Autel Robotics has announced the EVO Nano and EVO Lite drones that are designed for beginner enthusiasts and compete directly against the DJI Mini 2 and Air 2S. In particular, the Nano is the first sub-250 gram drone to offer obstacle avoidance.
Autel Robotics might not be as household of a name as DJI, but the Seattle-based and China-owned company won a lawsuit against DJI in May of 2020 involving the design of its most recent run of quadcopters. Victory in that lawsuit may explain why Autel’s drones look remarkably similar to the ones DJI has been marketing and selling for years.
The Nano is armed with a 1/1.28-inch CMOS sensor that is capable of capturing 50-megapixel or a 1/2-inch sensor 48-megapixel photos (depending on model between the Nano and Nano+) and uses a large f/1.9 aperture to offer what Autel touts as superior noise reduction capability and the ability to operate in low light conditions. It is also capable of tracking subjects using a combination of phase and contrast detection autofocus, and the company also claims wide dynamic range that will show details in both highlights and shadows.
The Nano weighs 249-grams and features three-way obstacle avoidance — a first for a sub-250 gram drone.
Additionally, it has a flight range with live video transmission of up to 6.2 miles, has a 30-minute flight time, and can shoot 4K video. It will be available in four colors: Autel Orange, Arctic White, Deep Space Gray, and Blazing Red
The EVO Lite offers the choice between a 1/1.28-inch sensor capable of 50-megapixel photos a one-inch CMOS sensor capable of 20-megapixel photos — either the Lite or Lite +. It is armed with Autel’s “intelligent moonlight algorithm” that it says allows the drone to capture crisp and vibrant details at night with low noise, even at high ISO settings. It also comes with an adjustable aperture with a range of f/2.8 through f/11 and is capable of capturing 4K HDR content and 6K video at up to 30 frames per second.
The Lite also has what Autel claims is the world’s first four-axis gimbal design that promises the ability to orient the camera sideways to capture vertical videos that would be specifically shared on mobile devices. The EVO Lite weighs 820 grams, but shares the same 6.2-mile transmission, 30-minute flight time, and three-way obstacle avoidance found in the Nano. It will be available in three colors: Autel Orange, Arctic White, and Deep Space Gray.
Both drones will, as expected, ship with various automatic modes for different cinematic motions that can be captured via an aerial perspecitive.
The EVO Nano will start at $649 while the Nano+ will cost $799. The EVO Lite series will start $1,149 while the Lite+ will cost $1,249. The availability of the drones was not clear, but expect them to come to market soon.