GoPro is about to seriously diversify in the marketplace with the release of its Karma drone. This new addition to the GoPro stable has been rumored for some time, and it seems that it is finally ready to emerge in September. The latest information on the subject suggests that the Karma drone will be unveiled on September 19, with the Twitter account of GoPro featuring a short teaser video showing off the technology.

GoPro's Karma Drone

Karma Drone release date

While GoPro had acknowledged the development of the drone previously, this is a serious step forward, with the company having been relatively tight-lipped previously. A few short sample clips have been released of the drone, but there had been no word about precisely when this device will emerge. This had led to a good deal of speculation, but it seems that we are about to hear something concrete on what will be a high-profile, and somewhat controversial product.

Drone aircraft do remain contentious, and the whole concept of the drone is something which continues to concern privacy campaigners in particular. Any notable incident involving drone aircraft can be certain of attracting media attention, and the usage of drone bombers in the War on Terror has been particularly strongly criticized.

Nonetheless, this is a growth niche, which GoPro intends to tap into. But the company will face significant competition from other devices, and thus needs to deliver something outstanding with the Karma drone, as well as getting it to market as expediently as possible.

GoPro first announced the quadcopter in May of 2015 at Code Conference, at which time the company had been bullish about the prospects of the compact aircraft. CEO Nick Woodman called it “the ultimate GoPro accessory,” and already asserted that the device would be released in the first half of 2016.

This did not materialize due to technical difficulties, and with the first six months of 2016 ticking away rather rapidly, GoPro ultimately pushed the release date of the drone back to winter 2016. Since then, it has been revealed that the intention of GoPro is to release the Karma drone alongside the GoPro Hero5; the first flagship camera release from the corporation for two years.

Double device release

Releasing both devices alongside one another would ensure that GoPro has two new products available for the critical holiday window. And the corporation has also strongly emphasized the collaboration potential between the GoPro Hero5 and, drone, doubtless hoping that many consumers opt to purchase both devices.

The GoPro Karma drone will be pitted against other drone giants in the marketplace, with established companies such as DJI and Parrot already having gained a head start on the camera manufacturer. Additionally, numerous smaller players have entered the drone marketplace, with the niche considered to be one with huge financial potential in the coming years. GoPro’s product has to be better than the competition and at a compelling price point if it is to establish itself as a viable competitor, let alone the market leader.

With this in mind, GoPro must consider several critical aspects of its drone aircraft if it is to produce a device which really chimes with consumers. Central to this could be producing a compact aircraft, which is convenient and flexible for customers from various demographics. Drones are difficult to transport without specifically designed carrying cases, and if GoPro is able to deliver a Karma drone which is easier to transport than existing devices, this could be a huge advantage over other manufacturers.

It is also suggested that GoPro should focus on ensuring that flight path can be pre-definable, which would enable users to direct the aircraft via a phone or tablet. An intuitive and user-friendly interface for this feature would ensure that even beginners could achieve great results with the Karma drone, and this is something that seems essential if GoPro is to ensure that the Karma drone is central to the existence of potential buyers.

Tracking key

Tracking should also be considered particularly important when GoPro unveils the Karma drone. For example, DJI has already developed a visual tracking feature. This enables pilots to select a person or destination, and the drone will follow this point automatically. Other designs available on the marketplace come complete with a wearable device which the drone can be instructed to follow automatically. These features are the sort of flexible functions which GoPro must consider for the Karma drone.

One of the biggest problems which drones experience is avoiding obstacles, and GoPro must thus ensure that its new aircraft is an intelligent operator. This is almost a standard feature of contemporary drone releases, and GoPro will be significantly behind some of its competitors if it is not able to deliver a Karma drone which can avoid obstacles.

Controlling the device must also be made as simple as possible. Naturally the entire notion of controlling a drone aircraft can be an involved process, and it is probably too much to ask for GoPro to ensure that piloting the Karma drone is a simple undertaking. This aspect of drones tends to vary wildly between different devices, so this is a real area of opportunity for GoPro, with the company having the chance to establish the Karma drone as particularly easy and intuitive to control; effectively developing a new industry standard.

Omni

Aside from the Karma drone, it is also key to the future of the device that GoPro is able to deliver the 360-degree rig codenamed Omni. This will enable users to capture incredible virtual reality video, which would be extremely timely considering that 2016 is the year when VR went mainstream. This could be a real game changer for GoPro, and ultimately possibly even the major selling point of the Karma drone.

GoPro has had a huge amount of success in the action camera marketplace, despite its recent challenges, and central to this success story has been the ability of the company to deliver products that are both simple and durable. If GoPro can craft something similar in the drone marketplace, it will have a massively successful device in its portfolio. This really is a potential billion dollar business for GoPro if it can get the design of its drone aircraft right from the outset, but there is no doubt that this will pose massive technological challenges.