Consumer drones have been stuck in a holding pattern for a while now. They are either toys or sophisticated flying cameras that take a bit of skill to master. The latter market, largely dominated by DJI, has seen little change in its fundamental form factor – a four (or six) armed star fish with a propeller on each arm.
That is about to change. Today, PowerVision Robot launched the PowerEgg, which has the potential to shake up the consumer market. There are three reasons for this.
First, there is the concept behind it, which is reflected in the unique design. The concept was expressed to DroneLife by Chih-Che Tsai, CEO of PowerVision Robot Inc., a subsidiary of the PowerVision Technology Group. “We wanted to design a drone that could be enjoyed by everyone in the family.” The goal is to develop one that is simple enough for a child to use but which has a feature set sophisticated enough to meet the needs of advanced users.
The design is sleek, compact, and portable. The propellers and landing arms both fold into the device when not in use. This design is quite a departure from what prosumers have come to expect, and it is obvious where the product name came from. Its collapsible design allows for “pack and go” ease.
Second, there is the time, energy, and technology that went into the PowerEgg’s development. PowerVision is a 500-person company about half of whom work in R&D. The PowerEgg is the result of a two year effort and ~350 patents and, while the PowerEgg is PowerVision’s first consumer drone, it is not their first drone. This is a company with a pedigree in UAV development, and that expertise is reflected in this product.
Perhaps the most innovative feature is the PowerEgg Maestro, the first gesture based-drone controller. It is similar in concept to the Nintendo Wii. The PowerEgg can be controlled with a wave of the hand. The company reports that “the one-handed remote has motion sensing capabilities, allowing the user to interact with and manipulate the drone in flight via gesture recognition through advanced, integrated accelerometers and gyroscopes. Users can control up-down, left-right, and near-far motions.” However, skilled drone flyers can also use a hand-based controller for more enhanced control.
The drone comes with an integrated 4K UHD camera that can produce professional-grade photographs and videos with panoramic 360-degree views on a 3-axis gimbal, delivering stabilized aerial views with an immersive “spherical” experience. This is complemented with a number of autonomous flying patterns including follow-me, orbit and selfie all of which can be managed through either an iOS or Android device.
Lastly, the PowerEgg has a competitive price point. At $1288, it is just a tad about the DJI Phantom 4 ($1199) and just below the Yuneec Typhoon H ($1299). It is available for pre-order from the PowerVision store. The package includes a free PowerEgg backpack. Here are the complete pre-order package contents:
Wally Zheng, Founder & Global CEO of PowerVision Technology Group, said this about the product, “We designed PowerEgg to be the consumer drone for everyone. It’s sleek, compact and portable but also easy to operate, making it simple for anyone to launch and capture special moments on camera.”
DroneLife Take: This product represents a competitive alternative to the prosumer quadcopters available today. It has a compelling design, innovative ease of use, and functionality that will appeal to a range of users. While the radical design may put off some long-time experienced drone operators, Power Vision should be commended for taking a bold step to advance the technology and put it in the hands of the average consumer. It looks to have all the joy of a toy, coupled with sophisticated technology on par with a Phantom 4. One notable feature missing is obstacle avoidance, but we are eager to experience the product first hand.
Key Product Specifications:
Please view full product specifications here.