I have been getting qoutes for a drone to add to our inspection business. So far I have quotes from Aibotix, Ascending Technologies, Aeryon and Altus. We currently use a Draganflyer X4. These professional drones have a massive price tag attached to them and I am wondering how they can be so expensive compared to a cinematoghraphy drone thats carrying a red epic camera around a movie set. What makes them so expensive? Whats in there that can add up to 65K. If you ask the manufacturers you get the same answer. There industrial grade, there not mass produced in china, there safer more reliable. yada yada what separates a 65k dollar drone from a drone that can be built with the best motors and best ESC's on a solid platform. Is it the flight controller? Is the flight controller in a falcon x8 or an Altus what separates these drones from the rest? I was wondering if someone could shed some light on this for me. 

Views: 18919

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Can you  tell us more precisely what kind of inspection business you need?did i got you right its about high voltage electrical wires?FOR HOW LONG?day or night?environment?humid or no?cold or hot?give us more data what you need..bcs. this way I really can't think of many situations where new DJI Phantom4 (and i am no fan of DJI)can't be used for inspection...

For someone is more important to have it in backpack ready to fly more than 25min,water(rain) resistant..and you can buy 10 for price of expensive dslr drone and employ 10 people to do the job faster...and if something go wrong(and it will go wrong) just go to shop around corner and buy a new one.or use DJI Care protection plan,send it back for new..and you do not need to listen stupid explanation from all kinds of self-called developers,specialist who is trying to convince you to spend 50K or more...and you do not need to read thousands of pages about Pixhawk and how to adjust and fly him properly...and most important,maybe you will not need licence with sub 2kg drone(http://dronelawjournal.com/a-giant-step-for-micro-drones/)....

I'd love to know the ins and outs of which ESC's you'd recommend, it's so difficult to penetrate the marketing to get to the facts and forums are awash with superstition

Good points worth considering. Ease of deployment (out of a backpack, done), inexpensive, small and light,  dead simple to operate, easier to get closer to inspected item (one way to make up for less camera resolution), those are important  advantages to consider when thinking ROI.

The downside is relatively  low quality camera -especially in less than ideal lighting conditions- no zooming, (yet still decent 4k video and 12mp stills), no upgradability/inflexibility with no room for expansion or modifications whatsoever (can't add an additional sensor, change the camera - e.g. thermal, add auxiliary payload, etc ...), blind trust in DJI "reliability" and firmware update quality, enforced no fly zones, and  non commercial/industrial grade  support. But this last one can be somewhat addressed  by simply buying additional "back-ups", mitigate less quality with quantity.

Depending on photo/video resolution and quality requirements, lighting conditions, etc ... a good option to consider if gopro level quality is enough and better optics and sensors are not required.

btw, Re" you do not need to listen stupid explanation from all kinds of self-called developers". Un-needed and  you  diminished your credibility with that. But that's just my opinion ..

Maybe you are right about that comment,and also as non native english speaker i guess sometimes don't understand how heavy word stupid is and i would remove it now if i can...but for sure i know why i wrote rest of that sentence...

High Voltage: take in consideration Rob offer, He is a well recognized Pixhawk developer and great contributor to this forum helping others to solve problems and fly their drones; I hope He's going to asesorate you with exact you need and charge what the work values with the extra advantage that you have someone to call for help if something go wrong ;) .

solder the pads and upload BLHeli,most of well known ESC are ok...for example Turnigy Plush 40A with BLheli....also you can't miss with Hobbywing xrotor series,it's not such a big science to find proper ESC after u do short readings around the net....

I agree that 65KUSD is a lot of money but if you are running a dron company, paying people to build these machines, for all the money you burn trying to make a reliable machine, I am not sure it is so expensive. I guess the error is to compare personal build (parts from HK, you can get a good machine at 300 USD) and professional build (maybe also parts from HK) but with all the responsability that the machine will fly more than 1 time.... I personally put a lot of money in my dron company. We loose machines, we learn a lot about this new technology (still learning every day) thank to arducopter community but if I want to sell a machine and get few bucks of rentability, I will need to sell more than a personal build. 

Well lets start with "Industrial drones"
The machines you mention are ok but very overpriced. Altus was the worst of the bunch and our local
Manufacturer blew them out the water in a day and night test.
If you want a reliable, powerful machine Xtreme in South Africa make the best multirotor by far, no one is even close and it has a price tag under $10 000 USD.
The manufacturer has been published in Popular Mechanics on many occasions and his machines are used in many different roles.

Looks like  copters with plastic arms and plastic landing gear. Even if these arms and landing gear  are an order of magnitude stiffer that the $10 flimsy ones available at Hobby King, calling those drones  "the best multirotor by far",  or stating no one else is even close, would seem to be, err ...  one heck of a stretch.

This is, of course, correct. If anything reliable off-the-shelf can do the job, that is the way to go.

You can liken it to ipads. Commercial airline pilots use ipads for their flight checks and manuals. Many many other serious applications (business, commercial, industrial) use ipads or other tablets. There is absolutely no comparison in terms of reliability or cost to a semi-stock setup.


But that assumes the tools (software and hardware) are there to carry out the missions. 

This may suss out differently in 3-5+ years when all the centimeter accuracy and specialty built stuff all comes together - like PreNav ,etc. 

At the same time I wouldn't be surprised if even PreNav and similar companies ended up building their platforms on top of already existing platforms such as DJI and Snapdragon-based models to come. Or, maybe google, facebook or one of the others will champion a very reliable drone base system to be built upon. 

But that's all in the future. 

High Voltage, High Voltage, I can build a Pixhawk, octocopter with redundancy, great and reliable motors, high payload, for less than 10k. Carbon Fiber; the advantage of Pixhawk is that you can customize it, proof it, and if anything goes worong,  diagnose the problems.



We build our own copters, we make sure they work great before we ship it. it has flown a lot, and there have been no problems. I can build one for you, and the price is not even close to what you would pay for the ones you mentioned.



My suggestion is to also include a parachute in anything you buy. Good luck!


Reply to Discussion


© 2019   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service