back to article £2k burning a hole in your pocket? Let this 'advanced' DRONE relieve you

The world's biggest consumer drone maker, China’s SZ DJI Technology Co, has released its "most advanced" drone to date. The manufacturer unveiled its Inspire 1 Drone, priced at $2,899- $3,399 (or from £2,380 in the UK store), which will go on sale this month. The kit includes a 360˚ rotating 4K camera, high-definition video …

  1. Tom_

    Awesome Toy

    This bit from the tech specs concerned me...

    Maximum altitude = 4500m

    Maximum ascent speed = 5m/s

    Maximum descent speed = 4m/s

    Maximum battery life = approximately 18 minutes.

    So if you start on the beach, send it up to 4500m and then tell it to come back the battery will run out when it gets to about 3800m altitude it'll be stuck up there!

    1. Owain 1

      Re: Awesome Toy

      I'm quite surprised that it cannot go down as fast as it can go up? Can anybody explain?

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Awesome Toy

        I'm guessing something to do with vortex ring issues. In real helicopters if you descend with too low a forward airspeed you end up descending in your own downwash and can get in a position where applying more power merely results in you descending faster.

        Although it's a bit simpler from a dynamic point of view in that it's relying on fixed pitch, variable speed, rotors it's probably liable to the same issue so they may have limited the max descent rate to avoid people making expensive holes in the ground.

        1. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

          Re: Awesome Toy

          Yes that is correct, if they descend too fast, they effectively fall through their own downdraft which makes them very unstable or worst case cause them to drop a distance or even out of the sky if its relatively low. Descent can be sped up by moving forward or backwards whilst descending. A trick I do with my phantom 2 if I want to get down quicker.

      2. Annihilator
        Happy

        Re: Awesome Toy

        "I'm quite surprised that it cannot go down as fast as it can go up? Can anybody explain?"

        It can when the battery runs out. Significantly faster.

      3. coppice

        Re: Awesome Toy

        I think they are referring to controlled vertical descent. Decending too fast into your own wake is a pretty bad idea. There are two solutions to faster descent - move around as you descend, so you keep moving out of your wake, or plummet. One tends to have a better outcome than the other.

      4. Slabfondler

        Re: Awesome Toy

        I have this strange idea, that when the battery runs out, as you descend from 4500m - it will come down quite quickly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Awesome Toy

      "Maximum descent speed = 4m/s"

      What about after the battery runs out? Does auto-rotation work on these devices?

      1. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

        Re: Awesome Toy

        Although the props will auto rotate, it won't slow the descent significantly. Will fly like a brick.

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: Awesome Toy

          Autorotation only works when the blades have adjustable pitch and enough momentum to keep on spinning when power is removed.

          So you can autorotate a real chopper (or even an RC one if you're good) by letting it fall, then adjusting pitch as you get close to the ground - it'll slow the blades more but the thrust generated by them will offset that and give you a softer landing.

          You can't autorotate a plastic blade attached directly to an electric motor with no power and no pitch control though - you just, as Matt notes, fly like a brick. A very expensive one. If the batteries go dead, unless there is some kind of backup power device to give, say, thirty seconds of prop spin, you're FUBAR AFAIK.

    3. mikeyw0

      Re: Awesome Toy

      4500m refers to absolute altitude, not how far above ground it can go.

      If you started at sea level and send it up that far then yes bad things would happen. At full throttle you'd probably only get 15 minutes battery life so it would reach max altitude and then come back down considerably more quickly.

    4. GeneralDisaster
      Joke

      Re: Awesome Toy

      I'm pretty sure the descent speed can exceed the stated figure. Lost power to my hexacopter and it beat that by a large margin!

  2. Otto is a bear.

    Legislation may not be required

    But education certainly will be, a £600 or even £2000 techno-gadget is bound to attract nefarious users of all kinds. There are a whole raft of laws out there you can break with a drone, just not a specific one that says drone. Perhaps the reg should ask their chums at Outlaw to comment, but at a guess personal drones are covered by Model Aircraft legislation, privacy legislation, public nuisance and a lot of other stuff, so no peeking in bedroom windows for a start. I'd also wonder what happens if you hit someone with one, or fly it into a car. Commercial uses must be a bit of a nightmare on that front.

