Camera drones are the hottest products at CES 2015 this year – multiple companies including DJI, Pleiades and Hexo+ are unveiling their new camera drones for sale in 2015. Some of these have features that should make them smaller, cheaper and easier to use. Ranging from customer to more professional drones used in the film industry, we wanted to feature three of the most promising drones available for sale this year. With the exception of the DJI Inspire 1, the other two aren’t currently available to buy, but they will be later in 2015.
DJI is best known for dominating the consumer drone industry since introducing its range of DJI Phantom drones in 2013. Although the different Phantom drones shown below are the most popular models for the public, DJI is now introducing a new drone aimed at film makers worldwide.
This is the DJI Inspire 1. It attempts to bridge the gap between the consumer and the professional industry.
This is a professional camera drone that can be controlled with one remote, or two remotes if you want someone else controlling the camera. It streams in HD video directly to your device via the specialised DJI app available on the Android, Appstore and Microsoft mobile app stores. However, it’s what you can see that makes this drone stand out from the rest. Its built in camera shoots 4K video which means super sharp images and the ability to zoom in pretty far without losing image quality.
The Inspire 1 also has some next generation stabilisation tech. It will connect to as many GPS satellites as it can to hold itself steady. Even in strong winds, you won’t have to constantly correct the drone’s position, it will do it itself. The GPS technology will also let the Inspire 1 fly itself; if it loses contact with the transmitter, it will automatically fly home.
2. Spiri, by Pleiades
Canadian startup Pleiades is launching its first drone at CES. It’s still very much under development, but unlike the other starndard camera drones, Spiri can pretty much think for itself. Users can write programs for the drone enabling it to respond to coordinates, colours or even respond to music, moving up or down depending on the notes played. While it’s pretty fun having a pet drone with its own brain, Spiri technology seems to show us a scary look of what the future of drones can be. Once you give it a flight path, the drone’s onboard camera and sensors allows it to avoid obstacles and fly itself.
The HEXO+ is a camera drone with features that will appeal to the narcissistic sport fans worldwide. It follows you around wherever you go, and the ability to add a GoPro to the mount means that it will constantly record everything around you. The flight path is keyed into your phone’s GPS. You can also tell the drone to do special moves like circling around to your position.
This feature may appeal most to those climbing a summit and wanting to take a nice panoramic video from the top. One of the main drawbacks to the HEXO+, for now at least, is that it cannot avoid obstacles whilst flying, so you may want to stick to open areas. Trees and power lines should be totally avoided. But if you are out running on an open beach, or doing some extreme sports, then this would seem to be the best drone for you.
These are our top three drones featured at CES 2015. Check back soon to find out when the latter two drones are available for sale, and what the prices are likely to be. Remember, you can buy the DJI Inspire 1 straight away.