Guest post by Alan Perlman, UAV Coach —
It appears that 2016 will be another landmark year for drones and UAVs.
With Yuneec, GoPro, and Lily Robotics all releasing new models this year, here are three potentially awesome drones I recommend keeping an eye on:
Yuneec Typhoon H
Yuneec recently unveiled the Typhoon H; a professional quality drone within reach of consumer budgets.
Today’s RC drone consumers are looking for high-end features at great prices, and the Typhoon H delivers. At the cost of $1,799 the Typhoon H has a refined, user-friendly design with innovative features.
The Typhoon H design utilizes carbon fiber for a lightweight, yet durable product. It has six rotors in a compact configuration. The props can easily be disconnected from the motors, and each rotor folds for secure and easy transportation.
Ease of flight and safety were priorities for Yuneec, as the Typhoon H includes many innovative new safety features. Ultrasonic proximity detection assists in the avoidance of large obstacles, Variable Speed Control allows for controlled use, and the failsafe system provides for a stable landing in the event of a motor failure. Dynamic Return Home, Low-Battery Return Home, Geo-Fencing, and FAA No Fly add to the appeal for family-based use.
Ready to fly with its 360-degree gimbal and CG03+ camera, the Typhoon H delivers the capability of magnificent 4k filming and 12 megapixel stills. The landing gear easily retracts in flight for perfect views, and the 360-degree gimbal provides the user with the ability for maximum panning.
Expanding on flight and image capture modes, Yuneec has included Point of Interest, Orbit, Curved Cable, and Journey options. The ST16 controller is Android-based and includes a 7-inch HD display allowing users to watch real-time video in 720p.
There are also add-ons in the works, such as modules for collision avoidance and an infrared camera. It is an exciting release that brings quality and performance to the everyday consumer.
GoPro, known for high-action and high-quality video capability, has taken a step further with the Karma drone.
GoPro’s introductory video provides the classically extreme and visually stunning narrative of their camera products, but with added height and movement.
Conveniently, the Karma itself is never shown in the video. This tantalizes drone enthusiasts and has sparked much speculation regarding the design features and functionality of the Karma drone.
We know that GoPro’s Hero camera line includes 4k video recording and that GoPro has been focusing on 360-degree filming and virtual reality capabilities. The company has worked in partnerships to create and promote 360-degree videos, including programs that stitch together panoramas.
GoPro partnered on the Odyssey project for virtual reality filmmaking with a 16-camera rig and, in an effort to provide affordability to users, GoPro also released a six-camera rig option. It’s hard to say if any of this tech is being utilized on the new Karma drone.
GoPro has implied that Karma might work in unexpected ways, which makes the release that much more anticipated.
The Lily Drone
Let me introduce you to one of the coolest quadcopters coming out this year: The Lily.
Lily is a fully autonomous drone that follows you as you conduct your activity. This makes it perfect for people who want smooth aerial videography and photography shots of themselves or other objects without needing the necessary pilot skills.
To start, you turn on the tracking device and put it in your pocket or on your wrist (using the wrist carrier). This tells the drone which object to follow.
Next, you throw Lily into the air and the propellers automatically start rotating as a new video recording begins. Then, simply move and the drone will move with you.
The quadcopter can shoot 1080p HD video at 60 frames per second, 720p slo-mo shots at 120 frames per second, and it can take 12MP still photos. It also boasts a strong 20 minute flight time to help you get multiple shots of your activity (or one long one).
The Lily is waterproof, compact enough to fit inside a backpack, and comes with a 4GB micro SD card. It’s one of the most anticipated drones this year. But there’s just one more question to ask:
When is it coming out?
The answer: Summer 2016.
Pre-ordering started over a year ago, and it was supposed to start shipping in February of this year. In an update this past December 2015, the company noted they had a few software/hardware issues, made some upgrades, and needed a bit more time for testing.
For those who already pre-ordered, they also put concerns about not getting their money back to rest. The company is privately funded (not crowd-funded) so they aren’t using pre-order funds to run the business. Those funds have been placed “in cold storage.”
Keep your eyes peeled for the Lily, because if the final product is as advertised, we’re going to see a slew of even more amazing drone shots going viral around the web.
I hope you enjoyed this article and are as excited about these new models as I am. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them.
Alan Perlman founded UAV Coach, a drone pilot and sUAS industry training community, to help push the drone community forward and to help new pilots break into the sUAS industry.