We haven’t heard much out of camp UVify since it showed us its racing drone at CES back in early January. At the time, the company promised delivery by “as early as next quarter.” The Draco is capable of speeds of up to 100 MPH, but actually getting the thing out the door has apparently been a bit less rapid. Now, after what sounds like a decent rethink/rebuild, the palm-sized drone finally starts shipping today.
The Draco is an attempt to tap into the burgeoning world of racing drones by offering a ready-to-fly solution right out of the box. We were pretty impressed by what we saw in the parking lot of our Vegas hotel several months back -- the thing is a extremely speedy for an off-the-shelf drone and capable of some cool areal maneuvers. At the time, the product’s battery didn’t seem like much, though we were dealing with a pretty early demo.
Among the biggest changes to the drone from the last time we saw it in action is the move from two separate analog and digital transmission systems to a device that does both. Analog tends to be preferred by drone racers for its stability, while digital is the preferred solution for people looking to transmit video and stills with the device. With both on-board, pilots will have a backup system in case one conks out.
Like before, the drone is offered in a modular configuration, making it easier for users to replace pieces like the arms, in the seemingly inevitable event of a crash. The system also features a swappable battery, because these things tend not to stay in the air for long on a single charge.
Along with global shipping today, the drone will be available at b8ta in San Francisco in the near future, so people can actually see the thing up close before buying. At $699, the cost doesn’t seem crazy, given what the little drone is capable of, but it will be interesting to see if there’s a large enough contingent of hobbyist drone racers to support the project. Not only that, but hobbyist racers who aren’t interested in building their own drone from components. Those two things often go hand in hand.