A leaked picture emerged August 7 that has the internet abuzz. It’s a heavily pixelated image of a DJI-branded drone that appears to be a marked departure. But that is it?
The picture surfaced on the Twitter account of @OsitaLV — who has previously been a solid source with DJI leaks. This post shows what’s clearly a quad-style drone, but features have been electronically obscured and there’s not a whole lot left to look at. What is visible, however, is pretty intriguing. It has features that are already leading to speculation online that this could be an FPV-style racing drone. Let’s examine what we can see, starting with a nice big image:
Let’s break it down. First, this thing is dirty.
Ha! It’s not what we’d usually point to in a leaked photograph, but we think it’s a first. It really does appear that there is mud or dirt on this drone. Why? Well, it was either picked up during a crash or put there deliberately. The latter seems unlikely, especially when you examine the black feature on top of the drone. It looks very much like rubber, which would be a handy thing to put on a drone that you expect might be crashing a lot. Score one for a ruggedized machine.
That’s clearly not a standard gimbal setup — which, of course, would be way too fragile for an FPV setup. Instead, this looks more along the lines of a protected action camera. The Osmo would be a good fit here, we think. Have a look for yourself — this does have a slightly FPV feel.
And then there’s just that tiny, tantalizing glimpse of a motor. We can see that it’s inverted — mounted upside-down compared with the Mavic line. It’s also beefier — you can tell from the diameter. It would make sense that a manufacturer might invert the motor for added protection during a crash.
And then, of course, there’s the DJI logo underneath some of that dirt.
We’ve previously written that it didn’t make a whole lot of sense for DJI to manufacture an FPV-style racing drone. Crashing and constant upgrading is part of the game, and it’s difficult to imagine that DJI would want to pursue a style of drone where warranty claims could potentially be a nightmare.
On the other hand, if it’s a specific type of FPV racer — intended more as an introduction to the sport — that would seem more likely. DJI has the engineering chops to make something fairly bulletproof, and there’s clearly a lucrative FPV drone market out there that DJI likely wouldn’t mind tapping into. There’s likely a substantial customer base that just wants a Ready-to-Fly racer. Those people are unlikely to want to dissemble and tweak every component in their drone and would be quite happy to simply don goggles and race.
And of course, DJI’s amazing FPV goggles are the bomb. Selling a drone like this would lead to more goggle sales, assuming the systems are compatible. (And cmon — would DJI make it non-compatible? Unlikely.)
We contacted one of our friends who’s an authority on the racing scene. His take?
“Looks like a racer.”
The leaked photo comes at an interesting time. DJI was in the news this week because there was an allegation of problems with the Android version of its Pilot software. We covered that and DJI’s fairly thorough refutation. But undoubtedly a leak that takes attention away from that issue would not be unwelcome.
In fact, the same thing happened fairly recently when there were allegations against the Android version of the DJI GO 4 app. What happened? Well, a Mavic 3 image leaked.
Lucky timing, I guess.
Would you buy a racing drone from DJI? Even if you couldn’t modify it? Let us know in the comments below.