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3D Robotics '3DR IRIS' GPS-guided quadcopter

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Quadcopters with GPS are not new, however, the aim here is to buy a ready to go off the shelf unit that can also easily add a GoPro Action Camera. By all means, this is not the only unit from 3DRobotics but is a good start point for those who want a quality built unit with at least the basics of an RC that has the ability to be recovered easily.

Autonomous UAVs may be all the rage these days among professionals, but unfortunately a lot of the GPS-guided quadrotors on the market are a bit too complicated for the average consumer to control. 3D Robotics is aiming to inject a little more simplicity into the equation with its recently unveiled Iris. Billed as a ready-to-fly, fully-autonomous, user-friendly UAV, the Iris supports simple GPS controls through any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The drone itself is fairly average in size, with a length of 55 cm (21.7 in) diagonally and a height of 10 cm (3.9 in). According to the developers, the main body is designed to be aerodynamic, durable, and lightweight, while still providing enough lift to carry a payload. The arms and feet are made from Zytel Nylon and are built to withstand impacts, but they can be cheaply replaced if needed. The motors and electronics are powered by an 11.1V 3.5Ah LiPo battery, which brings the quadcopter's total weight to 1282 grams (45.2 oz) when connected. On a full charge, the battery provides enough energy for around 9-14 minutes of flight time.
Aside from the typical manual controls with a transmitter, the Iris can be guided in a number of ways using a simple point-and-click program on a computer or smart device. A Cortex M4 processor handles the 32-bit autopilot along with a uBlox GPS unit with an integrated magnetometer. 3D Robotics spent more than four years and enlisted the help of over 40,000 volunteers to program and fine-tune the open source software that guides the Iris. The drone can be controlled on any device running Windows, OS X, Linux, or Android at the moment, with an iOS app planned for for the near-future.

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Users can set up to 127 waypoints or, in the case of the mobile app, just draw a route on the screen to have the UAV follow a flight path using GPS coordinates. At any point during a flight, the Iris can be commanded to automatically take off, land, or return to its starting position. The software will keep track of its position in real-time and even keep a log of its movements. Alternatively, the program has a mode where the drone will follow its controller autonomously at a specific distance.
The program also allows for automatic failsafe commands, which will tell the quad what to do if it loses a signal or detects a low battery. Pilots will also have the option of setting up a virtual fence that will keep the Iris from wandering outside a pre-set boundary, regardless of what it's commanded to do.
The current model has a stable GoPro camera mount, which can be linked to the software for a live video feed. In the future, the developers plan to provide an autopilot-controlled gimbal, along with a range of different accessories, which will attach via a rail system already implemented into the arms.

Cost: USD$749.99

Credit: Gizmag

To Buy:

User guide and manual:

IRIS is an all-in-one autonomous aerial vehicle with a compact and durable design, built with the consumer in mind. Stylish and powerful, IRIS runs on the innovative Pixhawk autopilot system--the newest in advanced autopilot electronics from the PX4 open-hardware project. With wide-angled arms and a GoPro-compatible camera mount, IRIS is perfect for any aerial imaging application. Add a GoPro HERO3 to capture breathtaking aerial video. The IRIS comes with a custom radio control transmitter. Please note that we cannot ship GoPro internationally.

IRIS features the complete set of APM:Copter autonomous capabilities, including automatic takeoff and landing, custom mission planning with GPS waypoint navigation, stabilized loitering, return to launch, circling mode, and more. Combine Pixhawk's high-availability hardware model with APM:Copter's robust automatic recovery for superior reliability in the air.

