Drone manufacturers Freefly Systems and Auterion, the open source software for drones system, have jointly announced the production of a new drone. The “Astro Enterprise Drone Solution” combines the expertise from both companies in design, manufacturing, and software innovation to create a product they believe will quickly find a niche in the drone industry.

Freefly incorporated back in 2011. And since then, it has built an outstanding reputation with cinematographers for its drones, gimbals, controllers and more. The people building these products truly understand the needs of professional cinematographers, whether they’re working from the air or the ground. Heavy-lift machines like the Alta X are built to carry some of the most sophisticated and expensive camera and lens combinations. So hearing that Freefly is involved with a new drone is news. Hearing that this drone has been built in partnership with Auterion, known for its enterprise drone software and fleet management software, makes it even bigger news.

The Astro is a departure from producing platforms designed solely for cinematography. This machine is built for industrial and commercial work. It is said to incorporate leading-edge software from a company that has earned its own credibility in the field.

The Astro

The news release describes the Astro as “a highly capable workhorse drone for mapping, inspection and first responders to capture media, automate processes, and streamline data flows through Auterion’s enterprise-ready software platform.” It then goes on to reveal some of its specifications:

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. 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.

Freefly/Auterion News Release

Sneak peek

You may recall that Freefly offered a teaser of this new product a few weeks back. But you’ve got to be paying attention:

Freefly’s promo for the Astro. Don’t blink!

Have a (slightly) closer look

An image has since surfaced on the Freefly website. More will likely be released later today.

As shown on the Freefly website…

Use-cases

Freefly and Auterion believe there’s a good market for a drone with the Astro’s capabilities. The news release suggests this is an ideal platform for utility, telco and infrastructure companies. It also says Astro is a fit for First Responders, as well as drone service providers. The Astro will start shipping in Q4 of 2020. You can pre-order today. We haven’t seen a price yet.

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!

Tab Firchau, Freefly CEO

And from Auterion:

The release of Astro is the culmination of more than a decade of work to make open source the default in the commercial drone industry. Auterion Enterprise PX4 is giving businesses a trusted, known base and better integrations than any of the proprietary alternatives.

Lorenz Meier, Auterion co-founder and CEO

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