DJI Phantom 2 Vision – Establishing the Consumer Drone Benchmark

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Undoubtedly, as an aficionado you have seen or possibly read many of the glowing reviews of the Phantom 2 Vision. All of them have a little different focus depending on who wrote them and for what outlet. How it flies, photographical attributes, and the industry outsider drone coolio wow factor. While I definitely concur by-in-large with many of the superlatives heaped upon this DJI offering. Yes, I will say that the Phantom 2 Vision is awesome! I will not run thorough the features and or compare it to the last or other models as those reviews have already been done. Here at the sUAS News, you will get a unique historical and small business perspective from a guy who used to fly UAV’s for business purposes before it was illegal.

Years ago, I made public my vision of the future and the $1000 Chinese UAV public. That day was back in 2008 at NASA Ames. I remember the uproar that had caused as people heatedly disagreed with that statement and even the inference to such lunacy. I held fast and said get ready because it is coming, and I believe that vision may have manifested itself in the Phantom 2 Vision.

I think that DJI is very close to what someone as a tradesman or businessperson would buy to augment or modernize his or her business tool kit. What? I wanted to make videos of my friends riding bikes or knitting beanie caps. Sure, you can still do all of that, but here is something disruptive, increasing small business efficiency and productivity. Not that the skinning videos aren’t great, but like Goethe’s Travels in Italy… after a while it dawns on you, why do I want to see something I should be living myself?

It has been my experience over the years that drones best augment existing successful business plans. Those that exist and can add drone services or, can be used to gather self guided low altitude reconnaissance, are usually the ones that take off. Yes, here is the perfunctory… no pun intended.

Folks ask me all of time where I think businesses will be able to apply this technology and come in for the big score. Really, they are inquiring about the low hanging fruit, but I usually tell them that I can walk down the street and see unmanned dollars almost everywhere just waiting to be made by some enterprising entrepreneur. Here, I will offer up a low hanging fruit example of how a few businesspeople might be able to use this technology to upsell and or make estimates, inspections and or installations easier.

First of all, the P2V is the first example that I’ve personally flown that could easily be on the shelf at the Home Depot/Lowes or whatever your favorite home improvement store happens to be. (Really the only difference is the color of the shelving.) Right next to the other tools say, between the laser levels and table saws one would peruse the Drones.

The businessperson would make their purchase and after leaving the store and taking it home, read the instructions and charge the batteries. Like any other new tool purchase, you would fire it up and test it out before taking it out on the job for “prime time.” Mishaps and uncertainty do not inspire confidence in potential customers.

On To The Uses…

My first example is a roofer who doesn’t want to risk damage to either gutters or tile by walking on the roof. loosetileWorse, void the manufacturers warranty. In this first example, we can see that something isn’t quite right. Now, prior to the flight I was unaware that there was an issue here, but it is very clear… Houston we have a problem!

In this picture, we can see the cause of the slide… some high dollar joker forgot to nail this tile off. A drywall patch, texture, and paint are going running about $850, and that’s if you catch it before you have to do mold abatement. Remediation can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. This application would work on any roofing material… even say a thatched example after a big storm or prior to a high-speed Internet cable installation into the hut for the first time. (He means my thatch roof insurance inspection GM)

Moving on…

The second business example could be a local arborist or any other individual that makes they’re living

patrickstreeabove the immediate surface of the Earth. In this example, you as the property owner or arborist can get the literal “birds-eye” view of the subject in question. It is a known fact that mature trees add property value. Besides being able to convey to the property owner potential issues with the tree, it can be used it to come up with a scope of work and price as we as line out the crew for the days work without any misunderstandings that may give the tree a straight out of Dr. Seuss book look.

The consumer end-user upside –

The Phantom 2 Vision can do all of this and right around the magical price point. Yet, there’s no cobbling together pieces, buying specialized tools (all tools needed are included), soldering, programming, or assembly beyond attaching the propellers. In my case, I went for the optional prop guards… Safety first!

The Phantom 2 Vision is the machine that has reached the level of almost ready to start a business right out of the box. If you have some RC flying experience great. If not, you should still be able to operate this system safely if, you’ve ever played a video game and take the necessary time to run through a few batteries in a nice open space.

I had Dad flying it, and after his second time on the sticks (1 battery or 20 minutes) he was proficient enough for jobs in rural areas. All with no video game and or RC experience, my case study, had earned his wings.

I will say that before anyone runs out and buys a P2V and takes to the sky, read and understand the instructions! Check for firmware updates and watch the informative series of videos at the DJI site http://www.dji.com and this episode of Drone TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCfLxJy5INs for tip’s on de-conflicting airspace and preflight checks.

Do yourself the favor of taking these steps and your experience will be better, safer and cost you less in the long run. The P2V should not be misconstrued as a toy. *While on the subject… the author strongly recommends that would be business end-users secure private liability insurance. $1 million or more if your wife enjoys living in a house.

I plan on working with this system and you can be sure you will see video shot from this P2V gathering news and on Drone TV.

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Patrick Egan
Editor in Field, sUAS News Americas Desk | Patrick Egan is the editor of the Americas Desk at sUAS News and host and Executive Producer of the sUAS News Podcast Series, Drone TV and the Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition. Experience in the field includes assignments with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Battle Lab investigating solutions on future warfare research projects. Instructor for LTA (Lighter Than Air) ISR systems deployment teams for an OSD, U.S. Special Operations Command, Special Surveillance Project. Built and operated commercial RPA prior to 2007 FAA policy clarification. On the airspace integration side, he serves as director of special programs for the RCAPA (Remote Control Aerial Photography Association).