IRIS includes:

  • Fully-assembled IRIS quadcopter
  • Custom FlySky RC transmitter
  • Lithium polymer power pack, balance charger, and guard bag
  • Micro-USB ground station connector cable
  • Android tablet USB adapter
  • 3DR Radio wireless data in 915 or 433 Mhz
  • Interchangeable red legs for improved visibility in the air
  • Tool kit and operation manual


  • Multiple control options provide redundancy and flexibility: RC, computer, phone, and tablet
  • Wireless data for real-time mission monitoring, data-logging, and control
  • Powerful cross-platform ground station/mission planning and ****ysis software that runs on Windows, OS X and Linux, providing simple point-and-click programming and configuration
  • Mobile apps allow intuitive “draw a path” mission planning
  • Mounting system integrated into the arms provides easy mounting for future accessories (stay tuned!)
  • Camera options include a fully integrated stabilized camera gimbal with autopilot control
  • GoPro® compatible camera mount
  • Available with a 9-channel RC transmitter pre-programmed for the most popular flight modes.
  • Pre-programmed GPS waypoints allow for professional-grade mission capabilities, such as: mapping, scripted cinematography, scientific research, and other applications where repeatable flight plans are required
  • Robust arms and feet produced from Zytel Nylon® for the ultimate in wear, abrasion, and impact resistance over a wide temperature range (these can be easily and inexpensively replaced if required)
  • Auto takeoff and landing along with return-to-launchpoint command at the press of a button or under programmable failsafe conditions
  • Follow-me function for the ultimate "selfies." In this mode, IRIS will follow (at an adjustable distance) any ground station device equipped with a GPS antenna and one of our 3DR radios
  • Geo Fencing provides a virtual box to keep your drone within a user-selected space
  • Failsafe programming options bring peace of mind in the event of lost control signal, GPS or low battery conditions
  • External micro-USB port
  • Multicolor LED status indicator
  • Buzzer for audible status and warning messages
  • Safety switch adds a second level of protection
  • Open source flight code, ground station software, and electronics are all freely distributed under standard open source licenses. This means that IRIS' capabilities are always improving and expanding with a simple firmware update!


  • Motor to motor dimension: 550 mm
  • Height: 100 mm
  • Weight (with battery): 1282 g
  • Average flight time: 10-15 minutes
  • 425 g (.9 lb) payload capacity
  • Battery: 3-cell 11.1 V 3.5 Ah lithium polymer with XT-60 type connector. Weight: 262 grams
  • Propellers: (2) 10 x 4.7 normal-rotation, (2) 10 x 4.7 reverse-rotation
  • Motors: AC 2830, 850 kV
  • Radios available in 915mHz or 433mHz
  • Next-gen 32-bit Pixhawk autopilot system with Cortex M4 processor
  • uBlox GPS with integrated magnetometer

Select from the options below to personalize your 3DR Ready-to-Fly IRIS!
Telemetry: Telemetry radios allow your ground station computer to communicate with your aircraft wirelessly, providing unparalleled ease of use for viewing real-time flight data, changing missions on the fly, tuning, and using aN Android tablet as a ground station. Select 915 Mhz for the US and 433 Mhz for Europe. Frequency regulations vary by country, so consult your local airspace communication authority if you're uncertain which frequency is legal in your area.
Tarot Brushless Gimbal Kit: The Tarot brushless gimbal uses cutting-edge three-axis gyroscope technology to ensure Jello-free images, no matter how fast you fly. Automatically compensating for the slightest movement, you’ll get stable video even in windy weather. Designed to accommodate the GoPro HERO3, the Tarot Brushless Gimbal Kit includes a mounting plate for IRIS along with four long legs. Your gimbal comes fully assembled and pre-configured to work with IRIS’ transmitter for serious camera control on the fly.
Extra Battery Pack: IRIS includes one rechargeable lithium polymer battery (3 cell 3500 mAh 11.1 V), a LiPo balance charger, and a LiPo bag for safely charging and transporting the battery, giving you up to 15 minutes of flight time. Select this option to receive an extra battery with IRIS and extend your flight time!
GoPro: IRIS features a GoPro-compatible camera mount for capturing unique aerial videos with everyone's favorite portable HD camera. Select this option to receive a Go-Pro HERO3 with IRIS! Please note that we cannot ship GoPro internationally.
Extra Propellers, Arms, and Legs: Don't be caught off guard by the unexpected! Purchase extra propellers, arms, and legs for IRIS, and get back in the air fast. Propellers come in packs of four; arms and legs come in packs of two by color. IRIS comes with two spare red legs. Configure