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Hobbyist drones vary in quality and performance including hovering ability and maximum flight time 2019-09-09

Hobbyist drones vary in quality and performance including hovering ability and maximum flight time

- Drones should be used separately for indoor or outdoor purposes depending on their flight performance and main functions -

 

 

    Although drones have become the center of public attention as one of the items representing the 4th Industrial Revolution, and in particular, interest from consumers in hobbyist drones* (hereinafter referred to as ‘drones’) is growing** with video content creation gaining huge popularity and their simple operation, the consumers do not have sufficient objective information on the quality of the drones.

    

    *A hobbyist drone refers to an unmanned flight vehicle weighing less than 12kg for non-commercial operations, which is usually used for racing, and photography and videography

    **Drone sales in the first half increased by 58% compared to the previous year with the growth of Korea’s kidult market (The Korea Economic Daily, August 18, 2018)

 

    Accordingly, the Korea Consumer Agency (President Lee Hee-sook) conducted tests and inspections on the hovering ability, battery durability, image quality, maximum flight time and battery charging time, etc. of 13 different quadcopter drones* from the 10 most popular brands among consumers, in order to provide the consumers with objective quality information.

*A quadcopter refers to a multirotor that is lifted and propelled by four rotors, and it is relatively stable and easy to fly.

 

    According to the results of the tests and inspections, the drone products varied in their hovering ability, battery durability, and image quality, and the drone with the longest flight time flied 5.2 times longer than the drone with the shortest flight time. The results also showed that there was a maximum of 10.3-fold difference between the longest battery charging time and the shortest. All tested products met relevant battery safety standards, and one product needed to make improvements in their labelling.

 

Five products were found to have a relatively good hovering ability.

    

    The greater the hovering ability* is, the lower the risk of safety accidents becomes (collision, falling, etc.) and the more convenient it becomes to take photos and record videos. Five products** out of the 13 test subjects gained relatively ‘good’ scores in the ability to maintain constant altitude and lateral balance when hovering in the sky.

    *A drone’s hovering ability refers to an ability to hover at any point during flight on its own while maintaining its constant altitude and lateral balance when it is not remotely controlled.

    ** Three outdoor drones (DJI (Mavic Air), Zerotech (Dobby), Parrot (Anafi)), and two indoor drones (Sima (Z3), Parrot (Mambo FPV))

 

As for the maximum flight time, the drone with the longest flight time flied 5.2 times longer than the drone with the shortest flight time.

 

    The result of a test on the maximum flight time* of the drones with fully charged battery revealed that Parrot (Anafi) flied for 25.8 minutes or the longest time, and JJRC (H64), for 5 minutes or the shortest time. The longest flight time was 5.2 times the shortest.

    

    * In a survey of 500 people who had used drones, 24.4%(122 people) of the respondents said the most important quality and performance of a drone is its ‘maximum flight time.’ (Korea Consumer Agency, January 2019)

 

As for the battery charging time, there was a maximum of 10.3-fold difference between the longest and the shortest battery charging time.

 

    The result of a test on the battery charging time* of the drones found that Parrot (MamboFPV) was charged in 27 minutes or the shortest time, and Sima (X8PRO), in 277 minutes or the longest time. The longest charging time was 10.3 times the shortest.

    

    * Since a drone has a short flight time of between 5 and 30 minutes, and so its battery has to be frequently charged, the shorter its battery charging time is, the better its usability becomes.

 

Seven products were found to have a relatively good battery durability.

 

    According to the result of a test to evaluate the drone battery’s capacity to keep energy by comparing initial charge with the state of charge after repeated uses (battery life test*) and long-time storage (battery energy storage test**), seven drone products*** turned out to be high in energy keeping capacity, and gained relatively ‘higher’ scores.

 

    * The drone battery’s capacity to keep energy was measured by comparing initial charge with the state of charge after repeated cycles of charging and discharging.

    **The capacity to keep energy was measured by comparing initial full charge and recharge after the fully charged battery has been stored at room temperature for 28 days.

    *** Three outdoor drones (DJI (Mavic Air), Sima (X8PRO), Zerotech (Dobby)), and four indoor drones (HK (H7-XN8), Sima (Z3), ViRobot (XTS-145, PetroneV2)

 

Three products were found to have a relatively good video image quality.

 

    The result of a test on the quality of the videos* recorded during flight by nine drones equipped with cameras found that the video image quality of three drones** was relatively ‘higher.’

 

    * The organoleptic test has been conducted by 30 people on the ‘image quality and shaking’ of the recorded videos.

    **DJI (Mavic Air), Xiro (XplorerV), Parrot (Anafi)

 

The tested drones varied in the maximum noise level.

 

    The maximum noise level generated by the indoor drones during flight was between 67 dB and 83 dB, and the noise level by the outdoor drones was between 80 dB and 93 dB.

 

    ※ The average noise level for air purifiers is between 56 dB and 65 dB, and the noise level for electric mixers is between 76 dB and 91 dB.

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