Once upon a time, if you wanted aerial footage from a GoPro, you had to attach the camcorder to a hobby drone from a company like Parrot or DJI. An eagle would also do in a pinch. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, it looks like GoPro is developing its own line of of commercial drones to sell directly to consumers.
Multi-rotor coptors could go on sale in the latter half of 2015, according to people familiar with the matter. The company is shooting to develop consumer models priced between $500 and $1,000.
While the Federal Aviation Administration mulls the safety (and consequences) of permitting multi-bladed robots to buzz around in U.S. airspace, the commercial drone industry is quietly booming, with potential applications in farming, package delivery, photography, and—of course—filmmaking. One report from BI Intelligence suggests the civilian drone market could approach $2 billion by 2020:
It would be a smart move for GoPro, which sells rugged, take-anywhere cameras targeted at adventurous types for $200 to $400. Picture this: Someone gets an entry-level GoPro for Christmas. They have fun with it, wear it snowboarding, etc. After a few months, they feel compelled to take their amateur filmmaking to the next level, and splurge another $1,000 for a GoPro quad-copter that will make it fly. No incompatibility issues you might encounter with a drone-maker like Parrot, no extra equipment—nada. It would be akin to Apple’s strategy with the iPod, which, for some people opened the door to more-expensive Apple products.