3D Robotics Rolls out the ‘Solo’ Smart Drone

Posted by Betsy Lillian on April 13, 2015 No Comments
Categories : UAVs

3D Robotics has released what it calls the world's first smart drone.

Dubbed ‘Solo,’ it features two integrated Linux computers – one on the aircraft and one in the controller – and offers in-flight access to GoPro controls and wireless HD streaming straight to mobile devices.

As the first drone designed with every aspect of the photographer’s experience in mind, says 3DR, Solo can define its own flight – freeing users to focus on getting the shot.

“Solo is a breakthrough in intelligent flight. It’s not just smarter so that it can do more; it’s smarter so that you have to do less,” explains Chris Anderson, CEO of 3DR. “We’ve turned the Hollywood toolkit into software and allowed everyone to experience epic video, both behind and in front of the camera.”

Solo also features GPS satellite-guided flight, which provides auto takeoff and land, return home, and the ability to instantly hit an e-brake and pause a flight in midair. All these features are accessible through the Solo mobile app or dedicated buttons on the remote controller.

According to 3DR, Solo’s app allows for automatic, cloud-based logging of flights, instant access to technical support, on-device recording of the live HD video stream and even support for future Web-based control of Solo. The WiFi range is up to half a mile, depending on the environment.
The drone’s computer-assisted Smart Shot flight features allow even new pilots to capture professional aerial video from day one, says 3DR.

“Solo will expand our concept of what a drone can be and do,” adds Anderson. “Solo uses advanced autonomy to make creativity easier. Rather than needing skill to capture a great shot, you can let the software do the work. Even better, you can be in the shot – you can be the subject of your life’s story, not just the director.”

Cable cam and Orbit allow operators to create a known and safe flight path along a virtual track in space. Or, they can simply hit “play” and let Solo fly itself while it simultaneously works the camera. Follow mode lets a pilot go completely hands-free while Solo keeps up with his every move, explains 3DR.

The company says it worked closely with GoPro to create the first gimbal capable of fully controlling the GoPro camera. The three-axis Solo Gimbal – sold separately – stabilizes the camera to within 0.1 degrees of pointing accuracy and charges the GoPro so that the battery does not die during flight.

Solo can fly for up to 25 minutes without payload (weighing 1,500 grams) or up to 20 minutes with GoPro and Solo Gimbal (1,800 grams).

“We set out a year ago with the promise of not just creating the best drone, but the best overall aerial filmmaking experience imaginable,” says Colin Guinn, chief revenue officer of 3DR. “While this meant giving Solo smooth and powerful flight dynamics, it also demanded we make a smarter drone, one that could abstract users from flying so they can focus on getting great video.

“What our users really want is great shots. They want professional tools that enable them to get those shots easily and consistently, right out of the box. Solo delivers on this promise: You get the shot, every time.”
With its roots in free and open software development, 3DR says, it has also debuted the “Made for Solo” program, aimed at enabling small companies to work directly with 3DR and manufacturing partners on developing and launching new accessories. The program, explains 3DR, makes it easy for these companies to get their technology both onto shelves and into Solo.

Solo will launch starting at $999 in over 400 Best Buy stores across the U.S., with immediate in-store availability on May 29. 3DR notes that with a simple, out-of-the-box setup, customers can take home Solo and immediately begin flying.

More information can be found here.

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