Could 2014 be the year that drones become mainstream? San Diego-based AirDroids think so. They’re the startup behind The Pocket Drone – a $495 flying robot that folds down small enough to fit in a backpack, but is powerful enough to carry a GoPro camera.
Launched recently on Kickstarter, Pocket Drone has been specifically designed for anyone who likes the idea of owning a drone – but has been put off by the price, complexity, and bulkiness of existing solutions.
It’s a tricopter (three rotors), which AirDroids says allows for the longest flying time of any sub-$500 priced drone – most of which have four rotors. The rechargeable battery pack can provide enough power for up to 20 minutes of flight while carrying a GoPro camera or a payload of up to one and a half pounds in weight.
Thanks to a collapsible design, Pocket Drone can fold up to a super-compact form factor, making it extremely portable. When folded it has the footprint of a 7-inch tablet – making it small enough to throw in a backpack. Made from high-impact plastic and carbon fiber, it should also be pretty durable in both transport and flight.
It can be controlled with either a standard RC controller or an Android smartphone or tablet, and the flight software can be modified with open source tools. There’s also the option to program flights – it has integrated GPS tracking, flight planning using Google Maps, and a “Follow Me” mode.
Although not currently compatible with iOS devices, fear not Apple fans – support is on the horizon.
The Pocket Drone has certainly got off to a flying start. With 47 days still remaining, AirDroids have seen their Kickstarter funding goal of $35,000 smashed. At the time of writing this post, pledges are over $309,000!
Overall, it looks like a very capable little drone – I’m definitely going to be following its progress closely.
What do you think of it? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below, or on your preferred social network.