Price of industrial drones

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. 

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      • I don't have one (alta) so I can't really say. The proprietary FC bothers me some, but then I am partial to open source where code is there for everyone to inspect, issues very quickly identified, openly discussed, and fixed. So more trustable than anything else imho.

        But what I can say about Alta  is that the top pros in the aerial cinematography use it and swear by it  ... Most of them  won't touch DJI with a 10 foot pole (too many bad experiences or unknowns) , and won't use Pixhawk either as they want RTF and FC only for filming. Also feel very confident in saying that the Freefly Movi  gimbals, when it comes to high end, are the best on the planet. Well, except maybe for the Shotover ...

        FC: I'd go with Pixhawk. For the reasons first stated.

        Frames: I know a few high end flyers who like Vulcan. Falcon? Gryphon also, with some re-inforcements for the removable joints. No experience with Rimcopter and don't know price but they sure look very well built.

        You might want to check out the  X8 Coax Multicopter group on FB for ideas. Although I don't like FB, lots of guys there who know their stuff, fly for a living  and build ...

  • If anyone uses the term "chinese made" in a fashion so as to make you question, I would ask you to look at the 100's of millions of iphones, android phones, tablets, macbooks, computers - and, yes, even those DJI drones which start at $499.

    These guys wish they could have that reliability.

    I think it's more a matter of low sales volumes having to pay for the C-Suite and profits. Not to say they are not making a good product, just that they are selling it for what the market will bear.

    This has happened with a lot of stuff in the industrial commercial field...especially in the beginning. 

    I don't think most people have the capacity to properly build, test and troubleshoot a DIY model which is as advanced as some of those units. Also, those who need their drones to work for a living need a phone number to call when things go wrong. That costs a lot of money.

    I guess it depends on whether you have any alternatives as to the exact features you need. This is from years ago but it should do away with the myth of cheap chinese made.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhDAILW9UAE

    • Please, he's not looking for a toy.

      • He may not be looking for a toy but without any environment requirements, he'll end up building an expensive toy.

        • I agree, it all depends on his requirements.But then again, if he can afford the 65K price tag, he can spare 10K and educate himself regarding quad building and testing. I used inexpensice APM clones (Cheerson CX20) to educate myself. I destroyed half dozen cx20 to get me where I needed to be, with the knowledge, I acquired the parts and started building my own design. I did not saved very much on my first UAV but I gain enough experience to build a fleet of UAV that fit my special needs.If I farmed out the project, I suspect I would paid 10x what I budgetted and got half what I needed

          • @ Yun Take. Regardless of which route I decide to take I need to educate myself regarding building and testing. It would be extremely beneficial to be able to eventually build my own units. Any suggestions on how to begin this process would be welcomed and beneficial.

          • And what will 65K get him or even 10K???? Will it operate in extreme temperatures? Will it survive EMI, EMF, and EMP? Just a single zap from a 100KV line will fry all the CMOS chips for example. The EMI could create havoc with the video transmission or even the command/control receiver. The EMF could spin the needle on the compass. What assurances or proof that any of this hardware could survive an environment around high powered transmission lines.

            • Just recently I had 345kv launch my current unit into the ground like the hand of God grabbed it and threw it. Nobody knows if 65k would have prevented that or not. Are there units that are even tested under these conditions? and if so I wonder who is testing them?  I may have to be my own test subject and try and educate myself enough to build and test my own units under these conditions.

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