Is the consumer drone market dying? No, that is not clickbait because it’s actually what it feels like. I just got back from CES 2023, the Consumer Electronics Show, which I’ve actually renamed the Cool Electronics Show because most of the stuff that you see there really isn’t for consumers.
But regardless, the typical grind when you go to a show like this is to show up the day before, and plan out who you want to meet.
Where you want to go, what companies you want to see, and what technology you want to learn about. In my case, as a YouTuber, I try and figure out what I want to film so that I can go during the day, film a bunch of videos, go back to my hotel room, shoot more videos, and upload while I’m there, share all the cool technology with you, especially about drones, because that’s what my channel is about.
Only One Drone Manufacturer at CES 2023
So, when there was only one drone manufacturer at the show, which was Autel. There were no other drones to see, I mean, Sony had its Air Peak drone there, but it was suspended from the ceiling, and they were showing off just some new little battery thing that they had, some battery charging case.
But when we compare that back to 2018, the CES in 2018, there were so many drone manufacturers. There was DJI, there was Autel, and there was Power Vision. There was XDynamics. There were plenty of drone manufacturers. And now, here in 2023, there’s only one.
Just as a quick plug, something I really enjoyed checking out this year was all of the new electric vehicles displayed by companies like Stellantis and BMW. Like, that new Ram 1500 revolution looks like an absolute super truck. It has a lot of cool features. So if you want to check out my recap of the electric vehicles at the show this year, go ahead and check out my second channel. I’ll leave a link in the description. That’s where I cover a lot of electric vehicle news, information, tips, and tricks. So if you’re into all of that, go check that out. It’ll be linked down in the description.
Okay, so getting back to the topic at hand here, I’ve got to give a huge shout-out, a huge set of props to the team at Autel for showing out at this year’s CES and bringing a really good showing of products that they offer.
Again, they were really the only display of consumer and enterprise drones at the show, so it’s really good to see that they brought everything that they had. They even displayed some new hardware, which is awesome. It’s the Evo Max 4T, and I’m not going to go super in-depth here. It’s basically a new enterprise-style drone that’s set to compete with things like the DJI Mavic 3 and the M30 series.
I’d say the size is right in between those two drones, and it offers a lot of really cool technology built-in, like hot-swappable batteries, without actually having two batteries. So there’s another battery inside that keeps the drone powered on as you swap batteries in and out. It’s got great range.
It’s got great flight characteristics, at least from what I saw inside the drone cage. It’s got an awesome payload. It’s really going to be used for a lot of different industries and a lot of different things in the commercial drone space, and that was really cool to see.
Cool Electronics Show
But this isn’t a consumer drone, which brings me back to the whole thing that this is more of like the Cool Electronics Show, not the Consumer Electronics Show.
Alongside this brand-new drone. They also displayed two docking systems, one for their Dragonfish drone. That was absolutely massive. And then they also showed a much smaller dock that was built for their smaller Evo series of drones that kind of has this hood that swivels around and covers the drone when not being used.
But both of those docking stations look really cool, and it’s really awesome to see that Autel is working on some sort of docking station. While all these other companies like DJI and Skydio are also doing the same. Along with all of that shiny new hardware that I just mentioned, Autel also brought a lot of their older drones, like the Evo Lite, the Evo Nano, the Evo II Pro, and things of that nature, just to kind of show off what they offer on the consumer side.
Is The Consumer Drone Market Dying?
But think about it. Everything I just mentioned is all enterprise. No consumer’s buying a Dragonfish with a docking station. No consumer’s going to buy a docking station for their EVO lite or their EVO II. No consumer is going to be purchasing an EVO Max 4T that is built for commercial use only.
This has me wondering again, is the consumer drone market dying? Now, while I was down in Vegas, I stumbled across this article from DroneXL, which I’ll leave linked in the description.
It says DJI banned from CES 2023 for human rights violations, which is just an absolutely wild claim to make. And I know that all of this is fueled by the political situation between China and the United States and the whole fact that DJI was put onto the United States’ Entity List.
I mean, that basically is the reason why the CTA, the Consumer Technology Association, that owns, runs, and manages. CES wouldn’t allow DJI to show up at the event, but I think that that is detrimental to the Drone Industry. I mean, not having the largest drone manufacturer in the world present to show off their technology kind of makes it look like drones aren’t going to be the next thing.
I mean, CES is where all of these companies, all these industries, bring their newest technology, right? The technology that’s changing the world now today, and that’s gonna be changing the world in the future. And if drones are gonna be this big whole like. Industry disrupting thing, this thing that’s going to provide so much value and worth in the future.
Why is there only one drone manufacturer there? Why are there no other small startups? Right? It really all comes down to the fact that DJI is this large behemoth. And, nobody wants to compete with them. Because, as of right now, it’s really just DJI competing with DJI, right?
It’s like comparing all the drones from one manufacturer, and they’re just competing with themselves, which leads me to believe that the consumer drone industry is at this stagnation point. I guess maybe it’s not dying, but it’s like we need something new.
No brand new drone from Skydio
Look at Skydio, right? They just released the Skydio 2+ a year ago, in January of 2022. But the 2+ was really similar to the Skydio 2 that was released in December 2019. That is over three years ago, meaning that we haven’t seen a brand new drone from Skydio in three years, almost four years, which is insane.
We really do need some new drones to push innovation forwards, but it seems like all the innovation is being done on the commercial side with the enterprise drones, while the consumer drones are just left to be the same, but also on the other end of things, what more do you need than a DJI Mavic 3 or a DJI Mini 3 Pro?
We’ve gotten to a point where these drones are so good. Like, what more could you want in a drone? I don’t know. I’m rambling at this point, but I would love to know your thoughts in the comments section below. Is the consumer drone market dying, or am I overreacting?
Anyway, thank you, guys, for watching, and as always, I’ll talk to you in the next one. Peace.
Is the consumer drone market dying? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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