With Skydio shipping the first orders of their autonomous Skydio 2 drone and yesterday’s news from Autel Robotics and their new Autel Evo 2 drone, it seems that DJI is finally facing some serious competition. According to a person familiar with the situation, the sudden and serious competition from Autel has hit the DJI consumer division “like an earthquake”. It left many DJI employees shaking their heads as they had no idea that the Autel Evo 2 was coming.
DJI is facing some serious competition
DJI’s most popular drone and best selling one is the DJI Mavic 2 series. This drone caters to many diverse users and comes in a number of different versions. The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom (DJI, Amazon) is the most versatile allrounder and favorite of many. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro (DJI, Amazon) is for drone pilots who appreciate its excellent photography capabilities. The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise for business users and the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual for first responders, police and fire departments.
Now with yesterday’s news of Autel Robotics launching the Autel Evo 2, DJI is facing what seems to be stiff competition on all variations of the Mavic Series.
DJI faces serious competition from Autel
The Autel Evo 2 comes with three different gimbal modules that can be easily swapped out by the user. First, we have the 586 gimbal option that offers a very high resolution (48MP stills and 8K video) that will allow you to effectively zoom in or crop your photos and video while still maintaining a high resolution. This one would compete with the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. Secondly, there is the 383 gimbal module that features a 1-inch sensor and an adjustable aperture (f/2.8 to f/11) that takes 20MP stills and 6K video. This drone should take excellent photos and deliver high-quality 4K video.
The specs for this one are far beyond what the DJI Mavic 2 Pro delivers. The M2Pro maxes out at 4K video at 30fps, whereas the EVO 2 will allow you to shoot 4K at 120fps or even 5.5K at 60fps! These are video specs we have not yet seen in any prosumer drone. As far as the enterprise and first responder market, Autel offers a third version that will have a dual-sensor gimbal combining the 8K one with a 640 x 512 thermal sensor, beating the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual hands-down.
So far the only thing we don’t yet know is the pricing for the three different versions of the Autel Evo 2. I hope that the 586 and 383 gimbal options will stay below $2,000 to really put some pressure on DJI. The dual sensor option will be significantly more expensive and will likely be priced right above the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual that comes in at $2,699.
Not all is lost for DJI
The one area where DJI is miles ahead of Autel Robotics though is the enterprise eco-system. This not only includes all the partnerships that DJI has developed of the last few years but also DJI’s SDK options that allow third-party software and hardware developers to build applications and sensors on top of DJI’s aerial platforms. However, this advantage is more applicable to the larger Matrice series of drones than it is to the Mavic 2 product line.
Lastly, it remains to be seen if Autel can deliver the new Autel Evo 2 in large enough quantities, without any flaws, and at a competitive price point to really light a fire under DJI.
And then there’s Skydio
Now, this is not all the competition DJI Is facing right now. As you probably know one of the most exciting American drone manufacturers, if not the most exciting, is Skydio. They have just started shipping part of the first batch of their new SKydio 2 drone that comes in at $999, right below the DJI Mavic 2 series, even after adding accessories such as a remote controller or beacon. However, the Skydio 2 offers self-flying capabilities that are far beyond what DJI currently offers. If you are more interested in capturing amazing photos and video and care less about actually flying the drone than the Skydio 2 is really a drone you should look into. It is hard to imagine that there aren’t some DJI engineers working hard right now on Active Track 3.0 and trying to figure out how they can get close to what the Skydio 2 delivers. The competition from Skydio is stiff and not only in the consumer market. Skydio has been actively going after the first responders market as well.
So in conclusion, I’m very excited about these latest developments in the drone industry. For the last couple of years, DJI was honestly unmatched in their product lineup and many people were wondering if and how DJI’s hegemony would ever be broken. Well, with Skydio’s and Autel’s latest offerings that now seems to have changed in a dramatic way. The ball is back in DJI’s court and we are looking forward to what the Chinese drone manufacturer will come out with next. Hint, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro that is scheduled to be released in January 2020.
What do you think about these latest developments? Do you think that DJI now faces serious competition from Autel and Skydio? Let us know in the comments below.
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