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DJI's latest drone can't fly... but is built like a tank!

DJI RoboMaster S1
(Image credit: DJI)

Best known for its camera drones (opens in new tab), DJi is continuing to branch out into new product areas. It now already dominates the gimbal stablizer (opens in new tab) market, and is making a name for itself in the action camera (opens in new tab) market... and now it is making programmable robots.

The RoboMaster S1 has been on sale in North America for a little whitle, but now this strange device that looks like a bomb disposal unit will be available in Europe. It features lots of the same features as its best-selling drones - in that it allows remote-controlled movement, it can take pictures and video, and has a built-in gimbal. But it can't fly. 

The RoboMaster S1 is primarily designed to give new users an easy introduction to AI, engineering, and robotics. The S1 is short for Step One... and it is exactly the sort of toy that we'd love to see in every child's classroom. 

Building the RoboMaster and customizing it is part of the educational journey

Building the RoboMaster and customizing it is part of the educational journey (Image credit: DJI)

The S1 is equipped with 31 sensors to help map the world around it, including six on its intelligent body armor, which are used to detect hits. Atop the durable S1 frame is a first-person view (FPV) camera that sends a stabilized live feed from the S1 to the RoboMaster app. This wide-angle camera can  shoot Full HD video, and 3.7MP stills.

The robot has a range of recognition functions, allowing it to follow a person, to follow a line, or recognize certain hand gestures. 

The robot can also be programmed for more advanced features using Scratch 3.0 or Python code. 

For a full rundown of the robot's many capabilities and full specification see the DJI Robomaster microsite. (opens in new tab)

The RoboMaster S1 costs £499 / $500. 

Read more:
The best DJI drones (opens in new tab)
The best camera drones (opens in new tab)

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Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 


His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.


He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.