GoPro Could Go Robo With Consumer Drones Launching Next Year

GoPro is working on a lineup of consumer drones to supplement its action camera lineup, according to the Wall Street Journal. The new product category would offer aerial drones like the Parrot Bebop and DJI Phantom and Inspire 1. The drones would reportedly retail in the $500 to $1,000 range, and come with GoPro action camera tech onboard, which is a natural fit given that outfitting drones with GoPros is already a popular option among hobbyists and videographers.

Drone sales could help GoPro diversify its product lineup, too ā€“ right now it has the majority of its eggs in one basket, with its action camera line. GoPro has done a terrific job of creating a vibrant first-party accessory lineup to accompany its core camera offerings, but many established camera makers are entering the market, or else focusing on improving their existing efforts. GoPro has made the right moves to maintain its leadership, with a new entry-level Hero camera that costs only $129.99, but achieving an early foothold in the burgeoning consumer drone market could make a lot of sense, given its existing popularity in that realm.

WSJ’s information pegs the launch window for these devices at “late next year,” which means I likely wouldn’t anticipated seeing them ahead of holiday 2015. GoPro will also have to offer something that differentiates it from the competition ā€“ both Parrot and DJI, two market leaders in consumer aerial drones, have launched next-generation hardware with advanced camera features, including advanced onboard software image stabilization and 4K recording. Drone-makers like DJI also seem to be increasingly interested in including their own camera hardware built-in to drones, which likely allows them to up the average asking price.

GoPro can stand out not only by promoting the use of its tried-and-tested industry-leading action cam tech, but also by offering price benefits compared to some of its potential competitors. The DJI Inspire 1 retails for $2,800, for instance, so if GoPro can offer optics with similar quality on drones that retail for less than half, it could stand to grab a much wider market.

We’ve reached out to GoPro for comment and will update if we receive any additional information.