2020 is going to be in stark contrast to 2019 as the drone industry is likely to see an influx of new drone launches starting with the Autel Evo 2 and then the DJI Mavic 3. These new launches are necessary as the industry has witnessed declining sales, particularly in the latter half of 2019.
Is this because of the regulatory environment? Or maybe because the FAA has decided to impose stricter rules against recreational flyers? Or is it simply because most amateur technology advocates simply don’t understand the complexities of actually flying drones and quickly getting disappointed when they crash a drone as they fly close to things?
There’s some very simple rules in my opinion that would really help a lot more people become skilled pilots. I believe that if we were to actually have some operational nuances set as standards that we could actually do a lot in this industry to make drone pilot flying even easier.
So let’s go ahead and talk about the recently released Evo 2 drone, and how DJI may launch the DJI Mavic 3 right after the release of the Autel Evo2.
Autel Robotics has released the 8K variant of the Evo 2 at CES 2020. As we had reported earlier, the Autel Evo 2 will be released in three variants:
We can expect the 6K variant to be released by the end of February or in early March. The dual sensor variant will be released right after.
Autel was kind enough to lend us the Autel Evo 2 for a test flight. And we were blown away! Before we get into more details, let us check out the specs:
Autel Evo ii (8K):
Autel Evo ii Pro (6K):
Autel Evo ii Dual:
In our previous blog post, “Who Will Build the Next Honda Civic of Drones?“, I had highlighted the need for a versatile, all-in-one drone system. So, can the Autel Evo 2 fill this market gap and prove to be the new Honda Civic of Drones?
It certainly seems so.
The Autel Evo 2 is a portable and flexible solution that will allow pilots to have multiple camera payloads so that they can do everything from photography to videography, to photogrammetry. Additionally, the flight time of 40 minutes is way better than the industry standard of 20-25 minutes. This drone could really solve so many problems. You might no longer have to buy many different drones to solve just simple nuanced issues. I believe that Autel could actually make a huge impact on the market here because DJI has segregated different drone jobs to different drones themselves.
Look at the Mavic 2 Enterprise versus the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Don’t you think it would be extremely useful to have a built-in strobe on a DJI Mavic 2 Pro so you can take those twilight shots? Well, this is what I think Autel Robotics has realized. Let’s give the consumer exactly what they want, in the form that they want. And hopefully they will buy our product at scale.
That being said, the Autel Evo 2 with a 48 megapixel sensor could be a mapping powerhouse. I am yet to map with this drone, and shall be sharing our results shortly.
It’s fascinating to me that more drone manufacturers do not create global shutter cameras. But it also goes to show the complete lack of understanding about the drone mapping as a business.
Mapping as a business requires volume – it means you’re mapping all the time. So can you map with an LRS camera or linear rolling shutter? Yes, but you can’t do it at scale. To fly the same mission takes four times as long to process the data it takes twice as long. So when you’re doing maps every day that is just simply not workable.
So can you imagine the quality of maps that you can generate with an Autel Evo 2 that has a 48 megapixel camera and an EO global sensor? Can you imagine the ability to solve problems quickly and easily?
Not only are drones providing efficiencies across businesses in the United States and around the world, but when we make drones easier to use, more compact, easier to travel with, we increase those efficiency gains as a whole. An Autel Evo 2 with a thermal camera, a dual payload like it’s mentioned would be an absolute powerhouse for first responders.
It’s amazing though because there’s so much that we don’t know about this drone and there’s so much that we don’t know about the DJI Mavic 3.
In the Autel Evo 2, you now have a portable drone that is great for photography, videography and photogrammetry, would would leap frog the Mavic 2 pro & Phantom4 Pro.
The Autel Evo ii (8K) is competitively priced at $1,445. We expect the Autel Evo ii Pro (6K) to be priced between $1645 and $1845. We are yet to receive any pricing information for the Autel Evo ii Dual. While the 8K variant has already been released, we expect a late February or an early March release for the 6K variant. The dual variant will be released after the 6K variant.
