3D Robotics launches Iris quadcopter, for pre-assembled drone action

3D Robotics has made it pretty clearly that it's all about the maker community. But what about those who can't tell their Arduino from a Raspberry Pi? The Chris Anderson-run company today announced the release of Iris, an out-of-the-box, user-friendly quadcopter experience. The drone can be controlled with an Android device (iOS coming soon), including single button takeoffs and landings. There's an ARM Cortex-M4 processor and a built-in data radio on-board, the latter of which will help you check out flight paths in real-time. There's also a spot for a GoPro Hero3, though that, naturally, will cost you ($400) extra. The configurable copter starts at $730. It's set to ship on September 16th.

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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.

Iris can be controlled by an Android tablet or phone (iOS coming soon) or through a nine-channel radio control transmitter (included). With a mobile app, takeoff and landing can be done with a single touch, and mission planning is as simple as tapping on a map and drawing a path that Iris will follow.

3DR's newest quadcopter is designed with a wide angle between the front arms to provide a clear view for its onboard camera, an optional GoPro Hero3 ® that can also be included in the package. The arms and legs are produced from Zytel Nylon ® for the ultimate in wear, abrasion and impact resistance. They come in various colors, and are easily and inexpensively replaced if required.

Iris sports a high-performance 32-bit autopilot system built on an ARM Cortex-M4 processor that runs a real-time operating system and uses the latest ST Microelectronics sensors. The flight code represents over four years of professional development and testing in a community of over 40,000 users. Iris also features an integrated power-distribution/motor-control board to reduce weight and increase available payload capacity. All of Iris's electronics are housed under a sleek shell that provides impact protection and aerodynamic efficiency.

Iris includes an impressive list of features that are unequaled at the price point:

Multiple control options provide redundancy and flexibility: RC, computer, phone, tablet

Built-in data radio for real-time mission monitoring, data-logging, and control

Powerful cross-platform ground station/mission planning and analysis software that runs on Windows, OS X and Linux, providing simple point-and-click programming and configuration

Mobile apps allow intuitive "draw a path" mission-planning

Camera options include a live video link with programmable on-screen-display, and will soon support a fully integrated stabilized camera gimbal with autopilot control

GoPro® compatible camera mount

Available with a 9-channel RC transmitter pre-programmed for the most popular flight modes.

Pre-programmed GPS waypoints allow for professional-grade mission capabilities, such as mapping, scripted cinematography, scientific research, and other applications where repeatable flight plans are required

Auto takeoff and landing along with Return-To-Launchpoint command at the press of a button or under programmable failsafe conditions

Follow Me function for the ultimate "selfies". In this mode, Iris will follow (at an adjustable distance) any ground station device equipped with a GPS antenna and one of our 3DR telemetry/control radios

Geo Fencing provides a virtual box to keep your drone within a user-selectable space

Open source flight code, ground station software and electronics are all freely distributed under standard open source licenses. This means that Iris' capabilities are always improving and expanding with a simple firmware update!

Ready-to-fly Iris packages are currently available for pre-order from 3D Robotics and will begin shipping September 16th. These pre-ordered vehicles are intended for developer-level users who are familiar and comfortable with operating multi-rotor vehicles from 3D Robotics. A full consumer release of the product will follow shortly thereafter.