back to article Controversial Chinese drone maker DJI debuts a cargo carrier

Chinese drone-maker DJI, the subject of US sanctions, has released its first consumer cargo carrying drone – the FlyCart 30. The all-weather $17,000 drone has four axes, eight carbon fiber propellers, and when equipped with a pair of self-heating batteries can can carry as much as 30kg over a distance of 16km. With no cargo …

  1. abend0c4

    So, it dangles with a dongle?

    What could possibly go wrong? I'll

    Put a bet on that it plummets to the ground.

    Just like GM Cruise's taxis,

    A 'copter with 4 axes

    Is a brick when there's no signal to be found.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Joke

      DJI took 4 Axes

      Then dropped off forty packs.

      When they saw what they had done

      They dropped off another forty one

      The DJI Drone got away

      & returned to fly again another day.

  2. Korev Silver badge
    FAIL

    The drone incorporates two batteries for resilience, but removing one allows it to carry 40kg of weight and hit a top speed of 20 meters per second. That's quite quick, even compared to an unladen African swallow.

    Come on El Reg, a quick trip the Reg Standards Bureau will tell you that the official unit for speed is the velocity of a sheep in a vacuum. The handy converter will tell you that it's 0.0007%. Please update the article forthwith.

  3. sebacoustic
    Boffin

    It might have much more payload capacity than a swallow but it can't complete in other ways: travelling over 300km a day for weeks at a time to migrate over 6000km, literally never landing while feeding and sleeping airborne, and being powered by little insects. Drone tech has catching up to do in some respects.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      But can they carry a <cough>coconut<cough> over, say, a Russian tank

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Or a pineapple.

      2. Atomic Duetto

        Perhaps two of them, using a creeper as a line strung between them…

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          What? Clutched between the dorsal flight feathers?

  4. Bebu Silver badge
    Windows

    A market for an anti-drone drones?

    Given that it would be nice not to have 40kg of high explosive dropped on or even gently dangled above my head I wonder whether there is a market for leaner faster [than 20m/s 72km/h 45mph 2×Vswallow*] kamikaze drones which could search in coordinated clusters that locate and disarm offensive drones?

    *11m/s http://style.org/unladenswallow/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A market for an anti-drone drones?

      They already exist - after the Gatwick debacle a few years ago, I know the UK police have been testing a few (sourced from canadian miltary if I remember correctly).

      They're not kamikaze, I know that much - I think there were several options being explored for bringing the other one down including dropping nets on them etc.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: A market for an anti-drone drones?

        They're not kamikaze, I know that much - I think there were several options being explored for bringing the other one down including dropping nets on them etc.

        I guess with a drone this size/power, it could probably sling some form of butterfly net for evidence collection. Or if it's got advanced stabilisation, become the world's smallest gunship. I guess at $17k, it keeps them out of the hands of casual nutjobs, but something that can drop the equivalent of a couple of sacks of cement is probably something that should be licensed and regulated. But also-

        The all-weather $17,000 drone has four axes

        Careful with those axes, Eugene.

        1. seven of five

          Re: A market for an anti-drone drones?

          40kg is a Hellfire missle. Making them a viable option for a sacrivial mount.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A market for an anti-drone drones?

            ... until the wind picks up and that 16km distance is reduced to 8km and thus the drone panics and returns home with the hellfire.

            1. seven of five

              Re: A market for an anti-drone drones?

              A kilometer is more than enough. Move away from the launcher (to keep your position hidden), then pop up, maybe some more maneuvering, deploy missle. Afterwards maybe some scouting, would not even bother with recovery. Downside: you^ll probably need an operator on the launcher, so MBTs are not an option.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: A market for an anti-drone drones?

        >after the Gatwick debacle a few years ago, I know the UK police have been testing a few

        So they bought imaginary Canadian drones to counter the imaginary Gatwick drone?

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: A market for an anti-drone drones?

          And what about that surface-to-air missile which Tony Blair pinky swore was in the hands of terrorists in the UK the day he closed Heathrow ... and, quite coincidentally, had the Commons vote on invading Iraq? Has that ever turned up? Are the authorities still as worried about it?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A market for an anti-drone drones?

          The Gatwick drones were definitely not imaginary - but a little bird told me that as Gatwick is at the nexus of several police forces, at least part of the issue was that several forces had brought their own, ad-hoc anti-drone drones and had failed to coordinate with their colleagues. This same bird was the one telling me about the canadian drones, purchased centrally, so you can draw your own conclusions about what lessons were learned.

  5. martinusher Silver badge

    Controverisal?

    Nothing controversial about DJI unless we, "the people", choose to make it so. They're just a quadcopter manufacturer that figured out the market first. This made them big, successful and so a target.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Controverisal?

      Funny how what gets decided as “we the people” always nicely coincides with the beliefs of “me the person”.

      All the “we the people” junk when Canadian, US, NZ centres of government were invaded and occupied during COVID were just examples of “them the fuckwits”.

      The closest we get to any actual examples of “we the people” is from representative election results. Even then, at best you have a little over 1/2 the voting adult population broadly agreeing on general policy.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Controverisal?

      DJI are not only one of the first movers, they also make exceptionally good products.

    3. Andy 73 Silver badge

      Re: Controverisal?

      They engaged in some incredibly aggressive tactics in the early days of the drone industry, with evidence that they paid workers to post claims of crashes for rival companies' drones amongst other manipualtion of reviews. Their size in the market has allowed them to pre-empt rival launches with model announcements in every market segment.

      Since then, their drones have been accused of sending data back to China and of having known security holes that may benefit Chinese intelligence operations. Various of their apps have been shown to allow remote installation of arbitrary software on a user's phone without their consent.

      They have also been accused of knowingly supplying kit for military operations and involvement with the Uyghur genocides. Inevitably, as the supplier of 4/5ths of the world's drones, their machines have been implicated in war and terrorist attacks, noteably both sides of the Ukraine war.

      Yes, they are controversial.

      This is not "being a target". A large number of organisations have come to rely on a near monopolistic supply of drones from a company that has had an inconsistent history when it comes to honesty and security. It would be ridiculous to pretend that this makes them "just a quadcopter manufacturer", or to avoid continued scruitiny in the future.

  6. DS999 Silver badge

    Given its operational ceiling of 6000 meters

    I'm guessing they are touting it for mountainous areas where you might have to drive all day to deliver to a half dozen people because of all the windy roads. If you could put the package on a drone and fly it over the mountain to the next valley where your destination is you'd save a lot of money.

    You don't build a drone with a 6000 meter ceiling for deliveries in populated areas, this isn't intended for them so you won't need to worry about a box dropping on your head unless you live in the mountains or are skiing lol

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Given its operational ceiling of 6000 meters

      That would be disappointing, as I would enjoy seeing busy little drones going about their business.

      Like the Starship delivery robots, that have deliberately been given a cute personality so people like to see them.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Given its operational ceiling of 6000 meters

      I doubt whether the operational ceiling is something they've designed for. It's more likely to be a side-effect of building a quadcopter that can cope with 12 m/s headwinds and 40 kg payloads.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Given its operational ceiling of 6000 meters

        But why call it out if the intended market has no need for it? Generally you don't spec (i.e. commit to support) things beyond the range required for the target market.

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