Today, 3D Robotics introduced Solo, a GoPro-integrated semi-autonomous drone packed with features to simplify flight control and filmmaking for the everyday user, starting at $1,000. Professionals will also enjoy the Solo for its dual Linux-based computers, keeping it highly hackable for the passionate UAV tinkerers out there.
The Solo reduces the learning curve and removes much of the hassle associated with operating a consumer-level drone. Operation can be handled and adjusted with a few pushes and slides on any smartphone capable of loading the Solo app. Any video taken by the drone can be immediately stored on the controlling smartphone and posted on the user’s choice of social network.
GoPro owners will benefit from Solo’s full integration with the Hero 4’s camera settings, allowing for timed recording and in-flight frame speed adjustment. Married with the cable cam mode for route planning, obstacle avoidance, and a selfie button that tells the drone to zoom in and out on your position, the potential for dramatic storytelling with the Solo is its main selling point.
In an interview with Popular Mechanics, Chris Anderson, 3D Robotics’ CEO, stated they are teaching the Solo to understand human preferences in visual storytelling and standard filmmaking concepts, like the 180-degree line. “The eye likes certain kinds of shots. The software can do that,” he said.
3DR treats its drones like a platform rather than an out-of-the-box toy, and the Solo will be no different. Its DroneKit development API allows users to develop apps without the burden of having to write flight-control software from the ground up, and Anderson and Co. are hoping developers will create an ecosystem of apps for every use case imaginable.
3D Robotics’ main competitor DJI released their Phantom 3 drone with a built-in camera last week, but the usual GoPro camera was conspicuously absent even on the lower-level model. As an established and popular camera among the drone community, the Solo’s GoPro-friendly system will likely appeal to the wider drone audience.
The base model will start at $999, but for the model with the purpose-built Solo GoPro gimbal, the price tag will come in at $1,400. Those excited to buy one will have to wait until May 29 for its official release.