AUTEL General Manager Maxwell Lee – NEW drones are here!
He is uh general manager of autel robotics us and thank you for joining us. Thank you very much ken, yes, so exciting time to be on right now, as uh, the availability is going to be happening soon for all the drones that people want in your new line correct. Well, i would say that it is absolutely hectic here at the office. Um, you know we have received the shipments uh within this week. You know they have arrived at the office and then we have to go through a process of doing quality checks, making sure that the very first shipment that we do you know. Usually there are a manufacturing defects. Maybe you know its a guys first time building a drone back at the factory right, so we just want to make sure that you know every single one of them are tested properly to the standards that you know we go for, so it would be better to Get the drones late but functioning properly to people then early and have some mistakes. Well, you know it like its always a like a balance of things. You know we try to get the engineers to give us a yes or no answer. Is the technology ready? Is it ready? Is it ready and theyre, like yeah sort of kind of you know, and the marketing gets all excited and says? Oh, my gosh, this product is going to be ready in september or october and they just want to go, go right, but then, when we do the testing you know sometimes things dont get to the point that we want it to be right.
So youre kind of balancing it do we release a product. Thats kind of half finished may have some issues but well fix them post. You know you know after a month or so or do we wait, you know and keep everybody pissed and waiting to release a product thats more polished, right um. I would definitely say that two months ago we could have definitely released the uh, the nano and the light series, but it would be a rough launch, yeah and – and you wouldnt want that as a company. Although you know christmas time, especially here, its very, very tempting, i would say to get the holiday sales but um safety first right and then, of course, all the features that we have touted on the uh on with our marketing and our website. We have to uh hold up to that, so whats. What what new drones do you have coming out and do you have them there with you? Can you show us i i do so they are right at the office here. Let me um, let me grab the the light here before we fold it out here. Let me get a good angle here: okay, right its like a mini mini evo, too uh huh for those with evil ones, is about the same size. Okay. So here i have a Music. I have an evil one: oh yeah. Is there any way to very similar, like almost the exact same body? Is it? Is there any way, maxwell to turn off your background blur yeah unless theres some secret messages on your wall? There? You dont want us to see.
Oh no ive got nothing secret here, okay and by the way again, if anybody uh has any uh sarah, are you looking at the the chat as well? Okay, let me know if anybody has any questions, thats your job. Okay, all right, oh yeah, its almost the exact same uh footprint, okay, the build quality is significantly better im trying to fit in front of the screen here. Yeah thats the thing uh thats, the one thing i notice about autel drones. They just feel like very well put together and uh. I did crash the evo ii um, not not intentionally but uh. It took it like a champ. Nothing happened not like a champ um will. Will the new line include uh geo, fencing and especially im talking about the nanos that are going to be uh, sub, 250 grams right and – and i i know that theres a lot of people watching thinking? First of all that to get around geo geo fencing that dji has theyre, they all very often say well, otto doesnt, but you guys are going to incorporate that well well, legally, were not obligated right. The ffa is not dfa is not telling us to do so. Um none of the uh, the us drone manufacturers have planned to do so or do they want to okay, and so, in the current time, theres really no reason for us to to go for geofence, so youre not going to have them.
Do you youre not going to go for geofence? I mean we have the system implemented where we have the database so so thats why we always send out the warning, because we know that youre flying in a you know in an area or airspace that youre not supposed to and and thats mostly for users. In other countries, where it is obligated by law, we have japan and china. That requires you to uh to basically have this geo lock in place. So for those countries we do have it implemented. We do have a system, okay and i think its great – that youre competing directly with the the mini two thats been very, very successful and uh the go to beginner drone for a lot of people and uh. So what what differentiates your sub? 250 drone from the mini 2. How is how is yours better tell me very good question, so so, so let me start off by showing the mini drone right here, right um for those of us that have been on the auto official facebook pages um. I think somebody made a post that puts the meaning too next to a nano and they look pretty much identical in terms of the the shape and the size um. Primarily we are, you know we cannot compete against dji based on just raw price and just on the um being in the exact same market location, we have to find a way to differentiate.