What if DJI decides last minute to offer everything of the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, the Mavic 2 Enterprise, the Mavic 2 Pro all together in the DJI Mavic 3 which is rumoured to be launched in January 2020.
Now while we have seen some teases of what the DJI Mavic 3 will look like. It looks like again, it’s going to be consumer focused drone. It’s going to be a drone focused on the blogger, the videographer, the at-home mom filming their kids. And why do I say that? Well, it’s been leaked online that there is a new DJI watch that looks very similar to a G-Shock Watch.
Mavic 3, they need to do better than this. pic.twitter.com/1BYMUf27D5
— OsitaLV (@OsitaLV) October 2, 2019
The DJI watch literally makes me think the DJI is after the same type of functionality that exists in the Skydio 2 with the beacon device. Can you imagine if you could control your entire drone from a watch that you didn’t have to hold? As someone who rides evolved skateboards? I really like that. Now if you’re a one wheel skateboarder, then it probably doesn’t mean much to you. That being said the DJI Mavic 3 is supposed to have these features.
The DJI Mavic 3 could actually have a beacon like device with the watch allowing for people to capture themselves. As social media has turned our society to focusing more inwards and on themselves and how they feel more and more people are taking to the hiking trails and the mountains to get out into the wilderness and showcase their love, their passion, and how they enter flow state to eliminate the stress in their lives. Well, DJI understands how important it is to make sure that people feel a certain way about their product.
That being said, with a watch-like beacon, more and more people could go out hiking, biking, surfing, wakeboarding, whatever, just by themselves, and be able to film themselves. Now if you’re like me, and you follow the board sports market, which probably most of you don’t…that’s okay. But if I had a Z foil to go along with this that would be awesome. Electric foil surfboard with a drone that can follow me. Yeah, that would be awesome. Now the key part about that is overwater. Because some other drones with more obstacle-avoidance based flights control systems are going to have difficulty flying low, close and fast over water, which is why I believe the DJI Mavic 3 could be a potential powerhouse for people in the action sports industry.
That being said, this particular year I think will set the stage for what the drone future looks like as a whole.
If the Autel Evo 2 draws in a large crowd and market with a drone that does everything that everyone’s asking for, I would see DJI’s sales to continue to slump, as they have slumped over the last few years,
It looks like the consistency and reliability issues that have been going on with the enterprise series of drones have really affected the people who are in control of our government, our agencies, and our regulatory body.
They’re seeing these issues and with many agencies having problems buying expensive equipment, and not having the reliability or consistency that they’re used to and say a Mavic line or a Phantom line, it’s going to cause a retraction in the market as a whole, which I think Autel Robotics realizes and why I think that this is probably the smartest most brilliant move I’ve seen from a manufacturer.
As Haye from DroneDJ and I said previously this year, this is the year that DJI shot themselves in the foot and America with their tariffs allowed the door to open even further. American drone manufacturers and companies that manufacturer outside of China now have a competitive advantage and a way to try to make up market share – which is really difficult when you’re fighting against a company that gets subsidiaries from their government and has more engineers than typically our national labs have.
With that said, the DJI Mavic 3 and the Autel 2 could be absolutely industry evolving. The Skydio 2 has already offered us an entirely new way to operate a drone with VO systems and flying without GPS first. This is really testing the knowledge and power that we have in operating drones.
The Autel Evo 2 integrates a control interface that we’re very used to as drone pilots, it’s similar to DJI so anyone can really pick it up and understand how to use it quickly. I’m really excited about the Autel Evo 2, the Skydio 2 and I’m also really interested in the DJI Mavic 3.
But if I had to showcase what drone had me the most excited about 2020, the drone that could solve the most problems, save the most lives, offer the industry further growth and expansion as a whole, right now my eyes are set on the Autel Evo 2 with the Skydio 2 very close behind. Why? Because typically whenever we have growth in any industry it’s because of a magnitude of scale and efficiency or productivity. And I believe the Autel Evo 2 and the Skydio 2 combined make an extreme case for this argument.
You can check out our detailed review here:
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