Drone specialist Freefly Systems introduced their new drone platform Astro to complement their workhorse ALTA line of professional drones.
Freefly Systems are best known in the independent filmmaking community for their Mōvi gimbals. But they have been making professional drones before the Mōvi. As a matter of fact, the gimbal was kind of a by-product of camera-drone-development. Freefly just omitted the drone itself, reengineered the camera mount, and voilá, they got themselves an earthbound camera stabilizer.
Freefly’s products are at the higher-end of the professional spectrum and cater to larger productions and for industrial applications. (Mapping, inspection, search, and rescue etc.) Nevertheless, Freefly has ventured into consumer products, too.
The Astro Drone Platform
The Astro is a rugged mid-range commercial quadcopter drone platform. It’s primarily aimed at non-filmmaking professional applications like inspection of buildings and structures, first responder applications (think: infrared imaging for firefighting), and surveying.
However, the 60 megapixel Sony a7R IV camera makes it interesting for independent filmmakers, and cinematic applications as well. The gimbal that has been developed for the Astro features a quick-release, so it’s possible to change payloads swiftly.
The Astro features LTE Cloud connectivity, a Linux-based on-board computer to crunch data, and RTK (Real-Time Kinematic — centimeter-accurate GNSS positioning of the drone). Integration via the Auterion Air, Ground- and Cloud SDK is possible.
Freefly claim that setup times of the foldable drone from case to flight is less than two minutes. The aircraft itself fits into a (large) backpack.
Flight-time will be around 30 minutes, depending of course on the payload, ambient temperature, and other factors.
Price and availability
Base-price for only the airframe is $7,995. The Base Kit ($9,995) includes a pair of batteries, a hard case, charger and remote. For $14,995 you get everything in the Base Kit and the Sony a7R IV.
Support for other cameras that are better suited for filmmaking might come in the future, when manufacturers open up their control protocols for Freefly to use.
The new “Wave” 35mm high speed camera, that has just been release by Freefly will ship in Q4 of this year and will also complement the Astro nicely.
You can reserve your drone now and once Astro is available, Freefly reach out to customers in the order the request was received.
Lern more about the Astro at Freefly System’s website.
Note: The fact that the Astro is a quadcopter might be relevant to some folks. Here in Austria, for example, a quadcopter cannot legally be used above buildings, in a built-up area or above people.
Please let us know your thoughts on the new drone from Freefly Systems in the comments below.