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Propwash #4 - Is DJI losing it's market? Also, Is a hoverboard a drone?

Propwash
Propwash #4 - Is DJI losing it's market? Also, Is a hoverboard a drone?
By Nihal Mohan • Issue #4 • View online
New reports indicate DJI might be losing market share. Is it really true? Read on to find out.
Also, if you stand on top of a drone, does it become a hoverboard? What about if you are suspended beneath it? Is it a jetpack now?

💰 Is DJI losing it?
DJI is the metaphorical king of the hill in the drone ecosystem. But are things about to change? The drone insurance provider Skywatch released a post showing a decline in DJI’s market share of commercially insured drones. This was covered by DroneDJ, sUAS News and others. But is it as straightforward as it seems?
DJI's market share. Credit - skywatch.ai
DJI's market share. Credit - skywatch.ai
You might think this is an indicator of DJI losing it’s iron grip on the market, and a sign of bad times for the Chinese giant. You’d be halfway right, but if you look at that graph with the added context from the table below by DroneAnalyst, things become much clearer.
DJI's competition at every market segment. Credit - DroneAnalyst
DJI's competition at every market segment. Credit - DroneAnalyst
The data from skywatch needs to be taken with these three points in context:
  1. The data only includes drones that are insured and have an average price of $2000. This is the market segment where DJI faces strong competition from the likes of Autel and Skydio.
  2. The data covers only the United States and with the recent government blacklisting of DJI products, competitors saw a boost in sales.
  3. There aren’t many casual flyers that take drone insurance. It’s mostly enterprise and commercial users. DJI has a stronghold in the sub $1000 market with its Air and Mini series that have practically no competition.
The 7% loss in market share can now be seen in a new light - It’s in a narrow segment, inside a specific geography, and for a subset of users. DJI is still the king, and the Mavic 2 series is still leading the market segment in question. The data is still interesting where we Skydio’s rise as a competitor to Autel for second place.
🚁 Blurred lines
It's a bird, It's a drone, It's a ... hoverboard?
It's a bird, It's a drone, It's a ... hoverboard?
In the sci-fi classic Back to the Future II there is this iconic scene of Marty McFly riding a hoverboard. You know, a skateboard that hovers. People always try to replicate technology from fiction and many have tried building the hoverboard numerous times resulting in several prototypes.
Last week, one such attempt made headlines flying over New York’s Times Square. The stunt was covered by many media outlets, and was likened by some to the Green Goblin scene from Spider-man. The “hoverboard” looks like a modified octacopter that is carrying a person.
Wait what‽ That raises so many questions…
  • Is it still a drone if the pilot is controlling it from the vehicle?
  • It’s not hovering anymore if it can fly over buildings right?
  • What does the FAA classify this as? An ultralight flyer? Manned aircraft?
  • Suppose there was a hoverboard that would only hover a maximum of 1ft from ground, would that still be a flying vehicle regulated by the FAA?
  • Does it require a pilot’s license? Or will a part-107 exam suffice? But hoverboards are for fun. So, will a TRUST certificate do?
Of course, the questions are partly rhetorical, but they make you think. The drone hoverboard was built by YouTuber and inventor Hunter Kowald. The engineering behind it is certainly impressive -
  • Payload capacity : 1 human
  • Maintaining stable flight with a heavy human harrumphing up high with the motors below.
  • Claimed flight time of 20 minutes. No evidence to back this claim up, so let’s take it with a grain of salt.
Hunter is not the first to use drone technology to build one of these contraptions, but his stunts seemed to have gathered more attention than before. From a technical view point we see the following:
  • Large diameter propellers from Mejzlik
  • Motors from T-motor such as this one. (side note: the product listing says “for manned UAV programs”. Oh, the irony!)
  • A standard hobby-grade remote control like this one.
The videos on Hunter’s YouTube channel are in line with many YouTube and social media influencers performing stunts for increased view count. Some of these videos seem very dangerous and close to unprotected people. Let’s hope that they do things safely and responsibly before the FAA gets involved.
🦜 Parrot unveils the Anafi Ai
It's a parrot, it's a drone... it's the Anafi Ai
It's a parrot, it's a drone... it's the Anafi Ai
Teased a month ago, the French company Parrot revealed a new drone - the Anafi Ai. The drone has a nature inspired look that’s unique and divisive.
It’s an enterprise product, and is a major announcement from Parrot. The highlighted feature is its 4G connectivity enabling BVLOS operations without worrying about telemetry or radio signal loss.
The camera and the Gimbal system is unique too. While the ½ inch sensor on the Anafi Ai might pale in comparison to the 1-inch sensors found in the Phantom4 series, and Mavic 2 pro and Mavic 2 Air, Parrot claims that a 48MP image size makes up for it delivering better resolution.
Subscribe to Propwash to make sure you don’t miss out on the in-depth coverage of the Anafi Ai coming soon.
🎆 Other news you wouldn't miss
Investments and acquisitions
🐑 Drone footage of the week
Drones offer perspectives that are unlike any other, often making the mundane memorable and mesmerizing. Check out this top-down view of sheep doing what sheep do.
Sheep in fast motion | AGRICULTURE
🏗 Not Drones
Every week I also share something unrelated to drones, but makes for an interesting read. This week’s curated pick is a piece on “the most expensive number in engineering” - the factor of safety.
🏁 Wrapping up
That’s it for this week! Did you find this issue worth your time? If you did, I’d love it if you shared it with your friends or colleagues.
If you liked this issue, and want to discuss, reply to this mail. I answer every mail I receive. If you want to support Propwash, you can do that here.
Keep flying,
Nihal
Did you enjoy this issue?
Nihal Mohan

Every week, I share the most important ideas, news and insights from all over the drone space and tell you what matters.

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