    1. Gavin Chester

      Re: Legislation may not be required

      Sort of covered, See http://www.bmfa.org/Multi-Rotors/tabid/1425/Default.aspx

      Need to be below a set weight, to be classed as a model, and your subject to the Air Navigation laws. (so are prohibited from acting like a loon and endangering anyone or anything) and filming for commercial use is prohibited without a license.

      In terms of flying over people, looking in houses etc then existing laws say you cannot fly within 150m of a congested areas (but does not define what congested means), closer than 50m to vehicle , vessel or structure, or 30m of a person who is not involved with that flight (with the exception of the pilot at take off / landing time) and you always have to be in line of sight to the drone.

      That said while us modellers may follow the rules others won't, the drones are cheap enough to be bought on a whim (my wife won't agree) and you need no training or insurance to fly one.

      And yes I'd like one, but can't justify it at home....

      1. frank ly Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Legislation may not be required

        "... but can't justify it at home...."

        You don't have to store it or use it at home.

      2. Otto is a bear.

        Re: Legislation may not be required

        Yeah, I have the same problem with Mrs. Bear. She just doesn't get boys toys.

    2. John Bailey

      Re: Legislation may not be required

      But education certainly will be, a £6 or even £20 screwdriver is bound to attract nefarious users of all kinds. There are a whole raft of laws out there you can break with a screwdriver, just not a specific one that says screwdriver. Perhaps the reg should ask their chums at Outlaw to comment, but at a guess personal screwdrivers are covered by concealed weapon legislation, privacy legislation, public nuisance and a lot of other stuff, so no peeking in bedroom windows for a start. I'd also wonder what happens if you hit someone with one, or fly it into a car. Commercial uses must be a bit of a nightmare on that front.

  3. Ali on the Reg

    For that price I'd want an M61A1 fitted

  4. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    One BIG weakness ...

    is Bluetooth.

    A shared radio service ... shared by thousands of WiFi and Bluetooth services.

    Hope it has a 'return home' feature.

    1. M Gale

      Re: One BIG weakness ...

      Bluetooth is a bit of an odd choice.

      But then DSM2 is patented up to the hilt, and your phone can't exactly speak DSM2. Shame, 'coz dual-channel redundancy is a very very nice idea for stuff that might plummet out of the sky and onto/into someone's face.

      Country flyer myself. I'd go "clubbing", but the nearest friendly one is quite a few miles away, and the nearest one is.. erm.. well I think "clique" would be a good term.

  5. Rob Crawford

    Meh! say the multirotor community

    Awful lot of money for something that isn't likely to hoist a decent camera.

    As for descent rate, they limit the decent rate, some of us get considerably faster descents (but then again we are daft enough to not bother with the fully automated methods favoured by the majority of those who own ready built DJI machines.)

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Meh! say the multirotor community

      Oddly, I showed this to a colleague who messes in these things (and built his own quadcopter) and his response was exactly the same.

      I suppose it's the difference between someone who buys a Lotus Exige, and someone who builds a bike engined Caterfield kit car - both are fun, but one involves a shitload more knowledge to set up and fully exploit.

      Sod all wrong with an Exige for the average person who wants something fun though IMHO :-)

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Meh! say the multirotor community

        If you are going to buy something already built (as opposed to building it yourself) you could do a lot worse than an Arial Atom 300 :D

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: Meh! say the multirotor community

          Awight Runcy!

          The sort of person who buys an Exige likes little nicities like a roof, and functional aero for taking Craner at 115mph. Not something I'd be too keen trying in an Atom.

          I'd have a BAC Mono meself...

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Go

            Re: Meh! say the multirotor community

            "and functional aero for taking Craner at 115mph"

            Isn't that what power-slides are for? :)

            1. Steven Raith

              Re: Meh! say the multirotor community

              Not on craner at Donnington. It's the long, sweeping one that leads down to the complex.

              Getting sideways on there normally leads to reversing up the infield at high speed, as a mate in an S1 Exige found out once!

              Luckily, he dipped the clutch...no new engine required!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What else can it carry...

    Wonder how many watchlists you get put on, when you order one of these...

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