Drones are all the rage right now and with details of GoPro’s Karma drone still a bit foggy, Vantage Robotics has released the Snap, a 1.26lb/570g autonomous follow-drone that shoots 4k footage.
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With a built-in two-axis mechanical and electronic gimbal, Vantage Robotics says the Snap will shoot stabilized video at up to 4k 30fps, or super slow-mo 1080p 120fps or 720p at 240fps, and can even shoot 12mp still images in bursts up to 10fps — for reference the GoPro Hero4 Black also shoots 4k at 30fps, 1080p 120fps or 720p at 240fps, but can take 12mp photos at 30fps.
Measuring 13.9inx12.48inx2.48in (353mmx317mmx63mm) the Snap drone folds in half for storage and should fit in a decent sized riding pack.
Compatible with both IOS and Android, the Snap drone can either be flown using your smartphone or set autonomously to follow you.
Using the GPS location on your phone and internal sensors, Vantage Robotics says the drone has a “tracking precision of under three meters” so it should be able to avoid trees, power lines, and other obstacles out on the trail. We do wonder however if the Snap will struggle in areas where network coverage is spotty.
In the auto tracking function there are three modes: Air Tripod mode where the drone will stay in place but rotate and pitch the camera to keep you in the frame; Virtual Wire mode where you select a start and end point and the Snap will follow your orientation (lead, strafe or follow); and Free Form mode that will follow you in any direction along a course with the ability to set parameters using the dynamic geofencing feature.
The drone also features auto-ground avoidance and a return home function to prevent crashes and flying off.
With a top speed of 30mph/40kph, beyond a high-speed descent on smooth tarmac, it’s not likely that you’ll outrun the Snap drone, and Vantage says it can hold its own in 20mph/32kph winds.
Being such a small, lightweight and seemingly powerful little unit, the Snap drone only has a battery life of 20 minutes, however at launch extra batteries will be available — while the battery life may seem short it’s worth mentioning that the DJ Phantom 4 is only rated for 28 minutes on a full charge.
The team at Vantage Robotics also says there will be add-ons such as high wind rotor kits that will also extend flight time, obstacle avoidance and a range extender.
Set to ship in October, the Snap drone will retail for US$1,295, though they’re offering a pre-order price of US$895. UK and AU pricing are not currently available, however Vantage Robotics will ship the Snap drone internationally.