3D Robotics Inc., North America’s largest drone manufacturer, is introducing a $1,000 drone for consumers that simplifies flying and using the products.
The Solo, with Linux computers in the controller and new features in the craft itself, goes on sale in late May at Best Buy Co. stores, Chris Anderson, chief executive officer of the Berkeley, California-based company, said in a telephone interview Monday.
Linux features in the controller make flying the device simpler, Anderson said. Solo also has a new autopilot that helps keep it stable in the air, and can carry GoPro high-definition cameras aloft. The product will be popular with hobbyists and have some commercial applications, such as in agriculture and construction, he said.
3D Robotics already sells drones to consumers online. The Iris+ is available at Amazon.com for $750. The Solo will be made in China.
“Manufacturing in China gives us the ability to scale up to meet the needs of the consumer market,” Anderson said.
Closely held 3D Robotics was founded in 2009 by Anderson, the former editor of Wired magazine, and Jordi Muñoz, who built primitive drones out of video-game components and motors in his garage in Tijuana. The venture capital-backed company engineers drones in San Diego, manufactures them in Tijuana, Mexico, and markets them from an office in Austin, Texas.
“We’re going to continue to build our niche products in Tijuana, which offers advantages such as being in the same time zone,” Anderson said.
Best Buy, based in Richfield, Minnesota, plans to have the product in more than 400 stores starting May 31, Ryan Stanzel, a spokesman, said in an e-mail.