You know it is not our goal right to uh to compete head on theyre much bigger company with bigger volume, so primarily with the nano we want to focus on the camera. You know the camera features and just treat it more. Like a mavic air 2s like a smaller mavic, 2 area, air 2s, so youre trading for the battery life for the portability and the uh, the camera quality of the nano, the nano plus should be better if um should be as equal to or if not better Than the uh, the air 2s? Okay, what is the battery life whats whats? The flight time on battery life sits at around uh 28 minutes uh pro, primarily because we put on uh bigger chips to do the to do the obstacle avoidance right. This being the first drill on sub 240 uh, you know 249 gram, drone sub 250 gram, drone to uh to offer obstacle avoidance. You need to have powerful chips. In order to do the video processing i mean for yeah for the primary gimbal, as well as for the obstacle avoidance – okay. So yes, okay and youre, and talk a little bit about the camera on the nano right right right. So so we have two nanos right. We have the nano standard and then we have the nano plus the nano standard. You get a half inch sensor, which is still bigger than whatever sensor the mini come comes with. You know, thats.
What i believe should be a comparable drone to the mini two, and then we have the the nano plus with the all new 0.8 inch rywb sensor, which is a completely new technology um entirely right, even though yeah we positioned this product to specifically target against, like Air 2s air 2. I mean not air 2 air 2s mavic 2 pro um, the r um ryb sensors. How many of chad knows what ryb technology is no not too familiar ill, give a quick refresher, so traditional drones use uh, rggb, right, rgb filters and basically um rggb, sensors and basically uh. You have a filter, thats sitting on top of the sensor, and then it lets the light through right. You have rgb so so, for example, like with a red sensor right the filter filters out all the light and lets read through it, only lights red through right and then the same for green and yeah and the same for blue. So what weve done here is um, basically replace the green with a with yellow sensor, and this allows the um the light coming through the filter to basically um well like to simplify it, absorbs 40 more light, because yellow is a bigger spectrum. It contains both red and green and um yeah yeah. The sensor absorbs yellow, so less of it gets filtered out, theres a lot of technical stuff, but yeah its a lot of technical stuff, but for the regular users it means that, even though we have a smaller sensor 0.
8 inch, it is performing significantly better night time. Uh dynamic range, wise, okay, then a sensor of a comparable size. Okay, go ahead. What kind of range does that uh drone get how far the distance uh the nano series gets 6.2 miles, so we currently have the brand new, auto skylink transmission, and that is from an entirely new team. So for those of us that are familiar with evo2 video transmission, such as the enterprise right, the evil enterprise evo2 pros, you know with the view the v1 chips and the v2 chips. This is completely new. This is a triple band, so youre, looking at 5.2 gigahertz, 5.8 and then 2.4, oh wow, all right, uh, brad alston. He asks uh uh. Will it have raw capabilities raw capabilities on the nano? Absolutely okay uh? I was just flying out it uh early. Today you get raw and uh raw plus jpeg jpeg um. I think template color is available too. Oh wonderful and uh. Somebody else asked about the evo 3. Oh my gosh, evo3 yeah. Is that a thing um? It is, i would say, um. You know when people ask me: are products available, are products available like? Is there going to be a evo 3? Well, yes, is there going to be a evo 4? Yes, is it coming yes right, but when is it coming that thats, the hard part um, the like the fact is, were continually developing the technology and you know, as were releasing the evil light and the evil nano we have more stuff.
