If I had to pick one topic that I get pitched about the most with regards to NAB, it will have to be DRONES. With a Capital D. And it does seem that they will be a hot topic during 2015.
One of the first birds to arrive is the new DJI Phantom 3 announced today from Chinese company DJI.
Unlike their GoPro line, this Drone from DJI comes with its own integrated camera. There are two versions to this new drone: The Professional version showing off golden stripes, which shoot up to 4K at 30 fps, and an Advanced version (silver striped) that shoots at 1920 x 1080 resolution at up to 60 fps.
The price tag of both will not make you drop, and range between $999 (advanced) to $1,259 (pro).
Features wise, it seems like this drone is a natural evolution from the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ with a similar 3 axis integrated gimbal.
Here are the features as described by DJI (bold comments by me):
Because of the complexity associated with multi-rotor aircraft the Phantom 3 relies on a GPS-based navigation system to maintain flight stability and provide other features. While fully manual operation is possible, most users, especially videographers hoping to get the smoothest possible shoots, will opt for one of the GPS-assisted modes. While it is not mentioned in the text I think it would be safe to assume that the software will prevent flying the drone near any airports or other places that the US government would not like you to see.
Vision Positioning System
Optical flow technology uses a specially designed camera as well as sonic waves to provide comparable stability function indoors or close to the ground as GPS does outdoors. This technology allows the Inspire to hold its location, stop when the controls are released, and quickly respond to pilot commands even when GPS is unavailable. Ok, this is cool. What I am missing here is collision avoidance on the X and Y axis.
With one tap in the DJI Pilot app, the Phantom 3 will turn on its motors and raise to a pre-set height. It will then hover in place, completely motionless until you direct it where to go
When GPS is available, the Phantom 3 remembers the exact spot that it took off. Simply tap a button to have it return to the point from which it took off
Return to Home Failsafe
If the Quadcopter loses the signal from the controller for any reason or the battery starts to run low the “return to home” feature will initialize. The aircraft will ascend to 60 feet then make a straight-line course back to the “home position” you will have defined during the GPS calibration process. Once there, it will safely descend to the ground and power itself off. Did I say collision avoidance yet? While this is a nice feature in some cases it can cause more harm than good.
Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC)
IOC is designed to help make flying more intuitive. Nominally, the yaw control will allow the Quadcopter to rotate continuously, which can quickly become confusing if you lose track of which way is “front”. Suddenly your controls can get mixed up, where pressing right causes the craft to move left and pressing forward causes it move backward. Intelligent Orientation Control prevents this from happening, keeping the “tail” of the Quadcopter pointed roughly toward the pilot at all times
Will you be getting one, upgrading from your Phantom 2 vision?