Berkeley, Calif.-based drone technology company 3D Robotics says it has launched a new drone, the X8+, a ready-to-fly, personal aircraft with an expandable payload capacity.
In addition, 3DR has also introduced a new plug-and-play first-person view (FPV) kit, providing everything a user needs to start live streaming a video feed from the camera on the X8+ or IRIS+ drones.
According to the company, the X8+ is more than a flying camera – it’s the first drone at a consumer price point that can be called an intelligent tool. 3DR explains that consumers can build on the platform and make of it what they can, as if the drone is a power drill that users can outfit with different bits.
Beyond photography and videography, for instance, it can be used to generate maps and 3D models, collect aerial data in automated and repeatable flight paths, carry different sensors for gathering data beyond the visible spectrum, generate point clouds for ground survey, and be outfitted with magnets for real delivery potential.
Although it has a tough aluminum frame, the company says, the X8+ is light enough to maximize aerial mobility. The aircraft folds into a compact and easily transportable form, suitable for on-site use in areas such as mining, construction, search and rescue, agriculture, and professional cinematography. Flight times are up to 15 minutes, depending on payload.
The X8+ also features 3DR’s 3PV Follow Me mode, meaning the copter can track any GPS-enabled Android device with a variety of changeable angle and distance presets that will keep consumers in the center of videos. Or, if used industrially, it will keep whatever a user needs to track in the center of the copter’s field of vision.
The lifting power of the X8+ (maximum takeoff weight of over 2 kg, recommended payload 800g battery and 800g payload) offers users options for attaching an array of gimbals, cameras and sensors, according to 3DR.
This means that instead of only being able to carry a GoPro with a wide-angle lens, the X8+ can also carry gimbals that support a mirrorless video camera such as the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera or a pro point-and-shoot such as the Panasonic LX100 or Canon S110.
The X8+ includes automated mission planning right out of the box – open source software platforms compatible with Mac, Windows, Android and Linux systems. With free DroidPlanner 2 software, X8+ users can plan flights by drawing a flight path on any Android tablet or phone, which allows for hands-free flight control. The X8+ drone will go where you tell it to go and can keep its camera pointed at the same location via a region of interest waypoint throughout the entire flight. This enables autonomous journeys and automatically stabilized photo, video and data capture, 3DR explains.
The X8+ is now available for purchase on the company's website for $1,350. 3DR’s FPV kit is also available for $349.99.
Photo courtesy of 3D Robotics