Why are enterprise drones so much more expensive than their consumer-oriented counterparts?

Why are enterprise drones so much more expensive than their consumer-oriented counterparts?

You’d be hard-pressed to seek out somebody who isn’t at the least a teensy bit impressed by the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. It’s swoon-worthy for drone nerds and cinematography nerds alike, thanks principally to its Hasselblad camera and 1-inch CMOS sensor and F2.8 EQV 28mm lens, able to capturing 4K video and 12MP photographs.  All that and extra prices simply $1,599.

So then why is its enterprise-oriented counterpart, the Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced, $6,500 extra? Most drone firms nowadays are making each shopper and enterprise drones. And this situation, the place the enterprise model is greater than 4x dearer than the buyer model, is way from unusual.

Why there may be such an enormous value hole between the buyer/prosumer drones and enterprise fashions?

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom Hasselblad

Comparisons of standard shopper vs enterprise drones

Enterprise drones do have loads of options that their shopper counterparts don’t have. You would possibly discover real-time kinematic positioning (RTK), which is a satellite tv for pc navigation approach used to boost positioning precision in enterprise drones that you just received’t discover within the shopper counterpart. And whereas most shopper drones solely have commonplace visible cameras, the enterprise model may need a thermal or zoom digital camera.

Here are a number of the largest diferences in standard shopper vs their enterprise siblings:

The Skydio X2 (left) and Skydio 2 (proper)


American drone maker Skydio is legendary for its practically crash-proof drones, which have sensors on all sides for impediment detection and avoidance. The Silicon Valley-based firm sells its Skydio 2 drone for $1,349. The enterprise version, Skydio X2, prices $11,000. Here’s what you get for that value distinction:

Skydio 2 Skydio X2
Price $1,349 $11,000
Camera 4k60 HDR 4K60P HDR colour + FLIR® 320p thermal
Flight time 23 minutes 35 minutes
Wireless vary 200m to telephone
1.5 km to beacon
3.5 km to controller
6km (5GHz) or
10km (1.8GHz)
Controller Use your individual sensible gadget, or improve to the controller ($179) or Beacon ($219) Enterprise Controller (included)
Processor NVIDIA Tegra X2 SOC NVIDIA Tegra X2 SOC

Among the largest upgrades you’ll discover within the Skydio X2 that don’t exist within the Skydio 2 is the colour/thermal digital camera. The digital camera features a FLIR® Boson 320 x 256 with 8x digital zoom.

And whereas Skydio drones are crash-proof because of the impediment avoidance sensors, this one is able to exact flight even with impediment avoidance disabled, because of precision GPS and inertial navigation.

Other bonus options on the X2 embody strobing lights, which you’ll be able to toggle between on or off in each in white seen mild and infrared wavelength.

And the Enterprise model additionally has an Enterprise Controller with a 6.8” ultra-bright AMOLED touchscreen and USB-C 3.1 with HDMI-out assist.

buy enterprise drones directly from DJI
A Mavic 2 Enterprise drone from Chinese drone maker DJI


Over at DJI, maybe the 2 best drones to match are the Mavic 2 Pro versus the Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced.

American drone maker Skydio is legendary for its practically crash-proof drones, which have sensors on all sides for impediment detection and avoidance. The Silicon Valley-based firm sells its Skydio 2 drone for $1,349. The enterprise version, Skydio X2, prices $11,000. Here’s what you get for that value distinction:

Mavic 2 Pro Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced
Price $1,599 $6,500
Camera 4K with 1” CMOS Thermal Camera: 640 × 512 px, 30 Hz Frame Rate, 16× Zoom
Visual Camera: 48MP, 1/2″ CMOS Sensor
and 32× Digital Zoom
Flight time 31 minutes 31 minutes
RTK? No Yes

The Enterprise Advanced has standout options over the Mavic 2 Pro, most notably, its thermal digital camera and RTK module. The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced has not one digital camera just like the Pro, however two: a visible digital camera and a thermal digital camera (much like the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, designed in partnership with FLIR).

The thermal digital camera entails HD 640 × 512 px thermal decision with a a 30Hz body price, permits for ±2°C temperature measurement accuracy and has 16x thermal zoom. Meanwhile, the visible digital camera shoots 48MP with a 1/2” CMOS sensor and is able to 32x digital zoom. Another necessary function for enterprise operation is RTK, a satellite tv for pc navigation approach that could be a must-have for use-cases like precision mapping that require centimeter-level precision.

