Rumors swirl in the drone industry that DJI is going to launch the Mavic Mini 2 and the DJI FPV drone during the holiday season. Are these micro drones being launched to fight the FAA tee'd up Remote ID?
Earlier this year, Drone Xl has posted about the DJI FPV patent filings which foreshadowed DJI's newest drone. Today, our favorite DJI leaker even stated expect to see the new DJI Mavic Mini 2. While both of these drones are exciting to the market, they fall into the micro drone category of sub 250 grams.
Why is DJI all of a sudden pushing micro drones to the market? The new Mavic Mini 2 would add onto the existing Mavic mini, which was a micro drone below 250 grams in weight. This micro drone designation is rather important for hobby and recreational pilots all over the world. The micro drone designation allows many pilots to avoid following traditional rules in different areas of the world.
Take Canada for example, where they eliminated the Intent-based regulatory environment. Intent based regulatory environment simply means that regulations would be divided based on the pilots intention, like making money. In the United States, if you're furthering a business or using the drone for commercial intent, there are a different set of regulations to follow. Not in Canada.
Transport Canada makes following micro-drone rules rather simple, as drone pilots have one single rule to follow:
"Canadian Aviation Regulation (CAR) 900.06 – No person shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system in such a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger aviation safety or the safety of any person"
Frankly, the Mavic Mini was not an exciting drone for us. If i was to take the risk of flying, I wanted an aircraft that would provide better video and spectacular photos. Typically I choose the Mavic 2 Pro for those little flights. While the Mavic Mini wasn't exciting for many pilots, it opened up the world of aviation to a new group of people.
Why is DJI choosing to focus on micro drones? It is easy to assume that DJI has shifted focus entirely. DJI stated earlier they'll be making a DSLR camera and even an X7 gimbal. In today's world, we have to focus less on what people say, and more on what people/companies do. If we look at actions, DJI passed up launching the Mavic 3 so far. As most pundits expected DJI to release the Mavic 3 in August of this year. DJI launched the Mavic 2 pro in August of 2018.
Let's just assume DJI is indeed focusing on the micro class of drones this year. Let's assume the FAA backs up their promise and drops Remote ID the day after Christmas. Let's assume that DJI actually controls the drone market, more-so than anyone else. How will DJI continue to sell drones in the United States with increased regulatory control? How will this drone manufacturer maintain margins? They could launch drones that allow drone pilots to skirt the regulations. (Doesn't skirt all regulations in the USA)
Could this be how the drone industry strikes back against the evil empire?
If DJI produces smaller drones that lower the barrier to entry, could recreational pilots have a way around Remote ID?
The AMA recently wrote a letter with Google's Wing outright lambasting the FAA's proposed rules on Remote ID. Stating that the proposed rules would crush and destroy recreational flying. Did DJI just one-up the AMA? Instead of complaining last minute, DJI may be planning to launch aircraft that allow our people to still realize the joy of flight.
One thing is clear, DJI has a clear goal to keep pilots airborne and to keep selling drones. While DJI continues to fight for the rights of drone pilots, why are so many drone companies silent on Remote ID?
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