This tiny drone packs Sony’s 4K Exmor sensor into one high-tech frame

by Gannon Burgett

posted Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 8:32 PM EST

It seems as though each new day brings a new drone to the market. As a result, companies are looking to become more and more innovative and advanced than the previous days’ products.

One such company is Vantage Robotics, whose Snap drone packs a lot of power and a clever design into a device that can fit inside your backpack.

Built with video in mind, the Snap uses Sony’s Exmor IMX 377 1/2.3” 4K sensor – the first drone to our knowledge that contains Sony’s Exmor sensor. In addition to shooting 4K footage at 30fps, Snap can also capture 1080p video at up to 120fps for those times when slow-motion is a priority.

To help capture quality footage, Snap uses a handful of innovative features, from patented hardware to customized modules.

First up is Smart Tracking, a feature that ensures you (or a subject of your choice) is always the center of attention by providing a virtual leash between Snap and the subject.

Next up is Vantage Robotics’ patent-pending Smooth-Lock Gimbal which keeps the weight down through better design and proprietary motors (gimbals tend to be one of the heaviest aspects of any drone).

Tying in with the Smooth-Lock Gimbal is Vantage Robotics’ proprietary YawLock, which provides maximum yaw (rotation on the vertical access) control for more precise pans and movement.

All of these features are driven by sensors. A lot of sensors. Vantage Robotics, whose team includes Darpa Grand Challenge winners, has managed to pack in some of the best GPS, sonar, gyros, accelerometers, magnetometers, barometers and geo-aware image sensors on the market. The result is a seamless piece of equipment that works exactly as it should.

Other unique design aspects includes the use of ‘Tenegrity Pods’ to protect the drone’s propellers from damage. Inspired by bicycle spokes, the protective structure is made out of small strings weaved together to create an incredibly lightweight and forgiving structure.

Lastly, Snap uses what Vantage Robotics calls ‘MagConnect’, a technology inspired by Formula 1 cars that uses magnets to hold together the drone. This not only makes it a snap to use, but also aides the operator in the event of a crash, as the kinetic energy is more evenly distributed throughout, minimizing the likelihood of major damage.

Thanks to a ‘Smart Battery’, Snap offers 20 minutes of flight time at a top speed of 30MPH. And don’t worry if your drone is out and about as the battery is dying — it keeps track of where it is at all times and will automatically return to you before the battery runs out.

Below is a quick look at the Snap drone from The Verge:

All in all, Snap looks to be one of the most impressive options out there for wannabe drone owners who prefer simplicity and innovative design above all else. Snap is set to ship in Spring 2016.

You can pre-order yours now on Vantage Robotics’ store for a total of $915, almost $400 off what it will eventually retail for.