You know in the back end, the engineers are never slowing down, theyre, always making things better and overall so evo3, maybe youll see it in 2022.. Okay, but its really is it like its really deep? Okay were still were still getting a lot of things ironed out. Okay, now, as far as naming it as far as great as far as naming stuff youre gon na stick with you know the evo nano youre, not gon na get fancy with like dji does with just renaming stuff. You guys so many right inspires airs minis, right um. I guess we just follow with a very simple um naming philosophy, mostly, is an agreement between the us team and the europe team and the china team on the name that everybody can pronounce properly. Oh yeah. It can spell, i think, thats the biggest challenge. We have a lot of great names in the end. It all gets rejected because some party dont like it. So we have what are some of the the failed names. Can you mention some of the failed names that were rejected um pretty much all the the play names, because somebody wanted to to name name after planes uh we have matrix, we have vector, we had a bunch of crazy ones, um, somehow dragon feature stuck yeah. Can i get one of those i wan na get some? Can you send me one two, though seventy two yeah, what tell us a little bit about this? The dragon fish, okay, so were looking at the website.
Right now, give me a second here yeah! Oh sorry, i didnt mean to no no, its all good okay, so the dragon fish um. So this thing was in development about five years ago. Actually uh we were working in you know. This thing is primarily developed in germany. Actually um completely different team made it uh. It has its own flight control system right, uh, thats, one of the core technologies of auto robotics took us five years to to develop is a veto. Uh aircraft electro electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and to for those who havent seen it its about its got like a six foot, wingspan yeah and then the whole thing can be broken down without tools in about two minutes or broken down in two minutes. And then it fits into the pack of any uh truck or suv, who are the potential uh? Who are the custom intended customers for the for the intended customers go for mostly security applications, but you what youre seeing is mostly like a platform. So anything goes. If you can, if you can find a way to use it right, weve been seeing great success with search and rescue border security uh. We have connected with some some military um for surveillance. You know uses in asia, pacific region because theyre a great reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft. You know, think think about coastal maritime security. You know doing patrols, making sure that theres no illegal chinese boats fishing off your shores.
You know that that whole issue right um and then yeah, just fishing boats yeah its like yeah yeah. Anything goes, i mean it can fly for two hours. It can fly at up to 60 miles an hour, so that covers quite a lot of ground. Yeah theres a lot of stuff you can do with that. I have to mention our buddy x jet whos, watching from new zealand. He would hes requesting that you name a drone in the future bob and, i think thats, a great name just bob just bob yeah. I had to mention that um i dont think that would fly with uh with the chinese dudes. No, maybe it will, you know, maybe ill sneak it into one of the app features. Okay, awesome all right or just call a firmware update bob 1.1 yeah firmware update bob um. Are you uh uh working on any goggle technology like uh? I mean i mean. Are these because people like to use goggles with their gps drones and uh? Unfortunately, i dont think thats in the works currently but obviously um. I would say that if theres enough customer demand – and then we see it on the forums we do read, you know all the facebook forums, um, chats and complaints and all that. So so, if theres enough demand, we will make it, but i would say that it is not the direction that auto robotic is going into um. We are focusing primarily on autonomy, uh thats, why we have the uh, the sky commands thats coming out thats.
Why? We have the evo nest autonomous charging port coming out um. We plan on basically doing drone swarms, okay, uh yeah in that direction. So youre youre, yes, go ahead. Sarah um will it be coming out with a new smart controller for the nano series? Excellent question excellent, excellent question, so we are getting the accessories lined up the the light and the nano they share the same chipset, so they will have a smart controller coming out. It is in the works, stay tuned, okay and uh brian brian waller. I think thats his name. He he read my mind for the next question. Do you have any plans for any kind of um dip into the fpv pool? Fpv pool not not currently im sorry, okay yeah, but if theres enough demand we might make it so make your voices heard. Okay and uh were hearing your voices right now, so this is a great opportunity for everybody in this im pointing the wrong way uh in the chat to go ahead and ask your questions. Um is there? Is there? Is there anything that you would like everyone to know about the company autel that uh people may not uh quite understand or that you want people? What is what is the message you would like the drone community to know about autel robotics. Thank you for the question. Well, i just kind of want to to say a bit about the you know the concept of auto robotics in general.
