SAN DIEGO, CA – August 19th, 2013
Today 3D Robotics (3DR) announced Iris — an advanced quadcopter with full GPS-guided autonomous capabilities. Iris is designed to provide an “out-of-the-box” flying experience that brings the power of professional grade aerial robotics to the mass market.
Well it’s not quite out of the box ready yet though – thus my skeptical title. Reading a little further than the first paragraph of their press release and making it to their purchase page, I quickly learned from the big red text that the initial release of this platform is meant for developers and experienced operators who want to help in the overall development process. I guess it’s acceptable nowadays to pay $700+ to be part of the testing and development crew. To each his own, and good luck folks!
The red text on the purchase page also states that these little quadcopters will in fact be ready to fly out of the box, so I have a feeling that some of the folks making the purchase will not necessarily be as advanced as 3DR would like them to be. It is becoming apparent that companies like DJI and 3D Robotics want to bring RC MultiRotors to the masses in easy, user-friendly formats. But as those of us with some experience in this realm know that there is currently no MultiRotor platform that is truly turnkey and problem free. Some level of knowledge is needed to safely and pleasurably operate these little beasts, despite what DJI would have users believe. Yes, I’m poking at the way they market the Phantom.
My first thought when I saw the 3DR press release was that now DJI has some competition chasing them down for the mainstream consumer market. I think it’s a little way off though, as the Iris may scare away brand new users where the Phantom is something your little sister can fly. We’re early in the game now and there will only be more players at the table as time passes. The race is truly on to create the most user friendly consumer platform. We’ll be watching.
The full press release by 3D Robotics can be read here.