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Yuneec CES 2017 Recap

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Sorry for the delay in posting my recap. I recorded just over half an hour of interview with Brian Grant from Yuneec at CES. It took longer than expected to go through it and write up the highlights. I focused mainly on the Typhoon H and H520. Not much on the new cameras as they were covered elsewhere.

Yuneec at CES 2017

Brian Grant, Yuneec USA Inc.

General
  • Warranty just increased to 1 year, retroactive to current owners.
  • Customer service moving to 24/7 soon.
  • Unlike DJI, Yuneec is not force feeding the "buy a new one each year" model. They intend to support current aircraft and keep developing for it. This also allows the 3rd party marketplace to flourish.
H520
  • Commercial aircraft. Won't be ready for the market for about 4 months (as of Jan 2017).
  • Bigger aircraft – 520mm instead of 480mm. Bigger motors, longer wings, bigger props. Flies longer. Only about an inch wider in diameter.
  • Payloads are interchangeable with Typhoon H; all three cameras are usable on Typhoon H and H520. Uses the ST16 controller with the same flight characteristics.
  • Comes with RealSense – that's not an option. Flies longer and quieter.
  • New higher capacity battery. Will NOT be compatible with the Typhoon H.
  • Probably have some more tweaks in the ST16 that makes it more appropriate for commercial inspection, log recordings, etc.
  • H520 comes with an SDK. SDK will probably not work with the Typhoon H right away. There needs to be more separation between the prosumer and commercial platforms. In the future, there might be a scaled down version of the SDK for the Typhoon H, or an app that can be loaded onto the ST16.
  • Don't yet know about coming with a backpack or not. The person buying it is probably going to want to put it in an hard case. Opportunity for partners to build packages of aircraft, accessories and support.
  • Won't be available in conventional sales channels, i.e. Best Buy, Amazon, etc. Only certain approved dealers will sell it.
  • Price probably in the $2500 – 3000 range. Will include full 1 year replacement contract. Still developing service programs that go above and beyond normal warranty. You will probably have to get some sort of service agreement, since this is aimed at professionals. Looking at the automotive world for ideas on how the manufacturer supports the dealers.
  • May plan to have a certain level in stock in different places around the country so you can always get a replacement device within two days.
Typhoon H
  • Re: firmware and flight issues: "I challenge anybody to claim they fly more than me. I have 10 of these (Typhoon H) in my garage. I have to do white glove demos, I have to take them from California, update the firmware, give them to somebody, sit there for 2 – 3 hours and train them on it, so when they go to do their magazine review, they know how to operate it. People claim 'Oh, I've flown a Phantom for two weeks, I know how to operate these things.' It's not. It's like getting in a Cadillac or Ferrari. Yeah, they're cars and the principle is the same but it's a different experience."
  • Brian flies Yuneecs more than just about anyone. He knows how they work. Reading the directions and understanding how the device operates is important.
  • "I've never bricked mine. I've never had a bad firmware update. Have you re-paired your ST16? Have you recalibrated the compass, gimbal and accelerometer?"
  • When you compass calibrate, take off the camera. The camera is not meant to jerk around like it does when you calibrate with it on. It's just more metal and more potential to mess with the compass calibration itself.
  • If you're not comfortable with it, don't be afraid to ask. Be nervous, because that means you care and you're concerned about it. It's not just about crashing an expensive piece of equipment, it's about hurting somebody.
  • Recommendations: take off the camera during compass calibration. Learn how to fly it. Concentrate on aerodynamics, takeoff, landing. What do the modes do? What is Smart Mode? What is Angle Mode? What is Home Mode? These things are not getting any less complicated. There is a real learning curve to these aircraft.
  • Try flying with no camera. Learn how to really fly unassisted. When things go wrong, you then know how to fly manually by line of sight.
  • It's not getting any easier. Just because you have 10 hours flying one of those (gestured to DJI, which was right next to Yuneec's booth), doesn't mean you're going to be able to immediately fly one of these. It's a lot like flying an airplane. You get in a Cessna, it's different than getting into a Piper.
H920
  • Probably going to release a version 2 at the NAB show. Version 2 is very close to being done.
  • Will also be able to use the current CGO cameras and will fly for 40 minutes in high winds.
Valet
  • Future system. Yuneec came from manned electric aviation (they had one of their large fixed wing manned electric aircraft hanging over their booth). These (Typhoon, H520, H920) are our present. The Valet is the future.
  • The Valet sits on a wireless charging landing pad.
  • It's combining all of the latest technology in collision avoidance. By next year, LTE will be everywhere and 5G will start being rolled out, communicating with everything – the chips in your shirt, your FitBit, your home security system.
  • "At your house, a motion-detecting sensor goes off. The Valet takes off, there's a light on front, it goes and looks at where that thing happened." It will have dual optics, probably IR.
  • It will talk to all of your smart devices.
  • When your kid is walking to school, it will follow them, take a picture of them walking into school, with a time stamp, to show that he made it.
  • The Valet, right now, is more to spark a conversation than becoming a real device. It's your Amazon Echo, your FitBit, your smartphone, your GPS, your home security all in one. It can fly in front of you and monitor your surroundings and maybe see a heat source and find that someone is hiding in a bush waiting to mug you.
  • It can monitor your heart rate with a chip in your clothes, and if something goes awry, like your heart stops or you take off your shirt, it would alert you and ask if something's wrong. Then if you don't respond, maybe it will alert the authorities and then stay there to help them find you, like a pet wouldn't leave your side.
  • The conversation is just starting. Where can we go with this? No product to announce. What will be possible in the future? That's the story we're always telling: the past, the present and the future.
Simulator
  • Now has the Q500 and Typhoon H. Will add the H520.
Cameras
  • 1" CGO sensor is in the works. Also, a small zoom version is in the works, possibly called CGO-3Z. Possibly a 10X optical zoom.
  • Dedicated FPV view has been requested. Brian, as a salesperson, operator and demonstrator, has requested that feature. ST16 has plenty of extra channels, so it's possible to build a 3rd party FPV through the SDK. There's a powered USB port that can be used to power external devices.
 