I think um, we just kind of came, came out. We never really did much marketing and stuff and um. So, basically, for those unaware right were, were we are a company thats being supported by our parent company, the auto robotics? I mean auto automotive intelligence, which is a public company thats ipod in china and has like 1 500 employees yet again and thats where we get the majority of our funding from you know, we um the drone industry is is very, very tough um. We have strict price competition, we have extremely um, you know high bar for technology and the truth is a lot of companies. They dont make it um. We have a lot of companies, you know in recent years, go out of business or just kind of faded away from the market and and then you know, we have the separate funding and thats whats keeping us afloat and at the same time, were not doing uh Crazy marketing stunts or any of that to to impress investors because we are pretty much privately funded. So we kind of do our own pace. We we strictly focus on our products first and then we focus on sales and marketing in that order. So that allows us to just do things slow, chug along make sure that our products are good, and i can tell you this um yeah, i ive been very impressed with autel your products and and the company, because well here you are, i havent talked to any Dji uh upper management, but uh.
So thank you very much for making time for us yeah. Thank you. I mean its sometimes its like its nice to chat with our you know our user base. I want to listen to the feedback uh, sometimes if youre still so so stuck with management and all the money and the tech. You sometimes kind of moves. What youre trying to do its nice to to be on the ground right and then report back to industry to the engineers hey? We need this feature. We need that feature. Someone needs this to be done. Yeah sometimes were just so busy yeah. Now, speaking of busy um, i can tell you that ive dealt with uh dji customer service and, first of all, their hold music just makes me want to break something um, its very frustrating uh. Have you guys uh prioritized any more uh personnel or because you know what it says, a lot about a company where you can speak to a real person or get some help right away and not just been uh just put on hold uh forever? I know thats important to a lot of people and luckily i havent had to deal with the customer service um with with autel. But if you have a problem, yeah, absolutely absolutely so um we put some importance. We put quite a bit of importance, um or rather a like on customer service, or rather on just in general, u.s presence right um. You know our owner frank, believes of you know.
If you want to sell in the u.s, you need a u.s office to understand. U.S country to hire u.s employees and to give feedback that represents u.s citizens, and so you know one of the reasons we have live support is. We can also understand and hear user stories and user problems live um, but absolutely uh. Customer service live customer service will continue to be a focus from uh from the seattle office. Absolutely okay and uh. There is a little theres been a bit of confusion for for some people. They um they think autel is an american company. Um youre, not an american company, but you do have offices based here in the union, absolutely so um yeah. We are owned um by by the autel shenzhen. You know uh over in china, but we do have significant presence in the u.s. We also have a multitude of offices, r d research centers around you know around the world. As ive said, we have a great r d research center in munich, germany. We have a great office over in um bay area. So those are our. You know flight control team, as well as our autonomy team, because what what weve learned in the development process is theres, no one country that really holds the key to all of the drone technologies um. It is a conglomeration of many things that is high tech right. We have the flight control. You know the very item that keeps the drone stable right.
Uh. We have the gimbal technology that keeps the camera. You know, uh stabilized the the jello effect right and keep the horizon level right. Thats self developed. We have the the whole autonomy suite that were building so autonomy, so in terms of drone swarms automatically avoiding obstacles when its returning to home or just doing like something like dynamic, track right mission. You know path planning. Then we have the camera technology. We have an entire team back in headquarters that is focused on tuning the color science that you see on all of the auto drones right. We import raw sensors from sony right. We get raw lenses from germany and then we tune everything by ourselves and its like, and then the final core technology i would like to go through is the transmission technology that weve been developing for years now now we have a name skylink and thats completely developed Independently as well so when you have all of these five technologies and they you know, and they speak to each other, only then will you have a good drone, solid platform, yeah, and sometimes it takes more than one country to make that that is. That is true. Uh now you – i think you uh alluded to this in in something you just said, but its a question from uh novice quads will the light and nano get the waypoint missions feature. This is something thats important for a lot of people that are going to be using their drones professionally.
