If you want a 360 camera drone that can fly with stabilization, here it is. Until now, most invisible 360 camera drones were FPV drones that required full manual control, which requires substantial skill to fly smoothly. Now the Adapa360 team has shown a demo of their invisible 360 octocopter flying with full stabilization. UPDATE: check out the wind test.
360 camera drones are drones that can carry a 360 camera while being invisible to the 360 camera. To a viewer, they appear as invisible flying cameras that can aim anywhere.
The first 360 camera drones were modified versions of existing drones, such as the Kodak PIXPRO Aerial Pack for the 3DR Solo and the Insta30 One R Aerial Edition for the Mavic Pro and Mavic 2 Pro. These drones flew with stabilization but because their designs were built around conventional drones, they were very tall, which meant they had a very large parallax stitching error and a very large minimum stitching distance.
More recently, some 360 enthusiasts began to create custom-made drones that were built to carry a single 360 camera while being slim enough to stay within the 360 camera’s stitch line and thus disappear from the 360 video. Because they used a single 360 camera, they had far better stitching. However, this new generation of truly invisible 360 camera drones have much simpler electronics and are completely manual FPV drones, which are far more difficult to fly than a GPS-stabilized drone. With an FPV drone, even hovering requires a lot of skill.
Now, Adapa360 has demonstrated a stabilized 360 camera drone that uses a single 360 camera but also has GPS stabilization. Their previous demo showed their Hawk21 octocopter with a Qoocam 8K. The video was stitched smoothly but the Hawk21 had been flown manually.
In the new demo below, Adapa360 showed that their new Hawk21 prototype now has position hold, which means that it can use GPS to let the drone hover in place automatically, just like a photography drone such as DJI Mavic or Parrot Anafi. According to Adapa360, if there are not enough GPS satellites detected or if the GPS signal is lost, such as when flying indoors, the Hawk21 can automatically switch to altitude hold, which means that the Hawk21 can at least maintain a relatively constant altitude, relieving the pilot of the difficult task of throttle management. Here’s the demo video.
As you can see, the Hawk21 can hold its position even when the pilot is not touching the controls at all. This makes it as easy to fly as any photography drone, which means almost anyone can fly it.
UPDATE: Adapa360 uploaded a new video that shows the Hawk21 can hold its position even with a strong breeze blowing.
Adapa360 has invited me to assist them as part of their Board of Advisors. I’m excited to see how well they are progressing and I’m optimistic that this can be a product that will be useful to many professional 360 videographers.