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This New Drone Is Designed To Safely Break Apart On Impact

The Snap, from Vantage Robotics, features magnetic break-apart components and, surprisingly, a high-quality 4K camera.

One of the biggest concerns people have about drones is that they are thought to be dangerous: People can lose control of them and endanger people and property, or fly them too close to aircraft and put entire flights at risk.

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A new drone company thinks it has the solution that doesn’t sacrifice any of the flight or camera capabilities found on popular models like those from industry leader DJI.

Already available for preorders, the Snap drone from San Francisco-based Vantage Robotics is designed specifically with crashes in mind. According to Vantage founder and CEO Tobin Fisher, the Snap was designed to break into component parts on impact. Those magnetic components can then be quickly snapped back into place for further flight.

The Snap is also quite a bit smaller and lighter than many consumer drones, something that Fisher points out also makes the Snap safer.

Many drones are now marketed as flying cameras, and the Snap is no different. Despite safety being the primary concern, the Snap does not skimp on its tech, coming equipped with a high-quality 4K camera.

Priced at $1,300, the Snap is controlled using a smartphone app. The app is meant to be very simple for anyone to use, giving flight control with little more than a tilt of the phone or a tap on the screen.

But while the Snap may well have many of the features, and additional safety elements, that together position it quite well in the market, one industry expert thinks Vantage will have a hard time stealing market share from DJI and other leaders like 3D Robotics.

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“They have to have some kind of unique advantage that would draw consumers away from those (big) brands,” said Colin Snow, the founder of Drone Analyst. “Do I think they’re able to compete? Honestly, no. I think the big brands are settled in. Unless they have a unique innovation…Unless they’re like Apple, they’ve got an uphill battle.”

Fisher would argue that the Snap’s light weight and break-apart design will give it that differentiation. Only time will tell if he’s right.

About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a San Francisco-based technology journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. A veteran of CNET and VentureBeat, Daniel has also written for Wired, The New York Times, Time, and many other publications.

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