The Spry looks like a typical quadcopter — until you flip it upside-down and toss it in the water. Designed by waterproof drone company SwellPro and Urban Drones, the Spry can navigate both in the air and in water with its (also waterproof) controller. Launching on Kickstarter and fully funded in a day, the Spry crosses both aerial and aquatic categories.
The Spry and its controller float in the water, allowing the drone to take off and land in water. Flip the drone over, and the props can help the drone navigate the water, though the company hasn’t yet detailed how fast or how long the drone can maneuver like a boat. While the company has launched air-to-water drones before like the Splash 3, the company says the Spry is the first that can also temporarily navigate underwater like a submarine using the propellers. (once the propellers stop, the floating drone returns to the surface).
In the air, the Spry is a mix between a racing drone and a camera drone. The drone uses a 4K 30fps camera with 12-megapixel stills, but with the GPS disabled, the drone can hit top speeds of more than 43 mph. With the GPS, the drone offers flight patterns like auto follow and object orbit, along with options like returning to the pilot’s position and holding the drone’s position in the air. The mobile app also allows pilots to pre-set a flight path using waypoints.
The camera sensor is from Sony, using the 1/2.3-inch size common in basic point-and-shoots. Controlling the camera from the remote control, the pilot can also tilt the camera to adjust the view from float to fly.
The included controller is also waterproof and floats, integrating a 4.3-inch monitor for live video. The drone’s Wi-Fi allows for streaming the footage to multiple devices at once, the company says, including optional flight goggles.
“The Spry’s ability to submerge under water and fly in the air makes it the most versatile drone ever created. We’ve only seen this in science-fiction movies,” Alex Rodriguez, Urban Drones CEO, said in a statement.
While the water-to-air design is unusual, the drone uses only a vertical axis gimbal mixed with electronic stabilization — there is some noticeable wobble to the sample footage shared by the company. Full specs on how long the drone can move on water — and underwater — also aren’t yet available. And while the Kickstarter is fully funded, there is always a potential risk with crowdfunded projects.
If the project is successful, early backers could pick up the drone for about $770; the company expects the retail price to be about $990. The company anticipates delivering the drones in December.
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