During a live stream event on Wednesday broadcast over 20 live streaming platforms in China, Xiaomi launched the highly anticipated Mi Drone, the company’s very first drone that is targeted at the high-end consumer market.
According to the company, the drone is easy to operate, has a long battery life, shoots extremely clear images and videos, is convenient to carry around, and is very safe.
Mi Drone comes in two variants—the 4K version retails at RMB 2999, while the 1080P one is priced at RMB 2499. Xiaomi’s Global VP Hugo Barra also posted numerous pictures of the drone on his Facebook account.
Mi Drone (1080P) will be crowd-funded on the Mi Home app starting 26 May 2016, and Mi Drone (4K) will be available for testing via an open beta programme in late July.
The Drones have typically been targeted at a small group of enthusiasts, because they are generally difficult to operate. To appeal to a wider group of consumers, Mi Drone has a number of smart flight controls and autopilot options that make it extremely easy to operate.
It has included automatic take-off, landing and return modes, as well as functions for flight path planning and circling around an object, which can also be easily accessed through the buttons on the remote control.
GPS and vision positioning
For safer and more stable flights, Mi Drone uses both GPS and GLONASS for accurate positioning. In the absence of satellite signals, Mi Drone uses vision positioning and can continue hovering even at low altitudes (below 2.5 metres).
Mi Drone also has four layers of built-in security—real-time location tracking to allow users to retrieve the drone easily even if it has crashed, real-time computing power to enable it to return on low battery levels, automatic hovering at the edge of no-fly zones, and the use of a remote control with a PCB antenna array to avoid losing contact with the drone.
Flight time is a big challenge for drones in the current market, however, Xiaomi has filled that gap by making optimisations in three areas — chassis weight, propeller efficiency and battery capacity.
Mi Drone uses a 1.2mm thin body design, and after over 100 tests on structural integrity and strength, its weight has been reduced by as much as 16 per cent. The four propellers feature an aerodynamic design for optimal efficiency.
At the same time, Mi Drone has a 15.2V battery with a capacity of 5100mAh. Factors such as lightweight design, propeller efficiency and high-capacity intelligent battery, allows Mi Drone to achieve a long flight time of up to 27 minutes.
Aerial photography is one of the most important features of any drone, and the quality of images determines a good flying experience.
Mi Drone comes with either a 1080P or 4K camera. The 1080P camera sports a 16-megapixel Sony backside illuminated CMOS sensor and has a 104- degree wide angle lens. The 12-megapixel 4K camera shoots video at a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and supports recording still images in RAW format.
For stable footage, the camera on Mi Drone is attached to a highly sensitive three-axis gimbal that stabilises up to 2000 vibrations per second.
A major pain point of high-end drones is that they are bulky and extremely inconvenient to transport. Mi Drone has a modular design and foldable landing gear, enabling users to easily carry it around in a backpack.Latest product information - availability and pricing - can be found at Drones for Sale pages.