Welcome to the world of high-end drones! This collection of drones ranges from $6,000 all the way to $300,000. What do you get in return for all that dosh? Some of the most exciting drones created, solving some big problems. We have selected high-end drones from 4 categories: aerial film making, surveying/mapping, long range surveillance and passenger transport.
$6,000 – DJI Inspire 2
Category – Aerial film making
The DJI Inspire 1 brought aerial film-making to the masses, also appearing on professional film sets around the world. For the second generation model, top speed is increased to 58mph (94kph) with accelerated ascent and descent and automatic collision avoidance (objects within 100 feet). Flight time is 27 minutes and range is 1 mile.
For high quality filming, the DJI Inspire 2 houses a 20.8 megapixel camera, which can record 5.2K footage at 30fps, or 4K footage at 60fps. The drone can automatically track a filming target or alternatively you can track the target manually using a 2 axis stabilised FPV camera. The footage is so smooth that some producer’s are claiming they don’t realise it was produced with a drone. Watch the Inspire-2 in action below.
$20,000 – Xactsense MAX-8
Category – Survey and Mapping
Designed from the bottom up for surveyors, the MAX-8 is capable of constructing 3D terrain maps (or point clouds) using LiDAR, which is basically radar with lasers! This heavy duty commercial drone can lift over 15 pounds (6.8kg) of sensor equipment with its 8 propellors, boasts a 35 minute flight time, 50 mph (80.5 kmh) maximum speed and 1 mile range. The MAX also includes a Sony A6000 24 megapixel camera, allowing LiDAR images and photographic images to be combined during ‘photo-mapping’. Check out the UAV LiDAR in action below.
$45,000 – Airborne Drones Vanguard
Category – Long Range Surveillance
The standout feature of the Vanguard from Airborne drones is silent operation above 500 feet. The Vanguard achieves this by using large slow spinning propellors to create one of the smallest noise footprints available. Together with a stunning 94 minute flight time and 22 mile range, the Vanguard is the ultimate tool for stealthy and prolonged long-range video surveillance. The only disadvantage of the huge capability is a price tag of $40,000. However, for those users that need to avoid detection, this is still the clear choice. Check out flight footage from the Vanguard, including footage from an onboard thermal imaging sensor.
$150,000 – Scorpion 3 Hoverbike
Category – Extreme Sports
The Scorpion-3 is a quadcopter drone with a bike’s chassis mounted on top. The designers wanted to create a drone with the manoeuvrability and ease of control of a teenager’s dirt bike. It can carry 19 stone, reach 30mph and fly for half an hour on one charge. The rider has manual control, but an inbuilt safety system limits speed to 30mph and altitude to 33ft. It is thought that the Scorpion-3 will initially be used for extreme sports, but could go on to be used by commuters. Watch the Scorpion-3 in action below.
$300,000 – Ehang 184
Category – Passenger transport
The most expensive and most exciting drone here, the Ehang 184 brings a new meaning to FPV, allowing the lucky owner to avoid traffic jams and simply admire the scenery. The Ehang 184 is built from lightweight carbon fibre composite and boasts 8 motors with a combined power output of 204bhp (152kw). The Ehang 184 cruises at 37mph (60kmh) for 25 minutes to give a range of 16 miles (25 km) with combined passenger and luggage load capacity limited to 220 pounds (100kg). Charge time is between 1 and 4 hours and the luggage trunk has capacity for one 16 inch bag.
Passenger safety is a big feature of the The Ehang 184 – two independent power systems allow the drone to operate, even when one system fails. Ehang has removed the potential for human error by making the 184 fully autonomous, a single click sufficient to take-off and land. The Ehang 184 is always connected to the Ehang flight command centre, which prohibits flight during extreme weather conditions, monitors all aircraft and assumes control of the aircraft under exceptional circumstances. Ehang recently released a picture taken from inside the flight command centre based in Guangzhou. The Ehang 184 is set to enter service this July as a ‘Hover-taxi’ in the city of Dubai. Check out the Ehang 184 in action below.