DJI's Adam Najberg recently told Engadget that if the average consumer is going to buy a drone, "size is going to be an issue. Judging by a recent leak, the company may not be just musing about such a product. Drone site Heliguy leaked an image of a small camera drone that collapses down for easy transport. If accurate, it could be called the "Mavic," a name DJI recently trademarked. At 1.43 pounds, it would be by far DJI's lightest camera-equipped drone; the second smallest DJI Phantom 2 Vision weighs 2.6 pounds.
With the advent of the smartphone we have witnessed one of the most powerful tools that mankind has ever seen. However, one of the lesser understood and talked about phenomena accompanying the smartphone is the rise of the image sensor. By integrating progressively more and more powerful image sensors into smartphones, we have taken photography and the information age to the next level. Today I wanted to share some thoughts on the image sensor--what all it has enabled, and where it might be heading in the future. Without this technology, we wouldn't have Facebook live or the countless videos that give people access to what's really happening on the ground.
We're two days out from the tech-filled extravaganza that is the Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show, an epic display of wealth, gadgetry and bling to an audience of 150,000 people. Drones have their own wing of the event now, and a number of companies were displaying drones aimed directly at consumers. Leaving aside the growing business market for these models, I've taken a look at some of the most interesting options in the consumer space. Some can be classified as toys, some as aerial selfie sticks, but if this market gets traction, it will greatly increase the public support for business usages, so it's a carrot-stick-carrot approach. Drones are big business, predicted to be worth billions in the next decade.
Yuneec may be DJI's biggest consumer drone rival, but you probably have only heard of its consumer and selfie drones. The big, six rotor UAV with bright orange visibility is meant for commercial jobs, including video production, public safety, and inspection. It's equipped with a retractable landing gear, mission planning software and a variety of cameras, including a thermal imaging model and one with a two-inch sensor. The landing gear allows a 360-degree, unobstructed view, and the stabilizing gimbal can tilt 20 degrees upward for inspections. There are three of hot-swappable camera options, including the E90, with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel Sony Exmor sensor, not unlike what Sony uses on its RX100 models (there's no mention of 4K support).