Drone specialist Freefly Systems presented its new Astro drone platform to complement the ALTA range of professional drones for workhorses.
Freefly systems are best known in the independent filmmaking community for their Mōvi gimbals. But they made professional drones before the Mōvi. In fact, the gimbal was sort of a by-product of camera drone development. Freefly just left out the drone itself, redesigned the camera mount and voilá, they got themselves an earthbound camera stabilizer.
Freefly's products are in the upper range of the professional spectrum and are suitable for larger productions and industrial applications. (Mapping, inspection, search and rescue, etc.) Still, Freefly has ventured into consumer goods as well.
4 rotors, 2 batteries, foldable, robustly built. Photo credit: Freefly Systems
The Astro Drone Platform
The Astro is a rugged mid-range commercial quadcopter drone platform. It is primarily aimed at professional applications outside of filmmaking such as building and structural inspection, first aid applications (see: Infrared Imaging for Fire Fighting), and surveying.
The 60 megapixel Sony a7R IV camera, however, makes it interesting for independent filmmakers and also for film applications. The gimbal developed for the Astro has a quick release so that the payload can be changed quickly.
The Astro has LTE cloud connectivity, a Linux-based on-board computer for cracking data and RTK (R.eal-T.ime K.inematic – GNSS positioning of the drone with centimeter accuracy). Integration via the Auterion Air, Ground and Cloud SDK is possible.
Freefly claims that the foldable drone's set-up times from suitcase to flight are less than two minutes. The plane itself fits in a (large) backpack.
The flight time is approximately 30 minutes, depending on the payload, the ambient temperature and other factors.
Price and availability
The base price for the airframe only is $ 7,995. The base kit ($ 9,995) includes a pair of batteries, a hard case, a charger, and a remote control. For $ 14,995, you get everything in the base kit and the Sony a7R IV.
Support for other cameras better suited for filmmaking could come in the future when manufacturers open up their control protocols to Freefly.
The new 35mm high-speed camera "Wave", which was just released by Freefly, will be delivered in the fourth quarter of this year and also complements the Astro.
Sony a7R IV on the integrated Astro Gimbal. Photo credit: Freefly Systems
You can now reserve your drone. As soon as Astro is available, Freefly will reach customers in the order in which the request was received.
You can find more information about the Astro on the Freefly System website.
Note: The fact that the Astro is a quadcopter might be relevant to some people. Here in Austria, for example, a quadcopter cannot legally be used over buildings, in built-up areas or over people.
Please let us know your thoughts on the new Freefly Systems drone in the comments below.