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3DR Launches $999 Solo: The Smart Drone

BY Alan Perlman
21 April 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, Solo has arrived.

Below is an email from 3D Robotics announcing their latest $999 consumer drone.

We set out a year ago with the promise of not just creating the best drone, but the best overall aerial filmmaking experience imaginable. While this meant giving Solo smooth and powerful flight dynamics, it also demanded we make a smarter drone, one that could abstract users from flying so they can focus on getting great video. We know that what you really want is great shots. You want a professional tool that enables you to get those shots easily and consistently, right out of the box. Solo delivers on this promise: You get the shot, every time.

solo smart drone launch

We’re proud to introduce you to Solo: The Smart Drone. Why is Solo smart? We’ve integrated 1 GHz computers in both the copter and the controller for the best and smoothest aerial photography experience imaginable, including many world-first technologies and a host of built-in safety and support features. Solo will be available in May, starting at $999.

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The Controller

Solo is the world’s first drone to wirelessly deliver HD video from your GoPro® to your iOS or Android mobile device, at distances up to half a mile away. Solo’s controller has an HDMI output for live HD broadcast—to FPV goggles, high-quality field monitors, Jumbotrons at live sports events, even news vans—and with a staggeringly low video latency your live video is immediate and fluid for an “in-the-moment” feel. For instant social sharing of your aerial videos, you can even record the live video stream directly from the mobile app to your device’s camera roll. And this is just the beginning; check out below to see all of the Controller’s features:

solo drone controller

Introducing, Smart Shots

Solo’s intelligence unlocks powerful and one-of-a-kind computer-assisted Smart Shots (patent pending). Just set up the exact shot you want in real time, then tap “play” on the app and Solo will execute it with a level of precision and a soft touch that even seasoned cinema pilots can’t match. And with a list of Smart Shots to choose from, the perfect shot is always just a few taps away. Cable cam and Orbit allow you to create a known and safe flight path along a virtual track in space, freeing you to shift your focus to getting the shot you want; or simply hit “play” and let Solo fly itself while simultaneously working the camera for you, as smooth and even as an expert cameraman. Follow mode lets you go completely hands-free, while Solo keeps up with your every move. Solo also features a one-touch aerial Selfie for a dramatic and customizable establishing Smart Shot of you and your surroundings. It’s all in service of Solo’s guiding principle: Get the shot. Every time.

solo smart shots

The Solo Gimbal

We worked closely with GoPro®, the world’s most popular action camera company, to make the first gimbal capable of fully controlling the GoPro. Solo gives you the exclusive ability to start and stop recording video while in flight, which means that when it comes time to edit you have a reel of “fat free” GoPro footage and no longer have to deal with huge, cumbersome file sizes. You can also snap photos, change FOV, FPS and exposure compensation and much more—through Solo’s mobile app at long range, or dedicated buttons on the controller. The 3-axis Solo Gimbal stabilizes the camera to within 0.1 degrees of pointing accuracy and powers the GoPro the whole time so the camera’s battery won’t die midflight. Combine with Solo’s controller and get fine-grain tilt control, including angle presets and instant speed adjustment; or you can just hit “play” on the mobile app and let Solo’s computer fully control the gimbal for the perfect shot. The Solo Gimbal delivers all of these advanced capabilities while providing a painless and tool-free method of installing and removing the GoPro. We even include The Frame by GoPro installed with Solo, so you can easily snap in your GoPro and get a live HD video feed out of the box, without a gimbal.

solo drone gimbal

I’ll leave you with some words from our CEO.

“Solo is a breakthrough in intelligent flight. It’s not just smarter so that it can do more; it’s smarter so that you have to do less. We’ve turned the Hollywood toolkit into software and allowed everyone to experience what it’s like to make epic video, both behind and in front of the camera. Solo will expand our concept of what a drone can be and do, using advanced autonomous technology to make creativity easier. Rather than needing skill to capture a great shot, you can let the software do the work. Even better, you can be in the shot—you can be the subject of your life’s story, not just the director.”
— Chris Anderson

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