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  • Charl Jooste

Exciting new Astro Drone Launch announced by Freefly and Auterion

Freefly Astro powered by Auterion. Image: Freefly Systems

Freefly has been in the commercial drone business for more than a decade and when they launch a new model you know it is going to be an exciting development. This is especially true when they team-up with Auterion, leaders in open source drone software systems. The Astro is a new multi-use commercial drone that was developed jointly by these two remarkable companies in the commercial and enterprise drone space.

This mighty workhorse is designed for the toughest and most demanding commercial and industrial drone applications for industry, government, and other organizations.

A brief rundown from their joint press release will give you a hint at what this beast is capable of:

Astro Payloads. Image: Freefly Systems

“With a 2 lb payload, the Astro can achieve a 30 minute flight time, supports over nine payload options including the industry leading 60 megapixel Sony A7R4, folds into a backpack, is weather sealed, and cloud connected,” says an Auterion press release. “The Astro is engineered and built by Freefly around the Auterion Skynode reference design and is powered by Auterion Enterprise PX4 software on board and by Auterion Mission Control on the ground station. The platform provides customers’ with fleet management, 4G LTE connectivity for online workflows, predictive maintenance, geotagging, and the Auterion SDK for enterprise developers.”

Pre-orders are already open and you can reserve one for expected shipping in Q4 2020. Freefly will start shipping as soon as they are available on a first-come basis. Freefly has a solid reputation for quality drones and is popular in the cinematography industry. This is their first major move towards a more versatile multi-purpose commercial offering. Their drones have always been known for their strength and durability and the Astro is no exception.

Teaming up with Auterion was a good move as they have extensive experience in enterprise drone software as well as fleet management solutions. This makes for a formidable partnership and a drone that is sure to impress.

The press release further went on to explain, “The partnership between Freefly and Auterion delivers a drone system that is greater than the sum of its parts. Freefly relentlessly pursues hardware excellence that exceeds their customers expectations, while Auterion enables the user to tap the full power of the Astro by creating a cohesive software ecosystem and user experience.”

Freefly CEO Tabb Firchau added, “Partnering with Auterion to bring the Astro to market allowed us to aim much higher than we could have on our own. As a small self-funded startup of 35 people we have huge ambitions and often end up having to cut scope from the end product. Working with Auterion allowed us to deliver even more than we originally planned. The open architecture and collaborative nature at Auterion enabled several key pivots during the product development process, ultimately landing on a product that is more flexible, efficient, and ultra adaptable. We can’t wait to see what users will think!”

The potential application for this drone includes mapping, cinematography, inspections, and safety or humanitarian work. The strength, power, and durability will allow it to operate in conditions where many other drones would not cope as well. This is ably assisted by cutting edge software that will allow you to manage the work with safety, speed, and precision.

Although a multi-function industrial or commercial drone, they ensured the camera capabilities are as good as the rest of the hardware and software. Sony Electronics Deputy President of Imaging Product and Solutions Americas Neal Manowitz enthused, “Sony is excited about Auterion-Freefly team’s usage of our new SDK to integrate the Alpha 7R IV full-frame camera into their new enterprise drone system. We will continue to evolve our software to meet the growing demands of commercial clients, ultimately allowing them to capture, measure and create in ways never before possible.”

Freefly Astro in the wild. Image: Freefly Systems

The Astro is a result of years of research and development using the skills and experience of some of the leaders in drone technology. It is a breakthrough development that sets new standards for commercial drone aviation.

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