On Monday, 3D Robotics announced a new quadrocopter: the Iris, a $730 autonomous flyer that comes fully assembled out of the box. The Iris is priced in between 3D Robotics other copters--it's an upgrade over the existing $600 quadrotor, but less expensive than the eight- and six-rotor copters. Iris' main selling point is a new 32-bit PX4 autopilot system, which is an open source platform replacing the APM autopilot used in 3D Robotics' previous copters.
3D Robotics touts the Iris as a consumer-friendly quadrocopter, thanks to a simple all-in-one housing and its autonomous features. The copter's landing feet extend downward from its rotor arms, rather than being separate legs like the RTF Quad's. The autopilot system supports GPS waypoints and flying the copter by setting points on a map. Like 3D Robotics' other copters, Iris can also go into follow mode, loiter, hold its altitude, or turn over manual control responsibility to the user. There's room and lift capacity for a user-mounted GoPro for aerial videography.
3D Robotics' introductory post for Iris points out "GPS waypoints allow for professional-grade mission capabilities, such as: mapping, scripted cinematography, scientific research, and other applications where repeatable flight plans are required." The APM 2.6 autopilot also included GPS functionality, but the shift to the new platform may indicate more sophisticated flight capabilities in the future. One commenter on the site mentions that APM is nearly out of program memory, limiting its expandability, while PX4 has more memory and more room for future capabilities.
3D Robotics will start shipping out the $730 quadrocopters on September 16th. They're already up for pre-order, though 3D Robotics cautions that pre-order units are mainly aimed at pros who are ready to deal with firmware updates and other early adopter issues. Iris is targeted at the mass market, though, which means it should be the company's most user friendly drone yet.