Is EVO fresh Karma in a DJI-dominated market?
Just as GoPro announces the end of its participation in the consumer drone market, Autel Robotics, a Washington State-based drone manufacturer has introduced its new foldable drone called the EVO, seemingly taking GoPro Karma's place in the DJI-dominated consumer drone marketplace. In keeping with recent drone designs from its competitors, Autel Robotics' EVO features foldable arms that make the drone easy to carry with you wherever you go. Seems as if we've heard this several times already. So what's new and different about EVO?
Autel Robotics' EVO is capable of filming in UHD 4K at 60fps. By comparison, its direct competitor, the DJI Mavic Pro, offers a maximum frame rate of 30fps (in UHD 4K) and 24fps (in DCI 4K). While 4K is nothing new, there aren't many drones (or handhelds for that matter) shooting in 4K at 60fps, so this is certainly a step forward and a point of differentiation for EVO. Will its increased frame rate be enough for EVO to carve out its own place in the marketplace? Most likely not on its own. But if Autel can bring drones to market with features that are comparable (if not slightly ahead of) features found on DJI drones, then Autel may have a chance at grabbing market share recently surrendered by GoPro.
In any industry, one of the best ways that a newcomer or underdog can stand out and win market share is by offering exemplary customer service. Based upon the large, red badge on Autel's website boasting that "Each EVO comes backed by Autel Robotics' 7-day-a-week customer support," it seems the company plans to do just that.
In addition to higher resolution and highly available customer service, EVO owners can look forward to a set of familiar and welcome features. EVO's camera is stabilized by a three-axis gimbal in order to provide steadier shots. In addition, the camera facilitates the drone's obstacle avoidance system which allows EVO to see and avoid obstacles in its path. Situated in the rear of the drone is an infrared sensor that provides an additional layer of obstacle-avoiding security.
The EVO boasts a top speed of 65 feet-per-second (about 45mph, roughly) and offers intelligent flight modes allowing EVO to fly along preset waypoints and track objects all with a controllable range of up to 4.2 miles.
Dynamic Tracking is EVO's optical tracking feature that lets it follow an object while keeping it in frame. With features like Low-Light Robust Tracking and Occlusion Handling, EVO's tracking feature promises to be reliable even in conditions that might challenge the sensors on other drones.
With so many drone operators working on mapping projects that require the drone to fly a specific pre-determined grid pattern above and around a designated building or area, EVO comes ready for duty featuring a 3D mapping flight mode that makes it easy to set up and manage complex flight plans for mapping missions.
EVO features sophisticated obstacle avoidance technology that allows EVO to "see" obstacles while flying and automatically adjust its flight path in order to safely avoid them. When used in combination with "Visual Follow Me" mode, EVO is able to avoid potential hazards even while autonomously tracking a moving subject.
A controller with an integrated, 3.3 inch OLED screen for previewing a 720p livestream of the view through EVO's camera is used to manually control EVO, though the drone can also be controlled by Android and iOS smart devices via the Autel Explorer App.
Pricing and availability
While price and release date are unlisted on Autel Robotics' website (as of this writing), EVO is rumored to have an MSRP that is under $1,000, which would put EVO in the same price bracket as DJI's Mavic Pro.
- UHD 4K, up to 60fps
- Three-axis gimbal stabilization
- Can travel up to 65 feet-per-second (approx. 45mph)
- Controllable range of 4.2 miles
- Dynamic tracking
- 3D mapping
- Obstacle avoidance
- Controller with 3.3-in OLED preview screen at 720p
- Autel Explorer controller app available for iOS and Android