News

Bringing you drone news from inside the community.

Lily Drone Is Dead

Yes, sadly the cute Lily drone is dead. I was so excited for this little drone about a year ago, when I was able to preorder for 50% of the retail price. But alas, my dreams are dead.

At the time, the Lily drone was cutting edge. It was to be waterproof, offer easy follow-me with a bracelet controller, and allow you to easily launch it by throwing it into the air.

Now that DJI and Yuneec have offered most of these features in their latest quadcopters, it is safe to say that these features are nothing more than slight gimmicks. That's not to say they aren't useful, but they aren't interesting enough to separate a newcomer to the drone scene ... unfortunately.

But Lily's problem wasn't features. Or design. Or utility. It was funding. Lily ran out of funding, and the team struggled to land the additional investment necessary to ramp up their manufacturing process.

Alas, Lily is dead. I'm sad. Even if my new DJI Mavic surpasses Lily's capabilities, in some ways I will miss that little guy. My hope is that somehow DJI buys the rights to these designs and resurrects it, while simultaneously rewarding the great ambitious team that wanted to build a drone in a market dominated by two large companies. I can dream right?

In the meantime, the company is preparing to refund money to people who preordered. That's impressive. So many crowdfunded flops have swallowed backer money; even borderline fraud. But the folks behind Lily have gone the high road and they're soon to send you back your cash. As an early backer, I'm excited about that.

DJI Care Refresh now covers WATER DAMAGE!

This is good news indeed. If you crash your drone accidentally into the water, your DJI Care Refresh coverage will now take care of you. DJI has decided to make their coverage all-inclusive.

Previously, they explicitly excluded water damage coverage, so if your bird was to take a bath you were SOL.

The email received by DroneHome tonight was as follows:

Dear Customers,

Christmas is almost here, and DJI has an amazing gift for you!

DJI Care Refresh now covers accidental water damage! From now on, if your aircraft is damaged by water during normal use and you have DJI Care Refresh, it can be replaced. Please contact DJI Support via http://www.dji.com/support, TEL and ONLINE SUPPORT are preferred.

If you have previously purchased DJI Care Refresh but were either unable to replace an aircraft or had to pay an additional charge due to water damage, contact us to arrange a refund. Refund requests will be processed in three to five days.

Happy holidays everyone!

For more details about DJI Care Refresh, visit http://www.dji.com/service/djicare-refresh.

Note: This change only applies to DJI products covered by DJI Care Refresh: Mavic Pro, Inspire 2, Phantom 4 Pro, Phantom 4 Pro +, Zenmuse X4S, Zenmuse X5S. SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd. reserves the right of final interpretation.

Apple Store Accidentally Sells Mavic "Display Unit" To Customer

Having waited many weeks for arrival of his DJI Direct order, a DroneHome community member named Tony Speer (known on the chat as t0ny7) went into an Apple Store in an attempt to buy a DJI Mavic Pro as a walk-in customer. Moments ago he posted on the DroneHome Slack chat that he was purchasing a brand new Mavic Pro.

He arrived at the store and inquired about the availability of the Mavic Pro. An Apple employee went into the back and came out with a brand new Mavic Pro box. The store employee mentioned that it had just been delivered.

A brand new DJI Mavic Pro box in hand

After purchasing, Tony went to his car excited to finally have his paws on the illusive drone. As he posted on the chat with photos of it, he quickly realized it was a display unit meant for a shelf at the store. The fake camera (pictured below) does not have an image sensor in it.

Display unit without an image sensor in the camera

The box has a product label on it showing that it is a Replica. It is unlikely anyone meant to sell it.

Mavic Pro box showing the Replica label

The receipt for good measure.

A receipt for the display unit Mavic Pro purchased from the Apple Store

You can imagine that Tony is pretty bummed out.

DJI Disables DroneHome Automatic Order Tracking

Early yesterday morning, DJI added a Captcha to their Order Tracking page which immediately interrupted DroneHome's ability to track users' orders on their behalf. A captcha requires a human to interpret the hidden information before the form can be submitted and order details retrieved.

It was discovered that the mobile version of Order Tracking page did not have a captcha. Several hours later DroneHome had a new fix in place for the DJI CLI and the DroneHome automated order tracking was back in action, and over the last 24 hours captured a growing batch of orders that had shipped.

Moments ago, DJI pushed out a change that added a captcha to the mobile version of their Order Tracking page, once again breaking the CLI tool and the DroneHome automatic tracking.

At this time there does not appear to be any legitimate ways to automate this, and DroneHome will more intently rely on manual updates submitted by users.

Makers of Autopilot Acquired by Hanger

Autoflight Logic, the makers of Autopilot, Airspace and Airframe, were just acquired by Hanger according to an email received moments ago. The two teams will join forces to enhance the Autopilot and Airspace apps going forward, and have plans to offer hired flights to regionally licensed pilots.

Hanger, who just recently closed a giant seed round of funding, likely used a portion of their recent funding to acquire Autoflight Logic.

DJI Offers Conflicting Reasons For Delay

Today technology site TechCrunch's Brian Heater released an article about DJI having learned its lesson from the Mavic Pro delay. It alludes that DJI is deeply focused on improving its shipping capacity and ability to communicate to customers.

But the article revealed another thing entirely -- that apparently there is another reason the delay occurred: not a large unexpected quantity of orders, but a defect that occurred during the assembly of the Mavic Pro in the factory.

The confusing aspect of this is that their official explanation several weeks ago was that it was the overwhelming demand that incapacitated them. But now, their own Global Communications Director, Adam Lisberg, says (in the interview with TechCrunch) that it was actually a manufacturing defect.

We are all happy that DJI took time to fix any manufacturing defects.

We are all not happy that DJI essentially just got caught lying to us though.

DJI Finally Addresses Mavic Pro Shipping Issues

DJI released a shipping update early this morning in China on the DJI Newsroom for Mavic Pro orders. Specifically addressed was an apology and an explanation for the initial cause of delay.

This is a very welcome communique admist a multi-week silence on behalf of the drone manufacturer. DJI should have long considered doing weeks ago, amidst a growing number of users reporting on the DJI forum that they have canceled their orders. While an exact reason for lack of such an update may never come to surface, many people will be very pleased that DJI is attempting to be more introspective and forthright with its customers.

Unfortunately, it does not address when exactly a preorder might be fulfilled, but it does say that they aim to ship all orders that occurred before November 3rd within the next 7 to 8 weeks. That might not be very reassuring to some people, but I find that it is at least a little bit revealing. It is much better than having not idea when it will come at all, leaving your mind to have some imaginary date set.

Let's hope that this is the start of a transparent and forward thinking DJI. They are the clear leader in the drone market, but if they wish to remain in that place they are going to have to. There are other manufacturers gunning for the spot.

Stay tuned...