The drone market is clearly expanding and DJI is at the forefront – Read their thoughts in our interview
Michael Perry is the Director of Communication at drone market leader DJI, working with the media to better understand his company and how UAV technology is positively impacting our lives. He took time out of his busy schedule to sit down and respond to our questions about crowd funding, regulations, and more.
Q. DJI is clearly the drone market leader in the unmanned vehicle space. There are, however, many new companies popping up as well as interesting new ideas coming from crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter. How is DJI working to stay ahead of the competition?
We are excited to see the drone market expanding so rapidly. New entrants demonstrate how remarkably attractive the industry that products like the Phantom have created.
DJI has maintained our lead in the market due to our world leading flight controller technology based on millions of flight hours, which is hard for newcomers to replicate.
Currently no company combines DJI’s ability to provide high performance, accessible and affordable creative robotic technology.
DJI is laser focused on developing the most innovative products with the best user experience. Moving forward, we will continue to conduct extensive R&D in aerial photography and aerial filmmaking technologies as well as other areas that we see opportunities and potential.
Q. Drone regulations vary from country to country, and in some cases from city to city. How are these regulations impacting your business and the drone market overall?
We feel like the full potential of this industry will not be reached until there is a clear regulatory framework in place.
The good news is that the FAA and other regulators are taking steps to create pathways for legal commercial use in industries such as filmmaking and real estate. On the whole we are optimistic that the commercial and personal benefits of this technology will be realized by governments worldwide.
Nevertheless, we will continue to work with regulators, partners, and others in the industry to ensure our products are used safely and responsibly.
Q. There are those that hear drone and think first of privacy and security concerns. Is DJI focused on developing any new technologies to help ease these concerns which are critical to address if the drone market is to grow?
On the privacy side, there is an ongoing conversation about how our technology is integrated into social norms. Currently the same etiquette and laws that protect people’s privacy from telephoto lenses, wearable cameras, or any other disruptive imaging technology also apply to our platforms.
More broadly however, we are working to shift awareness of what drone technology is for and how should it be used. We built in no fly zones and other security features to help ensure legal use of our platforms, but ultimately the best way to ease concerns is to clearly demonstrate the positive impact drones are already having on our daily lives – from helping search and rescue workers, supporting firemen and minimizing the risk involved in various inspection industries so that people understand the benefits like they do with all other technology ranging from cars to airplanes.
Q. Your drones are made in China, what are drone regulations like in China? How do people feel about the technology?
Like many countries around the world, the Chinese government is figuring out how to incorporate UAS into airspace while protecting innovation.
It is encouraging to see that they are establishing a formal process by which pilots can be licensed for commercial applications in cities such as Shanghai. This is in line with the regulatory developments that we are starting to see in many other countries.
Q. We ran a story about gender inequality in the drone market, with interesting insights from one of the leading female voices in the industry. The story, not surprisingly, as received both positive and negative reactions. What are your thoughts on gender equality in the industry?
It often shocks people that women often make better first time drone pilots (and helicopter pilots too!). The perception that drones are “toys for boys” is pretty grating and simply not supported by facts. We were proud to sponsor Female Pilot month in February with the Amelia Droneharts – a cohort that is pushing for greater awareness of gender equality in the drone space.
Q. The drone market is filled with stories. You must hear about some amazing uses for your technology, what uses have most surprised you?
In terms of quirky and unexpected uses, the sheep herding is certainly up there!
Others that leap to mind include pilots that exercise their dogs by giving them a Phantom to chase, or the dad that pulled out his son’s baby tooth using a Phantom.
But we’ve also spoken to several people that are doing really creative amazing things with their Phantoms. There’s a DJI pilot on the Isle of Jersey using his Phantom to create 3D models of the island’s landmarks and then uses a 3D printer to replicate the buildings in miniature.
What questions would you have asked DJI about the drone market?