Autel Launches EVO 2 Drone

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Two years ago, Autel used CES as a launchpad for its EVO drone, a consumer UAV that was heralded as a true “Mavic killer” and legitimate challenger to the DJI throne. Now, it’s CES 2020, and Autel is back with the EVO 2, easily the most powerful drone the company has ever built, and arguably the most impressive flyer at this year’s show.

When Autel launched the EVO in 2016, it was immediately seen as a direct challenger to the DJI Mavic. It had a similar (but much more orange) design, similar specs, and it cost less. Similarly, the EVO 2 appears to be aimed squarely at DJI’s Mavic 2 series. The big difference this time around is that where the first EVO attempted to match or emulate many of the original Mavic’s features, the EVO 2 wants to completely blow the Mavic 2 out of the sky. For instance, according to Autel, the EVO 2 features a 40-minute flight time, which means it has the longest battery life of any foldable drone on the market (including the Mavic). It’s got a top speed of 45mph and a maximum transmission range of 9 km, which, if accurate, means you can fly the EVO 2 faster and farther than even the Mavic 2 Pro. We talked to a rep at CES who claimed he had recently flown the EVO 2 in 50 mph winds without any problems. If that’s true, then we might just be looking at a new leader in flight performance.

OK, that all sounds great, but how about the camera? Well, if performance lives up to the spec sheet, then the answer is going to be nothing short of outstanding. That’s because Autel is offering the EVO 2 in three powerful variants, each denoted by a distinct camera setup. The standard EVO comes with an 1/2" camera that’s capable of shooting 8K video and 48MP stills. The EVO 2 Pro features a 1" sensor that has an adjustable aperture and can shoot 6K video. And finally, the EVO 2 Dual is equipped with a FLIR Boson sensor and the same 8K camera that comes with the standard model. What’s more, each variant is modular, meaning you can upgrade or switch the camera system without having to buy a whole new drone.

Regardless of variant, all EVO 2 drones come with a sophisticated array of obstacle-avoidance sensors, 8GB of internal storage and microSD support, powerful AI tech and subject tracking, and lots more.    

With a spec sheet as bold and eye-catching as its bright orange design, the EVO 2 looks primed to jump ahead of DJI as the world’s most powerful consumer drone in the world. Can it live up to those lofty aspirations? Only time will Autel. 

What do you think about the new Autel EVO 2 series? Should DJI be worried? Let us know in the Comments section, below. To see what else is going on at CES, check out more coverage here.

50 Comments

For still landscape photography, which model will have better "image quality"? The Evo II or the Evo II Pro? And why?

Speaking as an amateur, the EVO 2 Pro 6k should be better for photography mainly because of the 1" sensor

 vs. the 1/2" in the 8k model. This is a guess, but the 6k should have a higher megapixel count also, based on DSLR experience.

The only reason I see for them this 8k is for bragging rights (yes they are looking at you DJI), and video people crunching for the highest resolution. If you are looking for the best image quality, I might wait to see what DJI's next move is.

Autel just announced delay, they say its a software bug but pushing back end of march I think its more than software 

A delay in release is not uncommon with any new product.  Here is Autel's Official Statement, which is very transparent.

 

Hello Everyone!

First, we want to thank all of our fans and followers. It doesn’t matter if you just follow one of our social channels, or if you fly our products every day. Your support and enthusiasm have always kept us going here at the Seattle office.

With the announcement of EVO II at CES, the response has been absolutely crazy. This community is exploding, and we thank you for your patience with us as we are still trying to catch up on responses. We also want to be as transparent as possible and give you all periodic updates on the status and availability of EVO II. That way you have the most up to date information straight from us and not just rumors.

Our goal at CES was to get the initial units of EVO II (8k) into the hands of dealers by the end of January. Unfortunately, during production, we found a bug in our software that could limit flight performance under normal operation. Instead of shipping the hardware with a known issue and forcing users to perform day 1 updates, we have decided to delay the rest of production and shipments until we have resolved the issue. Our projected timeline is to have EVO II available for purchase in March. This is not a set date or time frame, and things can always change. But with the information we have today, that is our goal.

The team in Seattle is very small and we are adding channel support as we can. We are looking to start up our website newsletter again in the next few weeks. So for any future updates, please check our website, the official social channels, and emails coming directly from us.

We thank you for your patience. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get a hold of us at support@autelrobotics.com

Thank you all again and fly safe!

When can we order this,  Like pre-ordering.   

Hi Norman -

Please keep an eye on our website, more information and a link to post these products should be listed soon.  We do not have a specific timeline on them.

Will this ship to the Philippines?

Yes, we do offer world wide shipping on most items.  However there may be some restrictions.  When these item has been added to our website you will be able to add them to your shopping cart to see what shipping options are available.

Thanks!

When will the Evo 2 be available to buy???

