Leisure Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

version françaiset

The market in 2018

DJI Mavic Air

DJI Spark

Parrot Bebop 2 Power

DJI ZenMuse X7

The Chinese DJI firm dominates the leisure UAV market.
The American specialist in 3D Robotics (or 3DR) professional drones has chosen to abandon the market for mass-market drones, just like GoPro after the failure of its Karma drone.
DJI therefore races in the lead and in addition to developments in its professional drones have presented other public drones, lighter than 800 grams (see new regulations below).

The DJI Spark is a mini drone with HD camera and gesture controls but with flight autonomy of 15 minutes. It has a 720p video return, a 12 megapixel Full HD camera and an improved transmission range at 2 Km.
It is available with a bright color: white, blue, green, red or yellow for less than $ 400.

Parrot reacted by updating its Parrot Bebop 2 Power direct competitor of the Spark with a 12MP 1920 x 1080p Full HD camera, a range of 2000 meters, control by Skycontroller, Tablet or Smartphone and flight autonomy of 20 minutes.
It is available with remote control and virtual headphones at a price of $ 799.

The DJI Mavic Air is a compact drone (168 × 83 × 49 mm) and lightweight 430 grams, between the Mavic Pro and the Spark, with folding arms and no compromise. It has a microSD port and 8GB internal storage, an advanced driver assistance system (APAS) that processes the data collected by the seven cameras and embedded infrared sensors, to build a 3D map of the environment allowing blow a more secure flight. It has a CMOS sensor 1/2.3 of 12 Mpx HDR and a lens of 24mm /f2.8 (35 format equivalent) and flight autonomy of 20 minutes.
Like the Spark, the Mavic Air can be controlled with gestures. It is proposed in red white or black for $ 800.
DJI could update its Mavic Pro with a new camera with 1" sensor.

DJI is also positioned as a camera manufacturer. Its last camera, the Zenmuse X7 allows to acquire in 24p and 25p a 6K image (6016 x 3200) in DNG RAW Cinema at 30 fps, as well as a 4K/UHD image in Apple ProRes XQ.
The Zenmuse X7 has a Super 35 sensor (24.89 mm × 18.66 mm) and a new proprietary lens mount DL DJI offers 4 new DL mount lenses, built in carbon fiber that is significantly lighter. All lenses are opened at f/2.8: the 16mm embed an integrated ND filter and 24mm, 35mm and 50mm lenses have an internal shutter (up to 1/1000s) in order to limit the effects of rolling shutter or banding.
The ZenMuse X7 is delivered with DJI Inspire 2.

The ZenMuse X7 is priced at $ 2700 for the camera alone, $ 1500 for the 16mm, 24mm and 35mm. The 50 mm will be offered for $ 1400 and the 4 optics together for $ 5 096.

Forecasts 2018

DJI Phantom 5 drawings

DJI will probably expand its range of drones with a new version of the Mavic Pro incorporating a new 1" sensor camera hearted from Phantom 4.
The DJI Phantom 5 should be announced in 2018 with a revised design, a retractable landing gear, an improved tropicalization and maybe for the n Phantom 5X version, a camera with interchangeable lenses like the Zenmuse X7 described above. These lenses may be equivalent to 40,5 mm, 65 mm, 94,5 mm and 135 mm in 135 format.

New French Legislation

The French National Assembly adopted a new law in September 2016. It is more restrictive but effective enforcement should not take place before mid-2018 or early 2019. It mainly concerns drones of more than 800 grams, which allows the drones produced by Parrot but also the Mavic and Spark of DJI to escape the legislation. Online training followed by multiple choices exam should be mandatory to use drones of more than 800 grams in 2019.
The main measures of law proposal are:

- Registration requirement
Until now, the legislator supervised the use of civilian drones since 2012:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000025834953 https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000025834986&dateTexte=&categorieLien=id

The applicable regulations on January 1, 2016 governing the use of civilian drones concerned the application for pilotage authorization for remotely controlled remote flying devices. The decree stipulated that all "aircraft" weighing more than 25 kilos must be registered. Below this weight, the device can be used freely if it is a recreational utility.

The senate vote of October 13, 2016 amends this law in force. This is a stricter version of the transport code on all aircraft. In Article L. 6111-1 part II and paragraph 2 it is stipulated that all remotely controllable devices greater than 800 grams, whether recreational or professional, must be registered. In addition, the use of his gear requires a pilotage license.

- Civilian UAV Piloting License
As mentioned before, it is possible to fly a recreational drone without having to obtain a pilot's license until 2018. Indeed, the pilot can move freely with his aircraft if it does not exceed the dimensions and recommended weights: less than 25 kilos. This applies with the flight conditions and the various bans in force. These include regulations governing camera drones. This remains the same principles, but has evolved on some details. Indeed, the taking of photo and video was legal to the extent that it does not interfere with the privacy of others. Otherwise, it is necessary according to the new law to apply for authorization.

- Accessories and equipment of drones
Before, the rules of registration and the obligation of formation of controls are only intended for remotely controllable flying machines of more than 25 kilos. Whether professional or leisure models, the flight conditions are only respect altitude and space limitation. For 2018, the law specifies the regulations on drones of more than 800 grams. Added to this is the obligation of the designers of the machines to put luminous devices on the device. Below the indicated weight, the device can be considered as being a mini drone and is in no way governed by these laws. It can be used freely without disturbing the personal space of others.

- Use of drones by professionals
The rules governing professional drones have been slightly modified. This is primarily the obligation of a request for a title for the piloting of this type of gear. The latter requires training and examination before being issued. The Council of State fixes the issuance, withdrawal and suspension of this patent. Subsequently, the professional must master the rules of use including respect for space, altitude and the dissemination of images and videos. As far as altitude is concerned, it remains the same as the old regulations: up to 150 m in height. Subsequently, the article mentions the prohibition of overflight in the middle of the night and the necessity to have a minimum distance of 30 m from the agglomeration.

The Senate's decision to strengthen the laws governing the use of civilian drones is to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants while ensuring their safety. These are amendments to the laws in effect since January 1, 2016. These will apply throughout this year and the changes will apply from the beginning of the year 2018. The non-compliance with its conditions is punishable under almonds can decline from 15,000 to 45,000 euros and can even end up imprisonment.

To learn more about the place of drones in the French sky, visit this page http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/quelle-place-drones-dans-ciel-francais, be sure to study the following map https://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/donnees/restrictions-pour-drones-de-loisir or go to this page https://www.amateursdedrones.fr/reglementation-legislation-drones/

pierre j.

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Texts of this page are on the responsibility of their author only.
Marc David writes the text on French law proposal.
DJI, 3DR, Go Pro, Parrot are register or trade marks
Bebop 2 Power, Hero, Karma, Mavic, Matrice, Phantom are products of these trade marks

Created September 29th 2016, Updated the March 23th 2018.
© Pierre J.