Johannesburg - Snap, formerly Snapchat, have released a small drone to get you great shots without any of the technical hassle.
Named Pixy, the yellow drone weighs in at just 101 grams and can slip neatly into a back pants pocket (though probably only if you buy your jeans in the men’s section).
The Pixy sports a 12 megapixel camera and a 16GB local drive, meaning it can shoot 1,000 photos or about 100 videos.
The camera quality is pretty standard for modern devices, though product testers have mentioned that the video quality isn’t great for viewing on a device bigger than a phone. The light weight also means you’ll have to avoid using it in windy conditions.
There is no remote control for the drone, nor an app to download for your phone – Pixy does all the flying itself. This is thanks to a bottom facing camera and built-in software that takes advantage of years of development in AI and machine vision.
The Pixy has a centre dial where you can choose from different shooting modes and flight plans. It can then take off straight from your hand and follow you around or take a predetermined path. Landing is as simple as holding out your hand and letting the drone take care of it. Flights range from 10 to 20 seconds and a full battery will get you just five to eight flights.
While Pixy is far from the first drone to be able to take off automatically from your hand or follow a subject, it is far cheaper and simplifies the process greatly. Rather than a commercial general-use drone, Snap is bringing to market a product designed for one thing and making that as simple as possible.
Since its 2016 rebranding to Snap, the company has focused on its position as a camera company including releasing a pair of augmented reality glasses called Spectacles.
The Pixy is a small first taste of the future of consumer drone products from both Snap and others.
The Pixy will have a limited initial production, and Snap doesn’t expect it to be a money-maker, at least not this first version.
“The goal is really just to get it in peoples’ hands and have them play around with it,” CEO Evan Spiegel said to The Verge.
The Pixy is available online for just over R4,000.