So currently, the nano and the light are meant to be mostly consumer and photography, centric, so thats we have this new sky app. Of course that does not support mission planning and currently we have no plans to put mission planning, although it is possible, but right now the positioning of these two products are completely uh for consumer uh. You may have to stick with the evo 2 or wait for the evo 3 or potentially a future heavy lift whens the evo 3 coming out whens that coming out there maxwell, i dont, know im asking the engineers every day. I wont tell anybody, because we have some amazing autonomy. Breakthroughs on that aircraft is going to fly like a champ yeah. How about the remote id somebodys asking in the chat here. I didnt get what username it was, but the remote id feature yeah. The engineers have assured me that they have a future proof, im, not sure what that means. Okay, so its its something that is some hardware thats, already a board that can be turned on by firmware, maybe or yes, yes, yes, they are aware of the remote id issue. Okay and uh lon dennard uh asks uh if they come up with an evo 3. Will the camera fit on the evo 2 since they push the replaceable camera thing so hard? We are too early in the development phase to uh. To answer this uh directly, i would say i like i havent yeah.
I wouldnt give a clear answer to this. I dont know all right, uh man, i i could. I could just talk to you about this, this stuff all night um and sarah uh. Please let me know if you see any other uh questions, but we do a thing with all of our guests called. Would you write it and youve seen maxwell all these uh people who are inventing these uh vertical takeoff, things that you can ride? They call them drones, but if youre in it its not a drone, unless somebody else is controlling it, i guess. Yes, there is a new one and ill just go ahead and play this. This is by a company called uh, samad, aerospace and uh. This is their first actual test hover and you, let me know, along with everybody else, would you ride this thing, but does it look scary? What in the world yeah? So it is massive yeah thats, usually a thing you know some the guy was just literally standing on top of, like you know, four propellers uh huh, so im guessing uh. This will tilt and then go forward, but this is just a hover test that theyre doing so uh the man hover test right yeah. What would you, what do you think? Would you ride this? I will definitely not ride in this okay, because ive seen the testing grounds for auto robotics. I know how many drones have crashed there. I dont trust engineers when they tell me that okay, its ready for market and i take it out to fly, and then i crash in five minutes – ive crashed so many drones.
Now have you whats your favorite ill, tell drone to crash uh evo2 evo2s, because they cant stop telling me that it has omnidirectional obstacle avoidance? Oh so because then there are limitations to such technologies. Right. If you have a wall that doesnt have any texture, i found out that the hard way, oh so youre, purposely trying to crash these things. Yeah, because i was showing it to you know one of my repair managers. You know when the new evo 2 came out and said: oh its not going to crash its not going to crash, and then it went full speed, ill, say: 20, 20, 22 miles an hour into the wall. Yeah thats the thing when i see these combs that say unbreakable on it. Oh no. You give me that card im, gon na break that thing, yeah uh, so yeah you, you look at it as a challenge, but thats got ta, be a fun gig. So flying drones, im just very skeptical at the current moment, um it takes a lot of effort to build a stable flying platform and i dont even know how many thousands and thousands of flight hours you need to put into it. How did you come to be the the general manager and were you a fan of drones before you got in the big chat right um? So some history about me and my involvement so ive been on and off involved? Okay, so so yeah ive been on and off involved in auto robotics, since the company started uh, mostly because this is uh for for me, its a family business.
So my father is the owner of the company thats handy and yeah, like like its quite handy. I would say you know i get to see a lot of the cool stuff. People dont usually get to see right, but ive been so yeah. So until about one and a half years ago, im kind of just on the side uh influencing some of the product decisions uh they make. You know like positioning of the aircraft and where to position it relative to the market and like and so on and so forth. Okay, so yes, so you so did. Did you go to school for for all this uh, because you, you seem uh very up on uh youre, very, very smart, very smart guy! Thank you very much yeah. This goes east coast in boston, okay, very good, um, okay, oh yeah um. Somebody wants to know novice quads wants to know, do you what what drones do you have personally and what drones do you have more like what drones have i flown and crashed yeah like phantom phantom one phantom, two phantom three uh phantom four ive played around with It but i never owned one: mavic 1 mavic 2 air 2s mini 2 uh, skydio, 2 sky yeah and then um. What do you think of this? What do you think of the skydio drums um uh, generally genuinely im quite impressed. You know i wish skydio the full success. You know being the only us manufacturer.
