Yuneec partnered with local law enforcement at this month’s InterDrone conference to demonstrate their new H520 drone for accident reconstruction. While the demonstration was impressive, it’s the overall cost of operation which makes Yuneec’s new offering stand out, says Douglas Spotted Eagle – a well-known industry leader and Yuneec’s Director of Commercial Business Product Development.
Spotted Eagle’s involvement is a good sign for the new offering. A drone pilot, educator and expert media flyer, he has a deep understanding of market requirements – and Yuneec’s new model is an attempt to meet them. “The H520 is a need-based solution,” says Spotted Eagle. “It’s based around the enterprise.”
The solution is focused on 4 main verticals: first responders, construction (orthomapping), inspections, and broadcast. And priced starting at $1999, Spotted Eagle says it offers the functionality of a much more expensive system.
With a flight endurance of 28 minutes in winds over 35 mph, an interchangeable payload system that they call “hotswap,” and a design with all of the current safety features included, it looks like it. But it isn’t only hardware design that brings the new offering into the big leagues of commercial drones. DataPilot, the integrated software and flight planning system, provides “a one or two button solution that lets me do repeatable missions,” says Spotted Eagle. “Mid-flight, you can bring it down and then resume same flight plan. It’s very efficient and very safe – we built the application with safety as our first and foremost function.”
Spotted Eagle points out that ease of use and the ability to gather consistent data are critical components for commercial products – and that enterprise business will choose a solution that offers the safety and features they need, but will do the math to calculate their return on investment. In that calculation, Yuneec sees the new solution coming out strong. “With the H520, the cost of operation per hour is dramatically less,” he says.
With many of the features of a more expensive enterprise solution, the H520 could be a serious contender: staking a place in the lower-end prosumer market and taking a piece of the large enterprise commercial market.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.