Best Alternative To DJI Drones | Best DJI Alternatives 2020 

The search for a reliable alternative to DJI drones has been picking up. As relations between China and the United States have deteriorated, the mistrust of Chinese electronics has continued to grow within the U.S government and private sector. The result of this has been the government and many private enterprises in the United States reconsidering their reliance on the iconic Chinese drone manufacturer DJI.

DJI has developed such a foothold, with a market share over 70% in the consumer and low-end commercial drone market that its drones have ended up in the U.S Army, and other government institutions due to the lack of affordable alternatives. 

What Are The Main Concerns?

In China, there tends to be a strong relationship between private enterprise and the communist party government, no matter how much the two try to distance themselves from each other. It is hard for companies, and people in other parts of the world who have not worked with China to understand just how intertwined business and politics is in China, much more so than in most other countries. In 2017 China passed the National Intelligence Law which states, “any organization or citizen shall support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work in accordance with the law,” and the state “protects” any individual and organization that aids it. Another law, the 2014 counter espionage law states, “when the state security organ investigates and understands the situation of espionage and collects relevant evidence, the relevant organizations and individuals shall provide it truthfully and may not refuse.”

A leaked report from ICE (immigration and customs enforcement agency) in the USA claims that DJI drones are being used to gather critical US infrastructure, law enforcement, and more. ICE claims in the memo that the information it has come from a reliable source within the drone industry who has first and secondhand access. The main concerns it outlined are the following,

  • DJI is providing law enforcement and critical infrastructure data to China
  • DJI Go and Skypixel Apps grab facial recognition data even if the feature is disabled
  • Uses full names, images, and videos, phone numbers, and computer credentials, are automatically uploaded to “cloud storage systems” in Hong Kong and Taiwan “which the Chinese government most likely has access to.”
  • The Chinese government is using DJI UAS as an inexpensive, hard-to-trace method to collect info on U.S. critical assets … directorates most likely receiving the data from DJI’s cloud are the offices responsible for defense, critical infrastructure, traffic control, and cyber offense
  • Security researcher Kevin Finisterre was threatened by DJI when he pointed out some of these bugs in the system
  • Much of the information collected [by DJI products] includes proprietary and sensitive critical infrastructure data, such as detailed imagery of power control panels, security measures for critical infrastructure sites, or materials used in bridge construction.
  • DJI is providing the Chinese government with data to help it determine which assets to acquire in the U.S.

Is This Concern Limited To U.S Companies?

No, this should be a concern for any government agency in any country or any private organization that will be using drones around critical infrastructure.

Should You Keep Using DJI Drones In Your Operation? 

Part of our business is reselling DJI products to a variety of customers. Despite this, the serious security threats outlined in the ICE memos make it clear that DJI drones should not be used in or around critical infrastructure, military, or otherwise sensitive sites, and alternative drones to DJI should be used for these projects instead.

Is This Limited To DJI Drones?

DJI is the one taking the heat for this issue since their drones are so widely used, however, the problem is likely to persist among all the major Chinese drone manufacturers – DJI, Yuneec, and Autel.

What Are The Best Alternatives To DJI Drones?

3DR Solo Drone

The 3DR Solo Drone is one of the most common Pixhawk platforms, despite the fact that it has been out of production for some time. The decision by 3D Robotics to produce far more of these units than the market initially had the demand for means that many of these are still floating around on the market. At merely double the cost of the Pixhawk flight controller it offers great value for those that need a simple Pixhawk platform.

Manufacturer: 3D Robotics
Country of Manufacture: China
Main Use: Photography, Surveying, General Pixhawk Development
Flight Time: 20-25 Minutes
Flight Range: 0.5 Miles (0.8Km)
Payload Ability: 1lbs (0.5kg)

Price: $499.99 USD

To see more information regarding the 3DR Solo Pixhawk drone, click here.

Tarot 650 V2.1 Ready To Fly Drone

The Tarot 650 V2.1 is an affordable, high-quality, multi-rotor Pixhawk drone and a popular replacement for the 3DR Pixhawk drones. The Tarot 650 V2.1 is a popular Pixhawk drone for carrying small payloads for applications from shooting video to mapping and research. Thanks to its four powerful brushless motors and wide payload bay, the Tarot 650 is a perfect option for an affordable Pixhawk drone to carry small payloads.

Manufacturer: UAV Systems International
Country of Manufacture: USA/Mexico
Main Use: Carrying Payloads, Surveillance, General Pixhawk Development
Flight Time: 25 minutes
Flight Range: 2 miles (3.2km) - Can be extended
Payload Ability: 3.3lbs (1.5kg)

Price: $1,699.95 USD

To see more information regarding the Tarot 650 Pixhawk drone, click here.

Tarot X6 V2.1 Ready To Fly Drone 

The Tarot X6 Drone is our most popular multi-rotor drone. It is a high-quality Pixhawk drone for carrying medium payloads, performing surveillance, or for general Pixhawk development. Thanks to its highly efficient design, it can fly for a longer than average time compared to similar drones. The Tarot X6 drone features also features the most spacious payload bay, perfect for integrating different sensors or equipment. It's 6 rotor design provides redundancy, so in the event a motor fails the drone will keep flying without issue.

Manufacturer: UAV Systems International
Country of Manufacture: USA/Mexico
Main Use: Carrying Large/Heavy Payloads, Surveillance, General Pixhawk Development, Applications requiring a multi-rotor with an extended flight time
Flight Time: 35 minutes
Flight Range: 2 miles (3.2km) - Can be extended
Payload Ability: 11lbs (5kg)

Price: $2,599.95 USD

To see more information regarding the Tarot X6 Pixhawk drone, click here
.

Tarot T-18 V2.0 Ready To Fly Drone

The Tarot T-18 Drone is our largest and most capable multi-rotor platform. It is a high-quality Pixhawk drone for carrying large, heavy payloads, or for general Pixhawk development. The 8 rotor design, featuring 8 highly efficient brushless motors, in addition to providing redundancy allows it to carry payloads up to 17lbs (8kg) with ease.

Manufacturer: UAV Systems International
Country of Manufacture: USA/Mexico
Main Use: Carrying Large/Heavy Payloads, General Pixhawk Development
Flight Time: 25 minutes
Flight Range: 2 miles (3.2km) - Can be extended
Payload Ability: 17lbs (8kg)

Price: $3,599.95 USD

To see more information regarding the Tarot T-18 Pixhawk drone, click here.

Nano Talon Fixed Wing UAV

The Nano Talon ready to fly drone is our most popular fixed-wing drone, and an excellent platform for training drone pilots to fly a fixed-wing drone. It is a small frame, allowing for ease of use, and transport. It is popular for NVDI, general mapping, Pixhawk development along with property surveillance.

Manufacturer: UAV Systems International
Country of Manufacture: USA/Mexico
Main Use: Low-mid range flights, general pixhawk development, surveillance, mapping
Flight Time: 45 minutes
Flight Range: 2 miles (3.2km) - Can be extended
Payload Ability: 0.44lbs (0.2kg)

Price: $1,499.95 USD

To see more information regarding the Nano Talon Pixhawk drone, click here.

Intel Falcon 8+ Drone

The Intel Falcon 8+ is the flagship Intel drone, and also the most expensive. The drone is designed and manufactured by Intel and designed to be used as a development platform, and for mapping.

Manufacturer: Intel
Country of Manufacture: USA
Main Use: Development & Mapping
Flight Time: 16 minutes
Flight Range: 0.6 miles (1km)
Payload Ability: 1.7lbs (0.8kg)

Price: $20,000+ USD

To see more information regarding the Intel Falcon 8+ Drone, click here.