We do need some us uh uh competitors. Yes in the uh in the market. I think their autonomy system is great when the schedule um. What was it the schedule? R1, that came out, you know um, we uh, we had those and it flew really well. You know it blew dji and auto out of the water whenever and when it first came out with its ability to stay on target with the ability to track subjects and dive. You know in and out of trees um. It took us a bit of effort to actually crash it, so i i really respect your autonomy system. I think its a great one. You know personally personally, i do mountain biking. So if you ask for any other drone to to follow me when im mountain biking, i would probably choose the sky to go too theres a lot of technology on board there. Oh yeah theres there theres definitely one uh before we let you go uh, look into your magic crystal ball and tell us what what will drones and the the drone industry be like in 10, 15 years? What would we be seeing as far as uh the innovations yeah and would that strictly be consumer or commercial or or or both goes um any yeah? Just whatever you want, you know either one i see yeah. Both i see so on, like on the consumer side, were seeing kind of a stagnation. Currently uh were getting a lot of regulations piled on us and the rate of technology jumps have have slowed down significantly since about two 2014 2015 ish.
You know back back, then were seeing like plus five minutes of battery every time you know a new generation comes out. You know new obstacle avoidance, you know one inch, sensors, some crazy stuff, but now kind of that everybodys dead. The competitors are all dead. You know, dji is slowing down with the innovation were slowing down its harder to make breakthroughs. You know like like before so were seeing like basically a consumer kind of yeah, incremental improvement, yeah incremental improvements for the consumer side, um yeah, more focus on the compact drones for sure, as we pile more and more features onto these uh like under these nano units. Um, i think, in my opinion, the the the major jump we will see will be the commercial industry um again, its very its fairly new right got started about five years ago: mainstream when dji introduced. You know the matrix series, and you know, and the quadcopters and all that uh so well, see more usage in public safety. Well, see more usage in in energy and and autonomy is, is, is going to be a big thing. Yeah autonomy is going to be be a huge, huge, uh avenue in the future. Right. We have a bunch of companies already experimenting with self charging stations right skydio. Did it um? We we are doing it uh. We have a bunch of other companies thats doing it. Um just for drone swarms, you know automatic uh perimeter security patrols automatic, for you know drones as first responder program, where the drone flight flies out by itself to respond to 901 calls right, um and as soon as the regulation clears us, i mean we can do It right now cool, but i do agree that theres a lot of safety things we have to.
We have to jump over yeah yeah, its its gon na, be an interesting uh next yeah ten years for sure, and ultimately, if you think about it, drones is just a branch of robotics and thats. How we consider you know auto robotics, where we dont consider ourselves to be a drone company, but rather a robotics company. We make flying robots designed to do all sorts of tasks, whether autonomously or non autonomously or piloted you. You gave me visions of uh terminator. I dont want my uh. I dont want my uh drone to become self aware. Yeah. We dont want this guy out to become skynet dont put any ai in there too dont put too much in there. I want to have a nice personality. First, were you know a bit? You know we theres still a bit of to go theres still a bit to go. Yeah, i probably wont see it in my lifetime, but sarah sarah youre going to grow up with, with with drones in your life, doing all kinds of things and uh. Thank you, uh very much for for being on with us. I i appreciate youre very gracious to give us your time and uh the drone community thanks you for everything, youre doing for giving dji a run for their money, which they desperately need great, well continue trying to make products that people want, and you know, move away From the home depot orange, you know get some good colors.
I think the orange is growing on me. I like it. I like these okay, well im glad that some people, like it okay, good awesome. Well. Thank you very much, sir.