Autel EVO II is a new drone presented during CES 2020. It will come with three different camera modules – 8K 1/2-inch camera, 6K 1-inch camera, and a combination of 8K camera and thermal camera. This world’s first 8K foldable consumer drone will weigh slightly above 1kg and it will offer flight time up to 40 minutes, signal reach up to 9km and autonomous modes. Price and availability are not known yet.
I think 2020 will be the year of 8K resolution and we will see more consumer products offering 8K UHD (7680 × 4320) image acquisition. Panasonic wants to release an 8K mirrorless camera in time for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and I think they will not be the only ones.
During CES 2020 in Las Vegas, Autel Robotics presented the second generation of their EVO drone, which is the world’s first 8K foldable consumer drone. Autel EVO II sports a new drone body, which will come with three different camera modules. It features a foldable design with a bright red body. Although there is a certain similarity with the DJI Mavic design, the rear legs fold the same way as front legs. Mavic uses a different folding mechanism for the rear legs. All three camera modules will be user-interchangeable.
Autel EVO II Series – Three New Cameras
As I said, Autel EVO II Series is one new drone body which will come in three different versions with three different camera modules:
- Autel EVO II has an 8K camera with 1/2-inch CMOS sensor. It offers maximum resolution of 48MP (8,000 x 6,000px) for stills. Video resolution will top at 7720×4320 pixels. According to Autel, this is the world’s first foldable 8K drone. The ISO range of this camera will be 100-3200. The takeoff weight of EVO II will be 1,127g.
- Autel EVO II Pro features 6K camera with 1-inch CMOS sensor and 29mm (full-frame equivalent) focal length optics with adjustable aperture (f/2.8-f/11). The sensor offers maximum resolution of 20MP (5,472 x 3,648px) for stills. Thanks to larger pixels, the ISO range is 100-12,800. The takeoff weight of EVO II Pro will be 1,174g.
- Autel EVO II Dual offers a camera module that combines the 8K camera with a thermal camera that offers a resolution of up to 640×512. Takeoff weight will be 1,157g for the EVO II Dual 320 and 1,192g for the EVO II Dual 640. I suppose the difference will be in the quality (resolution) of the thermal camera.
All camera modules share the same maximum bitrate of 120Mbps. Autel does not state if this is in H.264 or H.265. I do hope it is the more efficient H.265 codec as 120Mbps is quite a low bitrate for 8K video. They also claim that the cameras will offer 10-bit color depth. Again, no info whether it will be 4:2:2 subsampling or 4:2:0.
There is also no information about the available framerates. Autel only says in their video, that refresh rate will be up to 30Hz, which would mean 30fps. All camera modules should be able to shoot with a flat (log) color profile. HDR video will also be available. In terms of media storage, the drones offer 8GB internal storage and support SD memory cards (I suppose those will be MicroSD) up to 256GB.
Autel EVO II Features
The maximum speed in Standard mode will be 15m/s (54km/h). Autel EVO II drones will also have something called Ludicrous mode, which will increase the maximum speed to 20m/s (72km/h).
Video transmission and drone control signal should reach up to 9km of distance. That means the 2.4GHz signal should be strong enough to also help in crowded urban environments and thick forests. Autel EVO II will come with a remote controller with a built-in screen. The operating temperature range will be from -10°C to 40°C.
Autel EVO II features 12 optical computer vision sensors plus two sonar sensors on its body. That way, the drone can navigate itself in all directions while avoiding obstacles. It seems it will offer both manual control with the remote or automatic movements. Dynamic Track 2.0 will track the desired subject with the help of AI-enhanced tracking.
Autel EVO II series comes with 7100mAh rechargeable battery. According to Autel, it will provide up to 40 minutes of flight time in forwarding motion and up to 35 minutes in hover. This would be quite impressive, if true. The battery is held securely in the drone’s body during high-speed maneuvers or hard landings by their patented Battlock system.
Pricing and Availability
The drone is currently in production. The pricing and availability should be announced soon. I suppose Autel will also be selling the camera modules separately because they should be user-interchangeable.
What do you think of the new Autel EVO II series drones? Have you ever flown with the first generation Autel EVO? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.