This £650 drone records stabilised 4K video and photos

Vantage Robototics' Snap drone has a gimbal-stabilized camera for smoother video.


But that wasn't the only thing Vanatage had in mind when it developed the product.

"The biggest issue with any drone that shoots quality video is that it's essentially a big, flying lawnmower. If you're hit, you're cut; if it's in the eye, you're blinded," said Tobin Fisher, one of the company's co-founders.

To illustrate this, Fisher sometimes shows photographs of drone injuries that are definitely not for the squeamish.

He wanted to make a drone that was safer to use, so Snap's four rotors are covered by protectors. The company went through multiple designs to come up with one that doesn't interrupt the airflow to the rotors while ensuring no one ends up in the emergency room after an accident.

The body and electronics of the drone are housed in an enclosure that snaps onto the frame with magnets (shown here without the enclosure), giving the product its name.

In the event of a crash, that magnetic connection means the body can easily detach from the main body of the drone -- something that Fisher hopes will lead to less damage for the camera and whatever it hits.


And something else that's notable: with the body detached, the frame folds in half so that the drone can fit in pretty much any backpack. That could be really useful for people who want to take the unit on hikes and trips into the countryside.

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Snap is controlled with a smartphone and there are several shooting modes to choose from. "Follow me" will follow a tracking device worn by a person, "virtual wire" has the drone fly along a path drawn on a smartphone screen, and "air tripod" has the drone hover in a particular spot. It can also be geo-fenced, so it doesn't fly outside a user-defined area.


Snap has a range of about 150 metres, a top speed of about 30 miles per hour and will stay aloft for 20 minutes. Vantage is working on accessories that could push the range to 1,500 metres, or just under a mile, and up to an hour of flight time.


The company is working on hardware modules that can be attached or detached to change the feature set. One module will add automatic avoidance technology through a tiny laser scanning device called a LIDAR sensor.

Snap costs $995 (£650) during the preorder stage and will ship sometime in 2016. The price will later increase to $1,295 (£850), Fisher said.

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