Camera-carrying hobby drones are now large and sophisticated enough to allow anyone to take stills and videos that once would have required a helicopter. Unfortunately, that capability is marred when the drone's landing gear keeps getting in the way or when getting that video of a mountain glen means trekking in with an unwieldy flying machine. Yuneec International's Typhoon H hexacopter frees up the camera with retractable landing gear, plus it has a folding design that makes the craft backpackable.

Made from carbon fiber, the 4-lb (1.8-kg) Typhoon H has six arms with props that quickly disconnect from the motors. The arms fold down from the flight position when not in use, so the copter can be stowed in the bespoke hardcase backpack.

The Typhoon H also boasts retractable landing gear that pulls up in flight to provide an unobstructed view for the 360º gimbal camera, which is set in a motorized mount for unlimited panning. Unlike the more expensive DJI Inspire 1, which uses articulated rotor booms that double as an undercarriage, the Typhoon uses dedicated legs that fold completely up and out of the way.

The camera takes both 12-megapixel stills and 4K videos, and has a 115º F2 lens and electronic shutter. The video system has a transmission range of up to 1,000 m (3,280 ft) and has an HD 720p video downlink. This makes it comparable to the specs of the DJI's Phantom 3, though the transmission range of the Typhoon is a third less and its field of view is slightly larger.

A 14.8 V lithium-ion battery gives the Typhoon H a flight time of up to 22 minutes. The flight ceiling is 122 m (400 ft) and it can do 22.4 mph (36 km/h) flat out, with a maximum rotation rate of 85° and a maximum roll rate of 35°.

The Typhoon H drone is controlled with an Android-based ST16 controller with an integrated 7-in display. Features include Point of Interest, Orbit, Curved Cable and Journey, Geo-fencing, Variable Speed Control, Dynamic Return Home, Low-Battery Return Home, and FAA No Fly. In addition, there's ultrasonic proximity detection, and a failsafe that brings the drone safely to earth in the event of a motor failure.

Yuneec International says that it is developing mission-specific modules for the Typhoon H, including a high-performance collision avoidance module and an advanced IR camera module.

The Typhoon H retails for US$1,799, and was just unveiled at CES. Its features are outlined in the video below.

Source: Yuneec International