Please keep an eye on our website, more information and a link to post these products should be listed soon.  We however do not yet have a specific timeline on them.

Thanks!

When will the Evo II pro be available for purchase?

Please keep an eye on our website, more information and a link to post these products should be listed soon.  We however do not yet have a specific timeline on them.

Thanks!

Also, what are phisical dimensions? Particularly the distance between props centers (diagonal?) 

Hi Alex:

Here is what we know right now:

Folded:
228*133*110 mm (length×width×height)
Unfolded:
424*354*110 mm (length×width×height)

Hello!

Maybe you know some details regarding pro (6k) camera version.

1. As far as I understand, it doesn't have mechanical shutter/global shutter, that right?

2. Which codec for video? H.265?

3. Bitrate 120mbps... It is better than "standard" 100mbps but for 6K 10bit it looks far not sufficient. What do you think about?

Thank you in advance.

Hi Alex - 

1.The shutter is an electronic type.

2. h.264 and h.265 are both available

3. 120 mbps works fine for this camera.

Can someone explain to me how geofencing is a positive selling point? 

Hi David - 

This is an extemely popular feature with novice plots. The FAA is a big fan too. Geofencing is basically a virtual perimeter programmed with GPS data that keeps drones from veering into restricted air space.  One of the most widely used features in modern SUAs (Small Unmanned Aircraft ) to combat irresponsible usage is geofencing.

It looks fantastic but can someone tell me what size computer will be needed for editing? I have a Dell XPS 15 with a Core i7. If I get the Evo I won’t have the spare case for a new computer.

Hi Brian - 

What you have should work fine if you have no less tan 8GB internal RAM.  You may want to add an external hard drive however.

Specs says "The standard EVO comes with an 1/2" camera that’s capable of shooting 8K video and 48MP stills. The EVO 2 Pro features a 1" sensor that has an adjustable aperture and can shoot 6K video. And finally, the EVO 2 Dual is equipped with a FLIR Boson sensor and the same 8K camera that comes with the standard model." So does that mean the 8k camera does NOT have an adjustable aperture? If that's the case it's pretty useless IMO... 

Hi John   -

Only the PRO model will offer an adjustable aperture feature.

I think you meant adjustable aperture... Pretty much every drone out there allows you to adjust shutter.

Will the pro model offer digital zoom as well?

Hi - 

The Evo II Pro also offers 4x lossless, digital, in-camera zoom. 

will the Pro model be able to turn the gimbal and shoot portrait mode? i do that a lot for landscape shots and i really miss that ability on the Mavic 2 Pro.

Hi Dat - 

According to Autel Robotics the PRO model offers a Portrait mode.

Manufacturer’s specs are often a little exaggerated, however, even if the specs are not 100% accurate, this is going to be an incredible professional tool! I’m fine with the price point as I was intending to spend that much anyway. What’s important is that this drone is offered with a “fly more” package that will include extra batteries and a sturdy case. Nice that the optics will be interchangeable. Smart! Let’s just hope that they work out any mechanical and operational bugs before mass release. 

Couldn't agree with you more, Jeff. I'm always a little skeptical when specs seem to good to be true, but after seeing the EVO II in action, and talking to the Autel reps, I'm pretty excited for this guy to come out. Let's hope it's as good in practice as it is on paper. 

I wouldn't shed a tear for DJI if there was some stiff competition in the market. Perhaps their customer service would finally cease to be dreadful. One can dream.

Competition drives innovation, so they say. 

Does it have geofencing?

I’d love to see DJI taken down a notch or two and have a better option for a prosumer drone. 

Eric H. wrote:

Does it have geofencing?

Nope

Hi Eric - 

These new drones do not have geofencing features.

My understanding is that the maximum altitude will be limited to 800 meters above takeoff altitude. So it does have some geofencing.

Hi Alyssa - 

True in regards to altitude.  I appreciate your input Alyssa.

Is it waterproof?

Hi Freeman -

No it is not.   Most drones aren’t waterproof and precipitation of any kind can damage the camera and gimbal, short out a motor, or cause other malfunctions to the drone or controller. If your drone does get caught in the rain or snow, land it as soon as possible. Make sure to dry off the props and body of the drone. In particularly cold weather, be aware that any moisture in the gimbal pads can freeze, which can impact the quality of your aerial footage.

is it weather resistant?

Hi Yeisson -

Per Autel Robotics:
We’re headed into the winter months and for many regions in the northern hemisphere this means colder temperatures. You can still fly your drone when temperatures drop, but there are several factors that make it more challenging than flying in optimal weather conditions.

Before you head out to capture aerial images of that picturesque winter landscape, take a minute to read up on how cold weather can impact your flight and to learn the steps you can take to keep your drone safe.

