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Yuneec and Intel: Stagnation


DJI have rewritten the rule book on drones over the last few years. They have the leading market share and offer the most in terms of innovation and development. They are essentially positioning themselves to be China’s Apple.

The world is a tricky place for competitors with the 2015/16 drone bubble taking numerous victims. Go Pro, Airware, 3DR, and Lilly have all tried to compete with DJI only to be swept under the carpet by new Chinese drones and have failed to deliver on their proposed specifications.

 

Yuneec have been around for years starting with the Blade 200 and various small fixed wing designs. They are the best positioned in the market to compete with DJI but they have their own failings which need to be addressed before they can properly compete. Their best system, the H920, has wifi issues, landing gear issues, claims to be modular but certainly is not, and can be very expensive to repair.

Yuneec received $60 million investment from Intel which allowed them to provide Collision Avoidance sensors but they are awful and work sporadically. The Field of View of the Intel kit is very small and Yuneec have not provided sensors all the way round the drone. This means the drone will move into other objects. Really the drone should have all round sensors and they should be able to communicate with each other to move around objects. The sensors also have issues working in certain climates.

The Screen held within the handset is incredibly poorly placed. If Im watching my drone in the air, why do I have to look down to look at the screen. Our normal screens are on tripods at eye height which allows us minimal head movements should we need to check camera orientation.

Waypoints are probably the most used feature on all drones for professional pilots. You need waypoints to create 3D/2D models and maps – its pretty impossible without waypoints due to the overlap calculations needed. For Yuneec only to start offering waypoints recently as standard is quite poor. I remember a few years ago at a show asking if the drones came with waypoints, the very excellent sales person informed me that they could send it to a third party for waypoints, at an extra expense to myself. This is unacceptable considering all DJI drones come with this as standard.

Yuneec’s CGO thermal is the worst thermal on market and has destroyed the pricing structure of aerial thermal inspections while providing some of the worst data – thumbnail images only! The thumbnails make it impossible to create thermal models due to the low resolution size. Now you can get a “thermal survey” for around £400 but with a poor camera, poor equipment and very poor deliverable. Afterwards clients have to pay more for good quality work as they wrongly thought they were getting a bargain – we are back to “competing with a guy with a Phantom” again. Thanks Yuneec!

Plus points. Yuneec are renowned for having one of the best customer services however it takes ages for them to act on any feedback which is understandable, same for any large company. Hex configurations are best and Yuneec know it, so they are beating DJI in that respect. I am hopeful if Yuneec can provide a solution to put an open gimbal on their drones. They really need a drone to rival the DJI M600 with double redundancy features, waypoints, all the sensors and the ability to carry any camera I want – not just Yuneec ones (they are just not good enough sensors) and at a reasonable price.

 

Intel are embroiled in the i9 fiasco and as highlighted by many reviewers it is the epitome of what big headed tech companies do – exude arrogance. With AMD baiting them for a few years, Intel have released a substandard CPU that is going to absolutely obliterate their market share. Their new CPU is badly designed and cannot compete in terms of efficiency, power usage or price compared to the new AMD chips.

Combine this with their investment strategy, or lack of, it seems as if they have no understanding of what they are investing in. Ascending Technologies still sells the Falcon 8 which has a wobbly gimbal that has not been fixed. The video quality is shocking and images only work due to the high shutter speed. Precision Hawk and Airware also received investment but have yet to deliver anything of substance.

Plus points: Intel should be able to survive this due to their size but they have a lot of hard work to do.

 

If one of these companies had produced the ground-breaking tech we all wanted, it wouldn’t be too hard for one company to inspire the other. But when both companies look either stagnant or archaic, how do they inspire each other? Neither inspire me in the short term.

We are going to stick with DJI professional products and my new PC is getting an AMD chip for the first time in ten years.

Pull your fingers out Yuneec and Intel, we want drones to actually rival DJI, not just claim to rival.