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: 19029

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Also you can use Power suply from server at much lover price.....

here my 2 cence looking for a pro drone covers all the bases made in china E-Epic Octocopter well under 60k


my name is yun-tak or call me YT,  the "middle" character in chinese name normally represent the generation, my brothers all have same "middle" name, the third character is my name in the family, but unless you know me personally or is my elders, you don't call me tak. so the proper calling is either yun-tak or YT. I go by YT professionally in US. 

As for quality of chinese motor, as you said, you can't give the chinese $30 and expect a $100 motor. No business can exist if it can't make a profit. However, if you have a design and done your costing homework, when you send out for quotation to chinese manufacturers that you have built relationship with, you will get  your motor as you specified at your budget.

I worked in the petroleum industry for 40 years in usa, Petroleum industry uses a lot of motors.  I encountered so many rebranded product, Now, I completely bypass the middle man and only deal with the manufacturers directly. Even I'm a chinese,  doing business with the chinese is not easy, there are so many mistrust on both sides. It takes time to build relationship. Then again, so are relationship in every walk of life.

I'm sorry to inform you, they are assembled or re-brand motors, components, like casing, core, bearing, etc came from other countries. That said, there is nothing wrong using rebranded motor. As I said, if you have done your own Q/C, as long as you use the component that fit your spec, where the component is made is not critical.


Emin, see  this for KDE:



"Based in the United States, KDE Direct designs in-house and produces high-quality, high-performance components for multi-rotor and UAS applications; primarily focused into the commercial and industrial segments. With facilities in Oregon and Washington State, as well as International manufacturing, KDE Direct provides complete solutions for the market and OEM customers worldwide."

This would be like saying Apple is a Chinese company

Apple product is made in china. please read the speech from donal trump.

Again, my point is the manufacturing sector is no longer in USA, Many domestic brands are assembled from parts made in other countries Many components are from china.  To get a quality product, one needs to work with the manufacturer and do your own Q/C. To blindly say chinese components are bad only shows your lack of knowledge.

Manufacturing is some what prohibited in the US ! Meaning you can but you will not make a profit at all! Prohibited By cost, and rules regulations, and terrifies plased on goods.Trump only simplify the issue! Apple is an international Corp based in the US!

Have you looked at some of the RTF copters on the Foxtefpv site?

you can said the frame is responsible for the 65k UAV.

For my shop, we don't use one of the kind components. We tell our clients upfront that we purchase the mass production component in  bulk, we do our own test and use only those that passed our test. The only customized component is the fc. We tuned the UAV and flight test before we deliver the UAV. Until our client completed thir acceptance test, we don't bill them. So far, we have not lost any client

@HighVoltage Lots of focus on the frame and the components in this thread.  All important but also just part of the overall system required to deliver a capability, or a set of capabilities.  Here are some of the things I would look for in the commercial space:

sUAS capable of supporting your requirements:

-- Well designed airframe that can carry your payload(s) and meet your mission profiles.  Including regulatory or any other special requirements for overhead flight of critical infrastructure.

-- GCS with proper specs.  Do you need want joysticks?  Is a tablet interface good enough.?  Does it need to be daylight readable and/or ruggedized?  Do you need any special flight planning or other flight related software or hardware?  Comms requirements such as security and range?

-- GSE (Ground Support Equipment).  Chargers.  How many required?  What kind of power requirements?  12V or 24v DC.  Do you need separate chargers for the bench/shop or can you get away with AC-DC conversion?  Other GSE such as tools.

-- Spares.  Batteries.  Props.  Other consumables.  What's included?

-- Other logistics considerations.  How big are the batteries?  Can they ship air or do they need to go ground?  Do you have a ready source if they have to ship ground? Does the system come with transport cases?  Can they ship air or are they too big?

And then you get into stuff that is likely to start adding up beyond the cost of the system...

- Factory Training.  Do they offer it as  standard?  How many Operators and/or Observers can you send?

- COA applications with N number registration

- Maintenance and Warranty.  I would expect 12 months on non consumables at least.  Do they pay for shipping if something goes wrong?   I might also expect that it's overnight shipping both ways.

- Service agreements.  Can you add to the coverage?  E.g. Can you get a temp replacement while yours is being worked on?  Will they ship it to you overnight?

And now you have an sUAS with support and well trained people that can collect all kinds of great data.  What do you do with the data?

- Software included for post flight analytics/mapping/etc

- Hardware included?  Most of this stuff requires some serious iron if you are not going to wait overnight for results.  Time is money.  You can use cloud based systems but Murphy says your first customer is in the booneys and you have little/no backhaul.

- Training/support for any of this?

Other considerations that come to mind..

-  Are they local, or local enough?  Can you afford all the shipping and or travel if not?

- How long have they been in business?

- Do you like dealing with them?

- Are you locked-in to a proprietary system and if so, is that OK.  E.g. are there code audits required or other requirements to operate near critical infrastructure?

- ITAR restrictions if you plan to operate other than in US?

- What can your team handle and what might need to be outsourced?

- Can it be insured and if so can you reduce your insurance rates by implementing specific programs/policies?

Disclaimer.  I am the founder of Rocketship Systems.  We do BoxBotix, which is an open source modular robotics system.  Part of the reason we open sourced BoxBotix because it was clear to us that the aircraft was the easier part (in large part thanks to many of the smart people on DIYDrones who are active contributors).  It is a tool, like a hammer.  There are many more issues involved when swinging a hammer than just the choice of hammer.  What I just described above are some of the issues we are working on helping our customers solve.  Will it be 65K?.  The RTF robots will not be, but the entire package might reach that kind of money.  Hope to have an answer to that in a few more months.  You said you needed it "right now", and we are not in a position to help you "right now", other than to give you a bit of info.  Hope that helps.



Great post Coby...i think you helped high voltage more than any of us...

Reply to Discussion



Season Two of the Trust Time Trial (T3) Contest 
A list of all T3 contests is here. The current round, the Vertical Horizontal one, is here

© 2020   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service