Ranging in price and sophistication – beginner/under $200 to advanced/over $1,000 – there’s a drone for just about anyone. If you’re not a beginner and know your Drone Definitions, or you are a natural tinkerer searching for a new project, you may be looking for a UAV with more muscle – something that appeals to your Inner Geek. Here are three drones specifically made for the tech savvy, high-end buyer.
If you’re like Maverick and Goose from Top Gun and have a real “need for speed,” look no further than Team Black Sheep’s Gemini (set for release at the end of October). Designed by award-winning multi-rotor pilot William Thielecke, the Gemini was designed to be a legitimate race-drone with a fully-modular, crash friendly ESC and flight control installation. Of course, more speed usually means shorter flight time and the Gemini is no exception with a 10-minute flight window.
For a more casual day of flying, users can choose between race and film mode. The Gemini’s component layout is designed to optimize weight efficiency and makes it very repair friendly in the event of the inevitable (but probably awesome!) crash. The Gemini ships with a Taulabs-based flight control, TBS CORE PNP25 display, and built-in FPV camera (which you can upgrade to full HD). Oh yeah, and you can also choose to include a set of Fatshark Dominator Video Goggles for an additional $329.
Although not quite as advanced as the Gemini, the Storm Drone 6 offers a burly payload capability and a flight time of 13 minutes without a camera-gimbal setup. Because it is designed for the tech-savvy UAV videographer, the Storm ships without a camera so you can decide exactly how you want to set up your rig. The UAV includes pre-balanced, carbon-fiber propellers as well as the DJI NAZA Lite with GPS Module Flight Controller which keeps its flight quite stable. And, like many newer drone models, the Storm has auto-hovering features and will return home if programmed to do so.
The Storm was built with a two-hole mounting design to help curb excess vibration and to allow for easy replacement of damage props and includes LED Light Strips for directional aid, carbon-fiber landing skids and a Walkera DEVO 7 2.4GHz LCD Digital Transmitter.
The 3DR X8 RTF sounds like the latest droid model for the next Star Wars film and the quadcopter does indeed deliver a heavy-duty, sci-fi-worthy performance (unlike, ahem, certain Star Wars actors). The X8 is the Swiss Army knife of drones featuring bolt-on mounting points to hold a variety of devices, “swept-back” front arms (which can be configured into either an “X” or “V” shape), plug-n-play brushless gimbal compatibility and a fixed FPV cam mount.
3D Robotics offers a full array of options for the dedicated, techy-worthy X8 owner, including a Go-Pro HERO3 camera, telemetry frequency array, etc. The standard features embedded in the X8 include a Pixhawk autopilot system, GPS navigation, built-in ST Microelectronics sensor/processor technology, and the NuttX real-time operating system. For the dedicated X8 owner, 3D Robotics offers a full array of optional add ons including a Go-Pro HERO3 camera, telemetry frequency array etc. A fully loaded X8 is capable of 12-13 minutes of flight time and encompasses a full range of autonomous flight modes: waypoint navigation, loiter, circle, and return to launch, and free mission-planning software that enable virtually unlimited waypoints for reliable, repeatable missions, and flight data analysis.
If these models seem a little too complex and you are looking for a cheaper, more entry level drone, check out DRONELIFE’s Buy-a-Drone search function.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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