Is GoPro about to step into DJI’s turf with its own consumer drone? The Wall Street Journal thinks so…


posted Friday, November 28, 2014 at 6:21 PM EST


Action camera maker GoPro's offerings have proven very popular with videographers looking to document some fairly extreme sports, but there's another market niche which has popped up over the last few years that the company may not have been anticipating. Now, it looks set to take advantage of that opportunity.

The rise of affordable multicopters -- drones, in mainstream media parlance -- has seen a large number of photo and video fans taking to the skies, and wanting a camera along for the trip. It turns out that the GoPro series are among the lightest cameras offering reasonable image quality and a fair degree of ruggedness, which has led to their popularity among pilots of radio-controlled aircraft of all shapes and sizes.

Parrot's BeBop is among the smaller and more affordable consumer drones on the market.

Drone maker DJI offers multicopters to which cameras like the GoPro can be attached, but it has also countered the action cameras with popular quadcopters like its Phantom 2 Vision and Vision+ series, which feature their own built-in cameras with reasonably good image quality, providing a complete ready-to-fly aerial photo / video platform. Now, GoPro may be looking to broaden its scope as well, but in the other direction.

The DJI Phantom 2 Vision features a built-in camera with remote tilt functionality.

An article from the Wall Street Journal speculates that the company may soon offer its own ready-to-fly multicopters complete with built-in, high-definition cameras, providing competition to the likes of DJI and Parrot. Pricing is forecast to be in the region of US$500 to US$1,000, making these quads affordable even for consumers who are by now very familiar with the GoPro name. That brand familiarity could help it get a footing in a market that until now has been dominated by relatively lesser-known companies.

The recently-launched DJI Inspire 1 caters to advanced enthusiasts and pros at a significantly higher pricepoint than that expected for GoPro's offering.

Assuming that the WSJ's information is correct, a GoPro multicopter could hit the market as soon as late 2015, which could see them on sale and having gained awareness from the public by the time that the FAA issues rules on commercial drone use. More details can be found in the WSJ article.