GoPro FINALLY to release KARMA - The GoPro drone

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A couple of years ago, GoPro leaked they were planning to pursue the hobby/prosumer drone market with their own ground-up drone design. After a few delays and much hullabaloo, KARMA is slated to ship on November 28th.

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GoPro plans to release KARMA in three flavors: Bundled with the Hero5 Black, with the Hero5 Black gimbal, but no camera, or with a Hero4/3 compatible gimbal (no camera). They also plan to release a Hero Session version sometime in 2017.

It’s interesting to note the KARMA bundles include a “grip handle” which converts KARMA’s gimbal to a handheld steadycam. Also, each bundle seems to include a GoPro fitted backpack.

Also a nice surprise: KARMA controller has an integrated 720p color LED display (presumably for FPV?). I’m guessing this means “no mobile device required”. A nice departure from DJI, which requires a mobile device. Although it’s possible to fly 3DR’s Solo with no mobile device, access to advanced features requires connection to a mobile device running the Solo app. A standalone package from GoPro will be a great addition to the market.

With MSRP ranging from $799 for the no-camera bundles to $1,099 including a Hero5 Black, GoPro is poised to take on DJI’s Phantom 4.

But what about capabilities? Here’s the tech specs published at GoPro.com:

KARMA
Maximum Speed 35 mph (15 m/s)
Maximum Distance Up to 9,840ft (3,000m)
Maximum Flight Altitude 10,500ft (3,200m)
Maximum Wind Resistance 22mph (10m/s)
Operating Frequency 2.4GHz
Dimensions (Opened/No Propellers) Length: 12in (303mm)
Width: 16.2in (411mm)
Height: 4.6in (117mm)
Dimensions (Folded/Transport) Length: 14.4in (365.2mm)
Width: 8.8in (224.3mm)
Height: 3.5in (89.9mm)
Propeller Length 10in (25.4cm)
Weight 35.5oz (1006g)

KARMA controller
Screen Size 5in (12.7cm)
Screen Resolution 720p
Screen Brightness 900 nits
Battery Life 4 hours
Operating Frequency 2.4GHz
Weight 22oz (625g)

KARMA battery
Dimensions Length: 8in (201.3mm)
Width: 3.6in (91.62mm)
Height: 1.75in (42.7mm)
Weight 19.3oz (545g)
Flight Time Up to 20 minutes
Rating 14.8V 5100mAH (75.4Wh)
Battery Type Li-Po

KARMA gimbal
Range of motion -90° to 0° (down/up)
Camera Compatibility HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO4 Black/Silver
Weight 8oz (230g)
Number of Axes 3

Of course the first thing I noticed is the (relatively) short battery life. 20 minutes pales compared to DJI’s claim of “up to 28 minutes”. Perhaps GoPro has decided to adopt a “honesty in specifications” approach and 20 minutes is the real-world performance rather than the “it’s possible to hover in place inside a windless lab environment for 28 minutes with a brand new, freshly charged battery”?

As far as controller/software capabilities, I haven’t read through all the data yet, nor have I watched GoPro’s promo video, so I have no idea what to expect. But something that might interest @fultonmartin: KARMA folds up into a tidy package like DJI Mavic:
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So… any takers? I have to say I’m interested. My Solo was stolen from my home recently, and I’m actively shopping for a replacement.

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