Tech company GoPro is something of an old hand when it comes to manufacturing digital action cameras for adventurers, extreme sports enthusiasts and daredevils. But since June of last year they have been teasing their most ambitious project yet, a consumer drone. Now while GoPro’s Hero series action cameras and their accessories were designed in mind to be attached to other drones, the Karma is being touted by GoPro as their first complete package for the camera drone consumer.
Business Insider got to give the GoPro Karma a going-over and the first impressions were quite positive; not bad for being GoPro’s first foray into remote-control drone manufacture. The main sell point of the Karma that GoPro is pushing at the consumer market is that it’s quite easy to learn how to operate and fly compared to other consumer camera drones. It’s all thanks to the simple control scheme laid out in the Karma’s remote control, a clamshell device that pops open to reveal basic controls: two joysticks and buttons to start and stop the drone rotors, and even automatically return Karma in flight to the controller’s position.
The remote control’s LCD touchscreen packs even more options for the Karma operator. Probably most welcome is a simulator mode kind of like a video game that enables the controller to learn how to fly and move the virtual drone on the screen without having to risk making a mistake on the real thing. It also features “semi-autonomous” flight modes, like “cable-cam” that moves Karma on a straight line between two manually set point, “dronie” that focuses the cam on the operator as it ascends skyward, and “orbital” that circles around the controller with the cam fixed on him.
The Karma drone is able to take clear and steady video footage in spite of gusty winds and weather thanks to having GPS units in both the drone body and the remote control for precise maneuvering and hover, and the responsive camera mount. It can also tandem with a mobile phone that splits drone control and camera control between the remote and a cellphone with the Karma app.
Another major perk is the Karma’s compact body that easily folds its rotor arms against itself for quick and comfy storage in a portable case. The Karma set also comes with a handheld grip where the detachable camera stabilizer can attach to, enabling the GoPro cam to function as a handheld. What’s more, the stabilizer and grip can optionally attach to any GoPro accessory mount, like for backpacks. It effectively gives the owner a choice between shooting footage on-hand or by drone, all in one system.
The drone can fly at 35 mph max speed, a max 1 km distance from the controller, and an average battery charge of 20 minutes continuous use. All in all, the GoPro Karma is worth $799 on its own, but can be packaged with the new GoPro action cams – the Hero 5 Session for $999 or the Hero 5
Black for $1099. While it’s still to early to see the full capabilities of the Karma against other drone systems, it’s got great marketability thanks to its ease of operation and other advantages.
The GoPro Karma will officially hit on October 23.
Photo Credit to http://petapixel.com/