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DJI launches GPS-enabled PHANTOM consumer quadcopter

By

January 7, 2013

The new PHANTOM quadcopter

The new PHANTOM quadcopter

Image Gallery (10 images)

Today, aerial platform manufacturer DJI announced its new consumer quadcopter, the PHANTOM. It has several features that set it apart from the popular AR Drone – which may or may not sell you on it.

First of all, the PHANTOM comes with its own dedicated hand-held radio-frequency control unit, that has a range of 300 meters (984 feet). The AR Drone, by contrast, is controlled by an app on a separate iOS or Android mobile device. If you already own such a device, that means you only have to buy the US$300 AR Drone itself, making it a better value. If you do need to buy a new smartphone or tablet, however, the $679 all-in-one PHANTOM starts to look a little better.

The PHANTOM also features a GPS-enabled autopilot mode. Among other things, this allows it to hold a particular position, or to automatically return to the last known location of its user, if it loses contact. Additionally, the PHANTOM features high-intensity red and green LEDs on the undersides of its four arms, designed to help users keep track of its orientation while in flight.

The PHANTOM and its RF remote

Another nifty feature is its camera mount, designed to hold compact video cameras such as the GoPro HERO. Unfortunately, however, the PHANTOM has no onboard camera of its own. This means that users can’t see things from the UAV’s point of view (which they can, with the AR Drone), so they’ll have to wait until the thing lands to see exactly what their GoPro was pointed at.

The aircraft's lithium-polymer battery offers a claimed 10 to 15 minutes of flight time – just about the same as the AR Drone. If that battery should run too low, the UAV will automatically land itself. The control unit additionally requires four AA batteries.

The PHANTOM can be seen in use in the rather goofy video below.

Source: DJI

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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12 Comments

since when do people appear out of the air with boulders to smash your remote

squidfish
7th January, 2013 @ 03:12 pm PST

Thanks Space! lol

Derek Howe
7th January, 2013 @ 06:38 pm PST

"since when do people appear out of the air with boulders to smash your remote"

Well it didn't start happening all at once. It started with just people appearing out of the air and it progressed from there.

Snake Oil Baron
7th January, 2013 @ 07:18 pm PST

Very cool & at a reasonable price!

Joe Sobotka
8th January, 2013 @ 08:09 am PST

DJI Phantom available in the Uk from http://quadcopters.co.uk/dji-phantom-ready-to-fly-quadcopter-570-p.asp with Free UK Shipping.

The DJI Phantom is great value for money and an ideal quadcopter for hobbyists to get a start into aerial photography and aerial video.

Quadcopters Uk
8th January, 2013 @ 10:23 pm PST

Our phantom quadcopter got away from us at dusk Sunday. It was heard

Landing. 5 days searching. Anyone know how far the range for audio is?

Trying to calculate how far the circumference is!

Help! Chopper down and storm is coming

Songbirdie
7th February, 2013 @ 12:02 pm PST

Excellent excellent piece of kit. Mine got stuck up a tree though...spatial awareness not so good! Got it down unharmed though. After an hour or two and a long ladder!

Simon Dale-Firstpersonview
2nd March, 2013 @ 05:18 am PST

Here is mine in a tree :-( http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kETTpiNz2uY/URuTIKKOlJI/AAAAAAAAAvY/Sr9CgEQYYkw/s1600/Phantom+Incident+03.JPG (With GoPro and FPV system onboard).

Simon Dale-Firstpersonview
9th March, 2013 @ 12:14 pm PST

You're right! that is a goofy video. I think the options are better for the AR Drone 2.0, especially if you are an enthusiast with limited funds. I already have an IPAD and smart phone so the drone would probably be my best option. $700 roughly is a stretch for just startring out.

Rene Andre Ferrier
16th March, 2013 @ 02:45 pm PDT

It's possible let the dji phantom follow another gps, mantaining the same distance (ex. a Tom Tom rider) with a fixed altitude ?

THX

Riccardo

Riccardo Di Domenico
1st April, 2013 @ 06:44 am PDT

Songbirdie :

how did it get away from you? it has a return to home function and will fly back if you flip the switch.

i use the same control system on my qav 500 quad and i have never had a fly away, it locks home position when you take off and if you loose rc signal or tell it to it will return to where it launched from, and its darn accurate, mine routinely lands within a a foot or so of its takeoff point

drgnfly004
12th April, 2013 @ 11:49 am PDT

We need a waterproof quadcopter!

Maurizio Borro
14th August, 2013 @ 02:36 pm PDT
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