UPDATE: More images of the DJI FPV drone have been published by Twitter leakster @OsitaLV (opens in new tab), via Photo Rumors (opens in new tab). These latest images provide a closer and much better look of the new drone. Based on the leaked photos, it seems that the FPV could potentially be available in at least two colors, grey and black (unless one of these colorways is simply a prototype).
The above image of the DJI FPV offers some interesting perspective on how large the new drone is potentially going to be, as we're able to see it in the context of a vehicle.
ORIGINAL STORY: DJI, the world’s leading consumer drone manufacturer, was the first to take what was a niche hobby into consumer-friendly high-quality photography with the Phantom series. There is another branch of the drone world, though, which DJI have never fully embraced – FPV (first-person-view) racing, in which the pilot dons digital goggles allowing them to virtually race through hoops and perform stunts.
For some time, the FPV world clung on to analogue video transmission and goggles because the fraction of a second of time lost in digital encoding was enough to make pilots uncompetitive – until DJI released the DJI Digital FPV System (opens in new tab) (camera, remote and goggles). This system provided digital video at fast enough speed, but it remained an accessory for a community which built its own racing drones (or ‘quads’) from parts.
Before and after the FPV system emerged, it has been repeatedly rumoured that DJI would bring to market a complete, ready-to-fly FPV set, drone included, but they’ve never quite turned out to be true. Until now, perhaps
Suddenly a lot of different sources seem to be pointing to the release of a ready-to-fly set called “DJI FPV Combo” as soon as this month. A China-based drone operator known for leaking, @OsitaLV (opens in new tab), has posted two images of a new FPV drone packaged with DJI goggles, and another of packaging in a very DJI style that features a new joypad-like controller.
It's not the first time that controller has been seen in @OsitaLV’s twitter feed either; it can be seen here in what looks a lot like a product evaluation with stickers all over it.(opens in new tab)
And for good measure, he has tweeted the specs that, in his words, “if DJI FPV drone really came out, I think” they would be:
· 4K 60fps on-board recording
· 5-inch props
· 6S battery
· 150kps maximum speed
· 3 flight modes
· Remotely-adjustable FPV camera tilt
· GPS for return to home
That’s covering things from a pretty extensive set of angles, but it’s only one source (though one who correctly anticipated the DJI Pocket 2 release). There is another low-res image from an unknown twitter account (opens in new tab), but that’s hard to give credence to.
The machine itself looks to have all the characteristics you’d expect of a FPV racer; tri-blade props, a camera at an aggressive angle and a humpback, all of which suggest speed. The hump-back is also faintly reminiscent of DJI’s Inspire series (perhaps too much so?), and the suggested ability to record 4K without the need for strapping on a GoPro would be a very competitive move in the FPV market.
On the other hand, there is no word of FCC or CE approval, and the packaging image does seem a little dubious, but it could easily be a draft. The landing legs also look somewhat vulnerable when compared to typical FPV frames, though without knowing the materials it’s hard to be certain.
The FPV market is somewhat different from the rest of DJI’s consumer and professional drones and accessories are sold into, but it is easy to see why DJI would want a strong presence in it. At the commercial end, there is an international Drone Racing League (DRL) with coverage on NBC and Sky Sports, among others. At home, enthusiasts devote many hours (and much of their cash) into a cycle of building, testing and upgrading FPV drones and (outside pandemics) meeting up to fly them. Some have already sold ready-to-fly kits to this market, like Walkera (opens in new tab), so why not DJI?
The future belongs to digital transmitter. pic.twitter.com/9ZabERMuE4November 6, 2020
Another big unanswered question – should the drone turn out to exist – is pricing; DJI’s current video and control system (opens in new tab) is probably too expensive for consumers, but presumably they would want to be closer to the price of the DJI Mini 2 (opens in new tab) to gain access to a broader market. If that’s so, then perhaps there would still be room for a ‘pro racer’ model later?
When asked for comment on the rumors of a DJI FPV drone, a DJI spokesperson said only “We don’t comment on industry rumors, however our R&D team is constantly developing the latest innovative technology and all official product information is provided when we’re ready to share it.”
Others had interpreted DJI VP Brendan Schulman’s 5 November tweet, “DJI released six new products in the past three weeks. Surely, everyone feels we must be done for the year”, as implying there was more to come, but he himself seems to have suggested the Agras T20 farm spraying drone, released on 10 November, was the product he was teasing.
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