Chinese drone-maker Harwar — short for Shenzhen Harwar International Aviation Technology— has one of the largest drones available today. The Harwar-Mega costs $15,000 to $100,000, depending on the configuration, and is much closer to a defense-grade robot than a product for photographers and hobbyists. The 8-rotor versions can carry payloads of up to 20 pounds, allowing for massive gimbals and cameras, including thermal imaging systems. Harwar is marketing the imposing drone for homeland security, firefighting, and industrial applications. It’s already available in China, but has yet to be flown in the U.S.
Inspire 1, the latest model from DJI, is another stocky, stolid flying machine, with low hanging rotor arms that allow it to land without scraping its 4K-resolution camera on the ground. Once it’s airborne, though, those arms swivel upwards, so the camera can pan in a complete 360 degree sweep without obstruction. This midair transformation is genuinely cool to watch, and is a perfect example of this $2,899 drone’s attention to smart design. The company announced Inspire 1 back in November, but recently debuted a handheld camera mount for the drone’s 4K camera that allows filmmakers to take advantage of 3-axis mechanical stabilization without taking off.
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