What can we expect to see in the world of drones over the next year? Are we going to continue to see incremental features added to current models, or will we finally be introduced to something this year that will truly blow our minds?
Hi everyone, welcome back to the channel. For those of you new here, thank you for stopping by. My name is Russ.
Now, today's just going to be a simple talking head video. Sorry, you have to just look at my face for the next few minutes. But anyway, I just wanted to get this off my chest because this is the time of year where we really start to think about what's going to be coming in tech over the next year. And of course, being primarily a drone channel, I wanted to kind of address that question.
Seven years ago this month, I flew my very first drone, the DJI Mavic Pro, and this time of year, I always like to look back and reflect about how far the technology has improved.
We definitely have come a long way in features like flight time, transmission strength, image quality, intelligent flight mode, and so much more.
Now, overall, I personally have been pretty satisfied with how far the industry has come. Whenever a new drone is released, there are always going to be complaints about how minor the improvements are over the previous model.
And the common conspiracy, of course, is that companies like DJI put out just enough to keep the consumer interested but also wanting for more.
It's a marketing strategy that is practiced across the board by companies, especially in the world of tech. Now, the technology exists to blow our minds, but if they did, there would be nothing left to our imagination.
On the other hand, I think most people do understand that research and development takes time, and many failures are experienced before a successful upgrade can be released to the public.
However, there are some features in drones that I personally think could be improved at a much faster pace, and I hope to see something this year that really gets people talking, and not just drone enthusiasts.
Something that makes the general public take notice and sparks the interest of some of the most well-known influencers of our time.
Remember years ago when Casey and Peter were flying and pushing drones all of the time? Well, that's gone away, and I would love to see that come back.
So, what drone specifications would I personally like to see come to market in 2024? And then also, what new drone models do I expect to see introduced this year?
Now, the first thing that I'd like to see, and this is not related to drone specs or features or anything, but I really would like to see a newcomer to the drone space, an up-and-coming manufacturer, preferably based in the United States, but not necessary, that helps drive competition.
We've been wanting this for a very long time, but I think we're really at that point, especially with the federal DJI ban and Autel ban, that somebody needs to step up.
And I believe that product improvements will never reach beyond incremental upgrades until there's sufficient competition in the market. Competition breeds innovation.
When one brand dominates 3/4 of the market, the odds of seeing truly remarkable specs are pretty low. Now, which features first?
Connectivity. Now, this may be a huge ask, but I would like to see consumer camera drones have 4G or 5G connectivity. Having a video feed and control that will never lose connection would be truly amazing. And it's already somewhat available in the commercial market in Asia, and it's pretty much what will make flying beyond visual line of sight for things like drone delivery possible here in the United States.
So, you know, there's a lot of people pushing for this. Now, the biggest drawback of this feature, of course, would be the cost.
Yes, it would increase the price, but I think 100% worth it to have the confidence of a flawless connection in any scenario and any situation.
Next, low light capability. Imagine taking the capability of the Zenmuse X7 lens that you can put on the Inspire, but more compact and affordable. High dynamic range, higher ISO range, and a true 24-megapixel capability, no more pixel binning.
Truly stunning photography from a compact drone. Some of the most striking aerial photos and videos are captured at night, and this feature would be very welcome by filmmakers and photographers.
Now, the downside of this wishlist item, again, would be the cost. Out of all of my desires, everything on my wishlist, this is the feature that would probably put this drone out of reach for most people.
We're talking close to $2,000 just for that camera system, so it's not very likely, but I would at least like to see something close to it, or something to show that there's an effort to get there.
I say, hey, shoot for the moon, and we'll see how close we can get. Right.
Now, what about resolution and frame rate? I think 6K 30 frames per second should be the standard on all drones moving forward.
We've had 4K 30 for the past 8 years, you guys. It's time.
Noise. One of the biggest reasons that the average person dislikes drones is because of the noise pollution.
They have been improving with every new release, except for the IADA, but there just has to be a way to improve the annoyance factor, whether it be prop design, sound-dampening motors, algorithm improvements, or whatever it is.
And I've said this several times in many videos, but remaining inconspicuous becomes more and more important every year with the onset of Remote ID and the increased aggression that we're seeing from drone haters.
Add to that what drones are being used for in times of war right now, and it makes people even more suspicious of drones.
Make a stunningly quiet drone, please. I think obstacle avoidance has nearly reached its maximum. It's so good right now, and I have no complaints, and I think the only way it needs to be improved a little bit is for it to be able to recognize power lines and small branches.
The cost of this feature, I think, would be relatively minimal. It's just a simple software upgrade.
Power lines are the enemy of all drone pilots, even the ones that don't fly their drone more than a couple of hundred feet away. It happens all of the time. Can it be done? I hope so.
Now, this one is minor, but I also think it's time for more color choices. Gray is done, you guys. This is all we've seen. Give the option to choose at least one of three colors with any drone.
And yes, I understand that branding is important, but the consumers of today want choice, especially tech consumers.
Now, Autel did a really nice job with their super bright orange. I love that color. It's kind of like the opposite of gray when it comes to impact, but there needs to be more.
The Spark was the last time that we had color choices. I say bring it back. Now, you may have noticed that I did not include two things that many people want: waterproofing and a longer flight time.
First of all, who wants to fly in the rain? Who's going to be flying their drone when it's that horrible out in that kind of weather?
Nobody. It'snot necessary. If anything, I would say weather resistance maybe, as far as adding a coating to the internal components to protect from condensation, like when you're going from a really cold atmosphere into a nice warm vehicle or home or whatever, just to protect those electronics.
But weatherproofing, it's just not needed for anything other than, say, like a Search and Rescue drone.
And flight time, for me at least, is great. We're now seeing up to 45 minutes of flight time, and if you can't get done what you need to in 45 minutes, then you probably need to take a look at your workflow.
I say the sacrifice of a more compact battery should be traded for a larger lens and a better camera system.
So, what drones would I like to see come to market this year?
Well, there are two drones that I expect to see, and there are two drones that I'd like to see.
First of all, I would love to see a compact version of the Avada, or the Avada Mini. All of the capabilities of the DJI Avata, but tiny, you know, like one of those little C-whoops that you see people flying around their homes.
Like under chairs, and you know, past their cat, and zooming around under tables and stuff like that. Something that size but with, you know, this kind of capability.
The GPS capability, the ability for it to hover, you know, so you don't have to worry about the controls like an FPV drone.
I just think something like that would be so fun. I don't even really care about the camera specs, just the ability to have something as stable as the Avata but just smaller.
And then, secondly, I kind of want to see a DJI Phantom 5. Like, I'm pretty sure the Phantom series is long gone, but I really would like to see what they could actually do on that airframe with today's technology.
And then, I also think it would excite so many former Phantom owners that have since switched from that to the foldable design of the Mavic series or the Air series.
I think there's still so many Phantom loyalists out there that want to see the Phantom 5. Will it happen? Doubtful, but I would love to see it.
As far as what do I expect to see? I think we'll see a DJI Avata 2, with a longer battery life, O4 transmission strength, and slightly bumped-up camera specs.
Honestly, I think just because this has been so popular that it's just naturally going to happen. We're going to see an Avata 2 this year.
And then, secondly, I expect us to see a DJI Air 3S from DJI. It's just a natural progression.
Also, we've already seen it happen, so pretty sure we're going to see that drone as well this year.
So, what do you think of my wishlist and my predictions? Do you think I'm close? Do you have a different wishlist? Comment down below and let me know. Let's have that discussion.
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