Drones seem to be one of the hot gifts this Christmas season, which is no surprise given the seemingly endless entertainment value they can offer. GoPro is primarily famous for its durable action cameras, and up until recently that has been their main business. However, given the natural fit for a small, versatile camera on a drone, their recent business ventures in that area make perfect sense.
Earlier this year, GoPro acquired Kolor, a company developing 360 degree video software to combine footage from multiple cameras into a single video. That company’s founder, Alexandre Jenny, is now working as Senior Director of Immersive Media Solutions at GoPro. Competitors in the market are working on similar technologies, but the other companies won’t be able to integrate their software natively with camera hardware like GoPro.
Another acquisition by GoPro is a small autonomous drone company from Switzerland, called Skybotix. That engineering team has five years experience with autonomous drones, and it can map indoor or outdoor environments in real-time with a set of cameras and positioning sensors. This technology will help piloted drones automatically avoid collisions and aid with navigation and flight planning.
There are several other well-known groups, including Qualcomm, Intel, the Linux Foundation’s Dronecode project, and DJI out of China all working on this sort of technology. GoPro is in a good position to become a powerful platform for drone-based image capture, but there is also a lot of competition.