According to Geoff Mathews the CEO of Convoy the new drone has proved so popular with retailers that he has been forced to air freight units into Australia to meet demands from both consumer and pro users.
The new Solo has attracted rave reviews in Europe and the USA.
SmartHouse got our first play with the new drone at the recent IFA show in Berlin after first seeing it at CES earlier this year.
According to Convoy management the Company who traditionally sell headphones, top end Hi Fi gear and Monster cables have been working on the launch of the new drone that is being ranged by camera dealers and Harvey Norman for more than 12 months.
Several new retailers are set to sell the highly popular drone that comes with its own controller.
Described as a fantastic tool for capturing stunning aerial shots that would otherwise be impossible even for experienced quadcopter pilots the drone is not cheap at nearly $2,000 for an entry level model.
A key feature is the ‘return to home’ button that brings the Solo back to you – handy if you lose sight of it.
A 5200mAh battery clips into the top of the craft and lasts up to 25 minutes, or 20 if you’re using a gimbal and GoPro camera.
The latter two components are optional extras but essential if you want to control a Go Pro camera whose software commands can be replicated on the Solo control system.
The basic Solo comes with a fixed frame and an HDMI cable so you can see the view from your Hero. It’s just that the footage won’t be stable. Whatever you choose, you’ll always see a great live view with very little latency (120ms, in fact).
The gimbal may be expensive, but it’s well designed. It has a flexible, yet sturdy micro HDMI connector which plugs into the side of your GoPro.
According to Mathews, 3DR worked closely with GoPro to ensure full compatibility. This means that as well as being able to see a high quality video feed on your iOS or Android device, you also have full control over the GoPro’s settings remotely. So if you want to change the resolution, field of view or anything else while flying, you can.
The controller has a ‘paddle’ on the left shoulder (to the right in the image above) for adjusting the tilt angle of the camera, and two buttons on the opposite side which put the camera at two different pre-set angles.
There’s a small LCD display in the centre of the controller shows the precise angle along with other useful information.
3DR is currently working on an indoor flight system which uses optical flow sensors which it says are better than sonar.
3DR argues that few people need to fly indoors or in areas with no GPS coverage, so it’s better to have a more expensive, higher-quality positioning system for those who really need it.
The Solo is also “built to evolve” and has swappable motor pods. In the future it might be possible to buy higher quality, more powerful motors which would be impossible to provide on a mass-produced quadcopter.
The drone itself has a 1GHz Linux-based computer (and a second computer in the controller). It’s the only consumer quadcopter to have this sort of technology built in.
Instead of the transmitter communicating directly with the flight controller, commands are sent via the Linux computer. If there’s a problem and the flight controller stops receiving information, it waits for the Linux computer to reboot and simply hovers in place. If it gets no further information, it’s programmed to return to the home location.
SmartHouse will bring you a full review of the Drone shortly.