Consumer drones are exciting new tech inventions that are about to become mainstream. Here are some of the highlights of 2016-2017.
– GoPro Karma – Release date: 23 October 2016
The Karma is a fold-up drone which has a removable gimbal that can be used in a battery grip.
Price: £719.99 without the GoPro camera or £999.99 with the new Hero 5 (it is also compatible with Hero 4).
– DJI Phantom 4 – Released March 2016
The Phantom 4 is the first drone to have a proper obstacle avoidance system, whether you’re flying it yourself or on autopilot. It is equipped with a 4K camera which can shoot 120fps slo-mo video.
Price: £1229 inc. VAT – a cheaper standard version should be announced shortly.
– Xiaomi Mi Drone – Released May 2016
Xiaomi is Chinese mobile phone manufacturer and the Mi Drone is the first machine of this kind that the company has launched.
Price: at just £278, it is very good value.
– DJI Phantom 3 4K – Released January 2016
DJI Phantom 3 is perfect for those who want a good camera on a cheaper-than-most drone. It uses Wi-Fi instead of the more expensive Lightbridge system to bring stabilised 4K video and photography. It still has all the intelligent flight modes, including Follow Me and Point of Interest.
Price: at £699, the Phantom 3 4K is only £80 more expensive than its standard version.
– Parrot Disco – Release date: end of 2016
The new Disco has only one propeller and is therefore not a quadcopter. It is controlled from a smartphone and can reach speeds of 50mph, is equipped with a 14Mp and can fly for up to 45 minutes! It has 32GB of on-board storage for recording and is compatible with Parrot’s SkyController.
Price: because it is still only a prototype, price remains TBC.
– Lily – Release date: May 2016 (August 2016 for new pre-orders)
With foldable propellers and a waterproof body, the Lily drone can be carried in a backpack.
Lily flies itself and follows a ‘tracking device’ that you carry, so you are free to concentrate on whatever you’re doing. There is no obstacle avoidance system, but you can plan a flight path if needed, and this drone can film from a static aerial position.
It shoots 1080p up to 60fps and stabilisation is done digitally. Please note that the battery is not removable.
– Yuneec – Release date: End of 2016
Yuneec is a Chinese drone manufacturer that has already launched a few quads and has now signed up to use the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight board. It integrates many components from different manufacturers onto a single board, meaning a lighter, smaller, cheaper drone that flies for longer.
That drone will support 4K video processing and 720p encoding for first person view. It can also handle optic flow cameras and extra sensors which can be used for avoiding obstacles.
– FPV Racing – Release date: TBC
The FPV is a racing drone premium on speed and manoeuvrability. It is called FPV (as in First-Person-View), as you wear goggles that allow you to see the view from the drone’s camera.