New Phantom drone takes off

Updated: 2015-04-09 11:30

By Dong Leshuo in New York(China Daily USA)

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New Phantom drone takes off

DJI, a Chinese consumer drones company headquartered in Shenzhen, launches its newest product, the Phantom 3, in New York on Wednesday. [Dong Leshuo / China Daily]

"It is the most freeing filmmaking tool ever," Philip Bloom, a British filmmaker known for creating filmlike images with low-budget video.

The "tool" is the Chinese-made DJI Phantom 2, a remote-controlled flying drone equipped with a video camera.

The latest model - the DJI Phantom 3 - was unveiled in New York on Wednesday, and simultaneously in London and Munich.

The Phantom 3 - touted as having features that make it simple enough for beginners but powerful enough for the pros - has integrated YouTube streaming live video footage that can be uploaded to the Internet.

DJI has also added a downward-facing camera on Phantom 3 to give the craft a visual positioning system to aid in navigation.

"It's the second time we've released products in the US. This time it is a global release," said Charles Cao, DJI's director of business development.

DJI, a Shenzhen-based consumer drone company founded in 2006 by Frank Wang, has become the world's leading maker and seller of personal and commercial drones.

"The US is our largest and most important market, because of consumer purchase capacity and the high level of acceptance of new products," Cao added.

DJI drones have "been very well received in the US," according to Eric Cheng, general manager of DJI SF and director of aerial imaging.

"Most of the people I know use it in some aspect," Bloom said.

Stacy Garlington, who identified herself as "a housewife", did not start on the Phantom trail until last winter, but it didn't take long before she developed an "addiction". She's already on her third drone.

"Every single photo I took was from a perspective never seen by a human being,"he said.

Peter Sachs, a volunteer firefighter, said that when there is a major fire and no way to send a human being in, a drone becomes "a critical part of a fire fighting emergency".

Aerial drone photography specialist Randy Jay Braun described how he used Phantoms to help protect endangered elephants in Tanzania's game parks.

"In terms of sales," Cheng said, "we have not identified any competitors."

Cheng said the strength of their products was in integration." Our product feels like a camera you can direct in space," he said. "We haven't seen anything come out from other companies that's as useful. Our products are very usable right out of the box."

Cheng thinks it's DJI's research and development that is paying off.

"We do a lot of our own research on the components in our system," he said. "It's because of the history of our company, which came from a hobby. We have full control of all the components of our products and how they work together. We're a very R&D focused company."

"The product is the first priority," Cao said. "It has to be the product that wins the consumer. Our products put an emphasis on innovation. We want to create products that can really change the way people live."