The Drone U Flight crew is rather excited for the announcement of Freefly's newest integrated aircraft, the Astro. Drone pilots argue this is the best American drone to be announced of all the recent drones.
During a recent Auterion Webinar, Freefly Systems announced their new integrated American drone, the Astro. As avid drone pilots fear a Chinese drone ban, pilots wonder which American manufacturer will offer an integrated, portable and reliable drone. A drone that would actually compete with existing offerings from DJI. We recently wrote about the Prism system which allows for multi-integrated payloads and propulsion systems.
Freefly's Astro drone seems to offer the most bang for the buck. The Drone U community has been wondering who would produce the Honda Civic of drones. What does this mean? A drone that you can count on all the time. It just works, it is easy to use and thus easily scalable. The drone can also capture great photos, videos and be used for autonomous missions for mapping.
Many professional pilots understand the difficulty of building a drone for autonomous mapping missions. An integrated drone can fly automated missions at a decent distance (1500 feet away). An integrated drone can autonomously shutter the camera to obtain the right amount of overlap. This drone must also have a smart battery system so the drone doesn't fall out of the sky upon returning home. It must be able to calculate available remaining battery power.
The FreeFly Astro is a foldable drone with folding props, which means it will be fairly quiet. The Freefly team, lead by Tabb, showcased the Astro in a backpack. The Freefly Astro is so far, the number one contender for the best American drone. The astro offers a portable and integrated solutions. Meaning drone pilots should take flight rather easily.
We're really excited to see a drone, almost of Inspire size that fits in a backpack and can map. This folding drone looks promising.
Drone pilots have been looking for an American drone that has control distance comparable to DJI drones. The Freefly Astro uses the Herelink digital video transmission system. We have not flown an aircraft with this command and control link system. We cannot provide a practical flight distance of that system. Albeit, one youtube showcases how you can acquire 9.8 miles of VTX distance with this system. To see a digital system is exciting as it implies a longer transmission distance.
Freefly has announced the Astro will come in three packages!
You can reserve your Astro Drone here:
Max flight time on the drone is 38 minutes (at sea level) and 30 minutes for the mapping pro drone. Frankly, we are very excited about this drone platform. To have an integrated camera and gimbal, that folds into a backpack.. We're in... (we just have to fly it first)
The flight crew is rather excited for the Astro Mapping Pro kit. This kit includes a Sony A7r4 camera, gimbal and the drone with batteries and remote. To see that they offer an easy-to-use mapping platform has us greatly excited. Albeit, we wonder what the limitations will be in autonomous missions and features.
This drone platform is proven to have superior flight characteristics. How do we know? You can see some of the design features from the Alta X. Drone U believes this drone may be the best American drone simply due to the engineering in flight characteristics. We are also excited for this drone because it will raise the bar for drone pilots. The drone will not have any obstacle avoidance, forcing the pilots to remain spatially aware.
Built with the Sony A7R4, we can expect exceptional mapping capabilities. The right shutter, a large 60mp sensor and a camera system pilots are familiar with.
The Astro is not just portable and powerful, it can also fly in adverse weather conditions. (don't forget that 3 mi visibility rule..) This drone also is IP43 rating offering better conditions in poor weather. This drone is truly exciting for drone teams, programs and DSPs.
While we have not flown this aircraft yet, we believe Freefly may be leading the horse race of American drone manufactuers. This particular drone will offer great video, photo and mapping capabilities for a great price point.
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