If there was ever a best moment for DJI to host a big FPV sale, it’s now.
In the wake of recommendations, and sometimes flat out rules to stay at home and flatten the curve of the coronavirus spread, many drone pilots have seen their approach to the hobby change.
Drone pilots who used to travel for conferences, flight jobs, gathering footage or racing competitions have seen that on hold.
But there’s one particular arm of the drone industry that seems to be seeing a surge: FPV drone racing.
Drone Racing League founder and CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski, which started broadcasting its latest season in China at the end of January and into February (at the height of the coronavirus surge in China) said Chinese viewership reached around seven million — up 70% on 2018. By mid-March, DRL’s tryout series attracted 300,000 viewers, a 10% jump from the week prior.
And it’s not just the pros who are ramping up drone racing right now. Drone racing is on the rise among high school aged kids too. The Youth Drone Sports Championships still went on last weekend using a drone racing simulator (rather than the high school where it was scheduled to take place at, in real life).
Drone racing is, in many ways, made for a stay at home lifestyle. Watching it is primarily done through online streaming. DRL is broadcast on TV channels like NBC, Sky Sports and FOX Sports Asia, and also streamed on sites like Twitter, Twitch, Weibo and Youku.
And to participate, you generally don’t start outdoors. While you can certainly fly FPV style over epic landscapes, it’s best to get started at home, where you’re in control of the landscape where your drone flies (and likely inevitably crashes).
So here’s some glimmer of good news amidst coronavirus: DJI is offering a big FPV sale so you can use this time to social distance, stay at home, and finally start drone racing.
What drone gear is marked down in the 2020 DJI FPV sale:
Most items are around 10% off. Here’s what’s marked down in the 2020 DJI FPV sale:
|DJI FPV Goggles
|DJI FPV Experience Combo
|DJI FPV Fly More Combo
|DJI FPV Air Unit
|DJI FPV Remote Controller (Mode 2)
The DJI FPV sale runs between now and April 15, 2020.
What is DJI FPV?
The DJI Digital First Person Viewing (FPV) Transmission System is a set of products including FPV goggles, an FPV Air Unit Transmission Module, an FPV remote controller and an FPV camera.
Put them together, and you have a smooth, clear HD video stream of ultra-low end-to-end latency — exactly what you need for FPV flight and drone racing.
DJI first stepped into FPV back in 2017 when it launched DJI Goggles. DJI Goggles, which have a 6-hour battery life, allow you to use your own head movements to control aircraft yaw and camera tilt. They can also be programmed to control the gimbal exclusively to lead the camera control, while another aircraft operator flies the drone using the traditional controller. Since video is received directly from the drone rather than through the controller, lag is minimized.
After the success of DJI Goggles, DJI in 2019 went on to build an all-in-one, ready to fly setup that combines the Goggles with a new ecosystem of FPV (first-person view) products called the DJI Digital First Person Viewing (FPV) Transmission System.
That “digital ecosystem” is made up of the aforementioned FPV goggles, as well as an FPV Air Unit Transmission Module, an FPV remote controller and an FPV camera.
What do you use FPV for?
While FPV is traditionally viewed as a fundamental component of drone racing or drone freestyle (similar to drone racing competitions, but the emphasis is on stunts and tricks rather than speed), it’s useful in enterprise purposes now.
While you’re staying at home, you’ll probably be flying more in a stunt or racing style. But develop your skills for other purposes too.
The DJI FPV units are widely used in:
- Search and rescue: one pilot flies a drone using FPV flight, while another rescuer uses a dedicated second camera to search for people
- Agriculture: a dedicated FPV feed with a second camera allows for operations like capturing NDVI data or mapping images, or collecting data
What drones are compatible with DJI FPV units?
While you can build your own setup (here’s a guide to building a drone for under $100), that might prove to be more work than you asked for.
A number of DJI drones are pre-configured and compatible FPV goggles, making it quick and easy to fly DJI drones via the FPV System.
Those drones include the:
Is the DJI FPV sale still a little out of your budget? Check out my guide to my favorite indoor drones to stay entertained and practice your flying and racing skills. Most of these are under $100.