Challenges of cold weather flight

The biggest difference you’ll notice when flying in colder temperatures is shortened flight times. Most quadcopters use lithium-polymer (LiPo) batteries. When the weather gets cold, the chemical reactions in LiPo batteries slow down, lowering the battery capacity. A fully charged drone battery that typically provides 20-25 minutes of flight time may only provide 10-15 minutes in cold weather. In extreme cases, you might see large, unexpected drops in power levels or even experience total battery failure (though total failure is very rare).

Cold weather can also impact the drone sensors, which may cause the drone to drift or be less responsive to control inputs. Cold hands and fingers can make it more difficult to operate the controls, which can be an additional obstacle to smooth and stable flight.

Flying safely in cold conditions

Here are a few actions you can take to get the most out of your drone during cold weather flights:

Check your user manual for guidelines

Many popular quadcopters are designed to fly in temperatures that range from roughly 32°F – 104°F (0°C – 40°C), giving you the ability to safely fly in a variety of climates. If you’re flying in high altitudes or in areas with harsh seasonal weather, you might be exceeding the recommended temperature guidelines, which could put your drone at risk. Be sure to reference your user manual for instruction on safe operating conditions for the drone, gimbal, and battery.

Prioritize battery best practices

Keep the batteries warm: If you’re going to be outdoors for extended periods of time, do what you can to keep the batteries warm. For example, instead of just throwing the batteries in your backpack, wrap them up in a scarf, sweater, or glove. Some drone pilots even use hand warmers to help ensure batteries stay warm. If you’re driving to a distant location, keep the batteries in the cabin of the car instead of the trunk. These extra precautions will help extend the flight time and minimize the chances of temperature-related battery errors.

Hover after takeoff: When you first launch the drone, bring the aircraft up to 10-12 ft and let it hover for 30-60 seconds or until the battery temperature is at least 59° F (15° C). Most drones provide a way for you to check the battery temperature, either in the mobile app or on the controller itself. Hovering the drone gives the battery and motors a chance to warm up and provides you with the opportunity to confirm that the drone is stable and flying as you expect. In fact, bringing the drone up to a low altitude and letting it hover after takeoff is a great practice regardless of weather conditions.

Allowing your drone to hover for 30-60 seconds right after takeoff gives the battery and motors a chance to warm up.

Ensure batteries are fully charged: Some drone batteries include technology that automatically discharges battery power after a certain period of inactivity. This maintenance feature helps extend the battery life, but if you haven’t flown for a few weeks it can be easy to forget that your batteries may no longer be at the levels you expect. Before you head out the door, take a minute to verify that your batteries are fully charged

Minimize heavy control inputs: Flying at high speeds or at full throttle requires a heavy current from the battery and can cause a sudden voltage drop. Avoiding full throttle, especially during the first few minutes of your flight, and minimizing heavy control inputs will help extend the flight time.

Avoid draining the battery: Under normal weather conditions, maxing out the flight time and flying to a low battery level is common. But when you’re flying in cold weather, completely draining the battery can be risky. Fly until the battery drops to 30-40 percent capacity, and then bring the drone back down. Pack a few spare batteries if you know you’ll need a lot of time in the air.

Bring a portable charger for your mobile device: Many popular drones stream live video to a mobile device on the controller. Remember that the battery in this device will also be impacted by cold weather. You may want to purchase a small portable charger to power up your mobile device if needed.

Steer clear of precipitation

Most drones aren’t waterproof and precipitation of any kind can damage the camera and gimbal, short out a motor, or cause other malfunctions to the drone or controller. If your drone does get caught in the rain or snow, land it as soon as possible. Make sure to dry off the props and body of the drone. In particularly cold weather, be aware that any moisture in the gimbal pads can freeze, which can impact the quality of your aerial footage.

The Bottom Line

You can still fly your drone in cold weather, but it may require a little extra leg work before the flight and some additional caution when you’re drone is up in the air. Your flight times might be relatively short, but if you give proper attention to the batteries and prioritize best practices, your chances of consistent, safe flights are significantly improved.

Is there a release date yet for the Evo 2?

No one has mentioned yet - does either camera have a mechanical global shutter, or are they both linear rolling?

Hi Jason -

Electronic linear rolling shutter.   The CMOS sensor works by reading out each line of pixels very quickly but not all at the same time, the reading of sensor data occurs on a rolling rolling shutter) basis until all the lines of the sensor are read and then a frame has been captured.  

This is my dream drone

 

From Nepal

This one is going to be a game changer.

I’m worried about the price 

Please keep an eye on our website for more information, including pricing, as it becomes available.

Thanks!

Yeah thats the same thing I wonder, the price. This thing is obviously specked better than the DJI so I wouldnt be surprised if it exceeds two grand. Out of my reach. Im sure they already know how much they will list msrp, but theres nothing like dragging it out and making artifical hype

$1495 for base and $1795 for Pro. Autel says you must contact them for pricing on the dual. 

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