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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Dear High Voltage, to our best calculation, the main difference is the RTK on board that adds to the price, however 65K is completely over the top. Leading surveying brands to tend to overprice, and to resellers they are around 40K. Add the dealer margin and ground station and it might arrive to 60K.

However a well produced factory made professional unit, should be no more than 18-20K, at top quality, this considering a full GNSS double frequency RTK GNSS with UHF radiomodem.

I hope that this helps.

Something to consider.

Commercial and industrial are not the same thing

Commercial just means that you are making money flying whatever. Industrial on the other hand, means a whole lot of testing, and large piles of paperwork and certifications. With that in mind, many so called industrial drones are not. A proper industrial product would have documentation, certifications (including strength calculations) etc. for every part used. And that for better or worse, is where most of the price tag comes from.

Have you considered a RC Airship option.

I have developed  a low cost RC Airship with endurance of 1 hr 400g payload and 1 m3 vol helium and with a helium  recovery system. Has Camera gimbal and flight controller etc.  Endurance and payload could be increased easily.

Welcome to the LED - Long Endurance Dronehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMPtHGWouNQ

Brushless gimbal - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sqCBWNohug

Martin, now that is original!

What flight controller are you using, can you do autonomous flight?

Also what sort of maximum speed can you get?

Hi  Olivier 

To answer a number of comments on the RC Airship.

Due to the high cost of operating with the type of RC airships that have been available for a number of years. I developed my own RC airship withe the primary goal of reducing the cost and complexity of operation, to allow a typical drone enthusiast and or professional drone operator to benefit from the long endurance that it can provide.

Key points-

1)   Keep it as small as possible  -  1m3 Volume of helium is optimal, at current prices UK that is £10-15, even if       you have to deflate at the end of a flying day. Envelope volume can be increased with same payload bay to         provide longer endurance. Note the airship always operates heavy up to 400g, though 100g is optimal.

2)  Recover and store the Helium with minimal loss -  I have a simple storage solution that allows ease of                  transport (typical family car etc)  and it takes 5 minutes to inflate /deflate.

3)  Very survivable on hard landings for your payload /camera etc, the envelope acts like a giant car air bag and        any holes can be quickly and easily repaired, with min Helium loss.   The envelope material is light and can          be replaced (low cost), and as per point 2)  it is not the primary store for the helium, so any small leaks are          not an issue.

4)  It can operate in up to 10 -15 mph winds, though like multicopters the calmer the better.  (most video footage       of drones on You tube all seem to be in calm conditions?). I will test higher speeds soon, check out my videos     for the airspeed and amps consumed for the current configuration.

5)  Vibration free platform, engines located well away from payload so sensitive monitors can be carried.

6)  Relatively simple components all off the shelf from commercially available drone suppliers.

7)  Can utilise a number of different flight controllers I currently use a MyFlyDream for autopilot/way points and a        separate off the shelf camera Gimbal controller.

8)  Great potential for solar power with Photovoltaic cells on envelope surface.  I will be looking at this with a local      Univ, endurance will then be all day.

9) Ability to hover like a multicopter with vectoring motors and operate like a rc Aeroplane for long distance flights.

10)  I would look to keep costs of the platform at around £1000. 



Difficult to believe that something that have 1 m3 of volume can operate with 6,6 m/s winds....

Difficult to believe someone would allow flying with helium tank near high voltage facility...

also wind resistance is close to nothing,gusts can come any moment and surprise you...

My friend had something like that but for light camera his was at least 5m long zeppelin,i can't remember,that was more than 10 yrs ago... 

$1300 for that?what is platform?

helium balloon and storage,min 3 motors,radio communication,electronics,camera platform,monitor,certification....pffff....i say buy Phantom 4 ,its 1m3 of volume too!!

Why not fly with Helium near High Voltage?  - You do know Helium is a noble gas and therefore inert, right?....No more dangerous than flying with anything else near high voltage lines..

The Nampilot...

HI Emin  and Luc

Prototype testing


This video (poor quality down link and camera gimbal error) with MyFlyDream controller- demonstrates air speed, ground speed,throttle position and amps used on the left.

note -12 mph on 2 amps at 60-70% throttle setting




With all do respect,but would you fly helium zeppelin for high voltage inspection?

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