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It would be nice that they fix all the quirks in the models they have produced so far before stepping into new stuff. There are still alot of people buying the Typhoon Q500 4k. There are some firmware issues that are serious with it. Like the 5 Motor Alarm. The darn thing only has 4 motors. The Typhoon Q500 4k still keeps dropping from the sky. Lets get them fixed people.
 
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Ok I'm having a difficult time with some of the info in the post by "ReusableSausage" up top. Given that yes he transcribed all of this from "Brian Grant" of Yuneec so it is pretty difficult to say that he has any miss information at all, but still I have a few doubts. First of all yes trust Yuneec to change the battery in some way once again, I think that by Yuneec choosing to have different battery connections/sizes for each of their UAV platforms that they release, I know obviously that different sized batteries need to be made to fit the smallest models vs the largest UAV models for obvious reasons, But why is it that with each model of UAV Yuneec releases they just HAVE to change the battery connection &/or size? For example, why couldn't Yuneec use the same battery size & connection the current H480 uses with their newly announced H520? Or why didn't they try making a battery for the H480 that still could backward compatibility to the Q500 UAV's? Because I believe that if from one model to another if there was any kind of compatibility so that if for example, I owned multiple UAV platforms made by Yuneec I'd prefer if I only needed to buy & stock one single type of battery to use between any of my UAV's, I think that people that already own an H or a Q500 would be much more likely to buy into another UAV platform if it meant that they didn't have to go out & buy every single thing again that only works with the single UAV.

Second point I wanted to touch down on was, about where it was said that they are not quite sure yet on whether the H520 will be released with or without a backpack! If I'm spending close to $3,000 for a prosumer UAV it better come with something to carry it in, which actually it DOES. Both on the H520 product information flyer that had photos on it & the cardboard packaging mock-up that they had at the CES show, showed REALLY Clearly that in fact the new H520 will come standard packaged in a Yellow "Pelican" like case, so No the 3rd party case manufacturing side wont be needed as much as when it was for the H480. About new cameras that will be compatible between both the H480 & the H520 are currently obviously the CGO3+ that will come standard on the new H520 then there is the CGOET that we all have already seen but it now has new updates to it so that when using the Thermal camera you can now adjust it to view different temperature levels, then there is a new cam that Yuneec had AT the CES show called the CGOCI which is basically the normal CGO3+ but has some kind of Powered zoom that will be fully controllable by the ST16 & it also has a new feature that most newer DSLR cameras now have these days called HDR or (High Dynamic Range) which makes your recording or photos turn out 10x better before you ever touch them with any kind of editing apps & sometimes HDR is made possible by a camera taking 3 photos of the exact same thing in succession but each of the 3 are taken in different exposures & then they are all put together to make a single photo & your result will be that instead of having to choose whether you have bright white washed skies with nicely contrasted landscapes in your foreground but less color & definition of the landscape in your background, you won't need to decide what you want to capture better because HDR enables you to capture nicely detailed blue skies (the Upper 1/3rd of the pic) along with the best possible mid section & lower section, which you aren't able to capture when recording or taking a pic. I know all this along with a bit more info just from the video that "TheFPVGUY com" shot while their at the CES show & it wasn't just from him saying things in the video but instead he also should the proof with all the pics of the flyers & box mock-ups their at the show.

As for that last part about being able to autonomously being able to take off to either inspect things or for security reasons. That invention already is an active UAV invention just go look around Youtube at various videos that are then backed by proof with being able to look it all up. But I'm thinking of a certain one that after it launches & goes around & inspects the various things around any certain factory or wherever it may be implemented, & mind you may I say that the UAV has sensors built into it are able to detect leakages & even any pressure that it may be spewing out. Then once the inspection is done it autonomously flies back & lands into the automatically opening top of its own POD then the top lid closes & the battery is automatically replaced by the robotics inside of the pod so it is ready to go whenever its needed, & this UAV pod system can be setup for any industry that may need it.

Thanks Tom C

when i remember the name of that pod system I'll update it here
 
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I, for one, think that the above is great news. Batteries are a consumable and you're always buying them, so the compatibility issue doesn't bother me... I mean, you're already into it for thousands at this point, and batteries only have so many cycles on them, so if you shared them, they'd just expire faster.
HDR... it comes on EVERY camera nowadays and has limited professional usefulness.
 
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It would be nice that they fix all the quirks in the models they have produced so far before stepping into new stuff. There are still alot of people buying the Typhoon Q500 4k. There are some firmware issues that are serious with it. Like the 5 Motor Alarm. The darn thing only has 4 motors. The Typhoon Q500 4k still keeps dropping from the sky. Lets get them fixed people.
It would be nice if Yuneec would (if it's possible) put some options that the Typhoon H has into the Q500/+/4k such as the ability to change the default return to home altitude.

I have some pretty tall (40ft+) trees where I fly and it would be nice to have a return to home set to 55 feet in the event I lose signal and am forced to watch my Typhoon G attempt to fly back to me with a tree between us.
 

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