Things that are difficult throughout the day, he can kind of use this to come home and debrief and relax, and kind of get back centered to start over the next day,” said Almeda.
Only time will tell where these skills will take Josiah. This is only the beginning.