Situation the place the enterprise drones are crucial

For some use instances, it’s apparent the place the enterprise model is crucial. If you’re employed in industrial inspections, then centimeter-level positioning accuracy may very well be make or break. First responders would possibly require thermal cameras to do their work.

But these aren’t the one causes to contemplate the enterprise model.


Many of the enterprise variations even have extra security measures. The Skydio X2 is National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) compliant and was even chosen as U.S. DoD Blue sUAS trusted platform, because of options together with signed and encrypted automobile firmware, an encrypted exhausting drive, password safety for the controller, and knowledge hyperlink encryption.

Data safety has been particularly necessary as of late, given latest considerations that Chinese tech firms (which incorporates DJI) could also be sending delicate drone knowledge to the Chinese authorities. The Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced takes further steps to mitigate these dangers with options together with Local Data Mode, which cease the DJI App from sending or receiving any knowledge over the web. Then, the radio hyperlink between the plane and distant controller options AES-256 encryption. Plus, the controller incorporates 24 GB of onboard knowledge storage and password safety, which DJI says protects the info even when the drone is bodily compromised.

That continues DJI’s foray into different, theoretically safer drones. DJI in 2019 introduced the DJI Government Edition drone, meant to be used use in high-security conditions by authorities businesses around the globe. Features embody no knowledge transmission, firmware replace critiques and restricted {hardware} pairing.

What causes the value hole?

The tables above point out that specs have lots to do with it. Minor technical enhancements can have a big impact for some companies. While your common shopper seeking to photographs o their seaside trip won’t be prepared to pay a premium for multi-kilometer wi-fi vary, a enterprise conducting inspections of oil pipelines would discover these sorts of specs crucial.

For companies the place knowledge safety is very necessary, paying that form of premium is well value it.

But the specs aren’t the one cause why you would possibly see such an enormous value hole between shopper versus enterprise drones.

Businesses aren’t as price-sensitive as shoppers: One of probably the most simple solutions of why drones cost extra for enterprise variations of their merchandise: they will.

It’s a pattern seen in additional than simply the drone trade. For instance, look to the airways. Business vacationers account for 12% % of airways’ passengers, however they’re sometimes twice as profitable – accounting for as a lot as 75% of income. That’s as a result of enterprise vacationers usually tend to e book refundable (and dearer) fares, in addition to improve to firstclass seats. Business and firstclass seats sometimes price three to 4 occasions the price of a coach seat. You’d must drink loads of champagne to make up for that value distinction. Airlines are pocketing most of that income.

In some capacities, the industries that use enterprise drones are used to paying increased costs (and might afford it). Drone manufactures are making the most of that.

Branding: And typically, it simply comes all the way down to branding. If you’re a cinematographer who sweats by Sony’s cameras, you then would possibly already be prepared to pay $9,000 for the Sony Airpeak S1 drone — regardless that the digital camera isn’t even included — simply because you realize and belief the model. Is a treadmill any completely different at Equinox versus Planet Fitness? The treadmill itself possible isn’t, however the model, aura and environment round it is perhaps. Likewise, flying a Sony drone is perhaps value it simply because it’s Sony.

Sony Airpeak S1 drone
The $9,000 Sony Airpeak S1 drone (digital camera not included).

DJI enterprise drones at the moment are simpler to get your fingers on

One latest and notable improvement in the case of DJI enterprise drones: now you can buy DJI enterprise drones online, straight from DJI. Up till early 2021, enterprise-level drones typically might solely be bought by way of DJI’s community of licensed sellers. That information comes with execs and cons, with some cons being that you just won’t get the identical stage of service and assist that you might typically anticipate from sellers do you have to select to purchase from DJI. It additionally means sellers can not give you reductions, as they as soon as could have.

But the excellent news is that pricing for enterprise drones is now far more clear, and you may higher assure you’re not getting the identical value as everybody else.

The excellent news for small companies on a funds

In many conditions, you don’t must get suckered into paying the markup for enterprise variations of drones. For instance, maybe you’re establishing photogrammetry tasks utilizing Pix4DCapture, a drone flight planning app for 3D mapping and modeling. Not solely is Pix4D Capture suitable with high-end DJI drones just like the $6,000 Matrice 210, however it’s additionally suitable with super-entry stage drones just like the DJI Spark.

In many instances, you don’t must funds 1000’s of {dollars} for a drone in your personal enterprise. Highly-specialized, high-end companies will want drones with extra superior capabilities, however these companies know what they’re. For many small enterprise homeowners, the consumer-grade drones are sometimes enough.

Do you agree? Can many small enterprise homeowners get away with buying shopper high quality drones, or is it nearly at all times a greater concept to get the enterprise model?