All of this waiting for DJI’s new FPV drone has given us some time to reflect. What impact might this product have upon the sector. The answer? We think it’s really going to shake things up. Let us tell you why.
There’s a ton of anticipation building around the impending DJI FPV drone. The product, which we believe will hit the stores at the end of February, is going to be a very new type of FPV product. In a nutshell, it will be a hybrid offering a stable flight experience for beginners but the ability for cinematic FPV and FPV racing.
And, we believe, that’s going to have quite an impact.
A whole new market
FPV is not an easy hobby to crack. A lot of knowledge and practice are required if you want to do things right. And, as we know, many if not most FPV pilots learn how to build and tweak their own racers. Even the people flying cinematic FPV usually fabricate their own CineWhoop drones, tearing apart GoPros to get the lightest package possible in the air. This is the way the FPV sector has evolved.
And DJI is about to rattle that system.
A whole slew of new FPV pilots
We’ve seen a lot of comments since the DJI FPV drone first started leaking, and we’ve had a lot of conversations with people. What we’re seeing is very interesting: A tremendous amount of interest from people who were not previously FPV pilots. These are hobbyists who have always wanted to put their toes in the FPV waters, but have felt the barrier to entry – at least in terms of knowledge and skills – has been too high. Suddenly, these pilots are going to have access to an out-of-the-box FPV experience.
That means we’re going to see significant numbers of people dropping a significant amount of dough to enter this aspect of drone piloting. Sure, some of those people will go on to building, learning BetaFlight, etc. But the odds are if they weren’t interested in that part of things before, they’re not going to suddenly want to leap in.
Instead, we suspect that one consequence of the new DJI product will be that other drone manufacturers suddenly will want to tap this previously unknown market sector: people who want a simpler FPV experience.
Will other manufacturers follow suit?
Interesting question. We hypothesize that many people who manufacture FPV drones are going to be scrutinizing how the DJI product is accepted. If it’s the hit we believe it will be, you can bet they will add something to their lineups that will compete.
Obviously, it’s no simple task to compete with DJI when it comes to a polished final product – especially when it’s a combo that includes a radio and high-end goggles. That’s not what we mean. Rather, we’d anticipate tweaks to existing products: Adding a GPS and Position Hold features, possibly Return to Home, might open the doors to a whole new clientele. (And hey, wouldn’t it be nice to place your FPV drone into a stable hover while you scratch your nose and adjust your goggles?)
Plus, once you start getting into the world of Banggood and similar sites, this space is incredibly competitive. I mean, just look at all the Mavic-style knock-offs that have come out of China. Those products are there, and remain there, because they’re filling a demand.
If there’s sufficient demand for the DJI product because of its feature set, it’s a no-brainer that at least some other manufacturers will try to match those features. We can also expect that some of these DJI inspired products are going to be competitively priced. FYI, we’ve previously predicted that the DJI Combo will be priced in the $1,299-$1,499 range. That’s not chump change, and there’s no shortage of companies who would love to have a piece of that pie.
Hardcore racers will likely hate it
We’ve already seen some sniping from the sidelines. And some of the critiques being levelled are valid – sort of. One of the more common comments is that this won’t be a true FPV racing drone. It’s not light enough, or fast enough – and you won’t be able to tweak it.
Sure. But this isn’t intended as a competitive FPV racer. As we’ve said repeatedly, this will be a new type of FPV drone.
We suspect some of the criticism is also borne out of what we might call pride. The people who race FPV have put in the time to learn a somewhat esoteric craft. They’ve spent countless hours on simulators, in front of soldering guns, watching YouTube videos. They’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into learning how to optimize their crafts – and then repairing those drones after the inevitable crashes.
In short, they’ve worked damn hard to be able to build, fly and optimize. And then along comes a package that will allow someone with zero experience to start flying a version of FPV their very first day. To some, that just doesn’t feel right. We can understand that.
The FPV racing field – though competitive when it comes to the track – has also been tremendously supportive and cooperative over the years. Look at all the YouTube videos and forum posts where people share freely of their knowledge, all in the joy of spreading this really amazing sport to others. Or watch, near a weekend race, and see how others will jump to help when someone has a crash and can’t immediately diagnose their problem.
That’s the kind of spirit that helped build FPV racing to what it’s become.
Yes, some of the people who buy this DJI product will never pick up a soldering gun in their lives. But there’s no reason they, too, shouldn’t be able to join in the very cool experience that is FPV.
So, when this product finally comes out, accept it for what it is.
And welcome the new pilots – because there are going to be plenty of them.