Late last year, Autel Robotics surprised us when an FCC filing showed us the specs of their, at-the-time, yet-to-be-announced EVO II drone. This new Autel drone had the potential to blow the competition out of the water, and it caused somewhat of an earthquake at the DJI headquarters.
The new Autel EVO II would come in three different versions, ranging from the base model that provides 8K video to one with a 1-inch sensor that shoots 6K video. And even a dual-sensor version that combines the 8K camera with a thermal camera. As you can imagine, many drone enthusiasts got very excited.
Autel Robotics at CES 2020
Especially when Autel Robotics suddenly appeared at CES 2020 with a huge booth right across from DJI. At that point, even the most skeptical drone pilots started to wonder if Autel might finally be able to make a dent in DJI’s hegemony.
Right after CES, I was able to test the EVO II 8K version, and my impressions were quite favorable (more on this in another article soon). The EVO II 8k version was supposed to start shipping to the U.S. four to six weeks after CES with the other versions following soon. Then things got quiet for a while until this email from Autel to its dealers showed up.
EVO II Dealer Updates
Since it has been a few weeks since my last update, we wanted to give our dealers an update for EVO II and its status.
During our last update, we discussed that we found a software bug and we were working on a fix before continuing production. That issue has since been resolved and all systems are go!
With the unfortunate timing of the Coronavirus, that also slowed down staffing at our main factory, but everything is coming back to normal. We also stated that our goal was to get EVO II into the hands of customers in March. As of today, that is stilt the plan and we are on track to do so. Most likely, EVO II wilt be available for purchase in the latter half of the month. With the delay of the 8k EVO II, the development and production of EVO II Pro and Dual have caught up and we expect the release of those two versions only a couple of weeks later.
More information will be coming in the next week or so to confirm this. Check your emails and watch our website for the most accurate and up to date information. We want to be as transparent as possible and provide information as we receive it. Please also relay this information over to your customers. We will be doing the same in the form of a social media post at some point today. Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience as we get ready for this very exciting launch. We are striving to meet expectations and demand and the product needs to live up to our standards before delivering to you.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us.
Then things got quiet again.
Later on in March, we learned that Jeff Powell and Tim Matthews, both of whom I met at CES 2020, had been fired from Autel Robotics over seemingly having mismanaged the launch of the EVO II drone in the U.S. Apparently, management in China, where Autel Robotics is based, wanted to retake control of the business activities in the U.S.
Finally, Autel EVO II drones are showing up at customer’s doors
All of this has left many drone enthusiasts wondering what the future holds for Autel Robotics and the Autel EVO II. However, I’m happy to report that there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as we have learned that at least three (!) customers in the U.S. have received their EVO II 8K drones this week. Hopefully, many more will follow soon!
M. Epprecht shared these photos of his EVO II drone on Facebook.
What do you think about the Autel EVO II? Do you believe that this drone has the potential to make a dent in DJI’s hegemony and pose a real threat to the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom? Let us know in the comments below.