Autel EVO II Review: Nine Ten Drones Gives Us the Deep Dive

Autel EVO II ReviewIs Autel‘s new drone worth the money?  In this detailed Autel EVO II review, a professional commercial drone pilot and training expert explains the drone from the ground up: from sensors to functionality.

The following is authored by Paul Rossi: Chief Operations Officer and Chief Pilot at Nine Ten Drones, a North Carolina-based drone services, training, and reseller company.

During the month of May we saw the Autel EVO II Standard, Pro and Dual drones released to the masses. With many new drones hitting the market in 2020, the new orange flying robot is a win for both the recreational and commercial flyers. For over a month I’ve been flying the EVO II Standard with Nine Ten Drones and I very much like what Autel Robotics is providing customers for $1,495. I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in a demonstration of the EVO II Dual which carries both a FLIR Boson 640×512 IR and EO visual sensor for enhanced situational awareness. The thermal sensor on the EVO II Dual rivals the capabilities of its competitors at only a fraction of the cost.

Autel EVO II reviewThe Drone

All three models of the EVO II (Standard, Pro and Dual) leverage the same aircraft body with only the camera payloads varying from model to model. The bright orange EVO II is lightweight and compact. The body is roughly the size of your average adult shoe when folded for transport. The arms and props do stick out a bit from the aircraft body however the drone itself covers a very small footprint. Weighing 2.5 pounds with a single battery installed this drone checks all the boxes for portability. The EVO II comes equipped with omnidirectional obstacle detection which includes 12 visual sensors as well as 2 ultrasonic sensors on the bottom of the drone. Because of the drones small size you can easily launch and recover it without needing very much space. The aircraft includes 8GB of internal storage space for those flights when you fill your SD card but still need to capture more content before landing.

The Battery

What makes this platform great for recreational users will also make this a beneficial drone for commercial operators as well. Folks flying for fun are not having fun flying if their drone is not in the air. Autel is helping users stay in the air by providing a drone that flies longer, advertising up to 40 minutes of flight with a single EVO II battery. After multiple test flights at the Nine Ten Drones training facility in Fayetteville, NC we have averaged a max flight time of just over 35 minutes. In each of our test flights we flew the EVO II Standard battery down to 5% or less which we do not recommend anyone do on a regular basis.

Autel EVO II Review33 to 35 minutes of flight, when compared to other drones currently available, is a long time to fly on a single battery for fun or commercially. With this extended flight time you can capture more family moments, inspect additional utilities or search longer for a missing person. An important note to mention is the longer charging time of the EVO II batteries when compared to competitors. After flying the EVO II battery down to 5% it took over 110 minutes to fully recharge the battery to 100%.

Additional batteries will cost $219 with the Rugged Bundle providing operators two batteries and the ability to fly over an hour without the needing a recharge.

The Remote

The EVO II remote is exactly the same as the EVO I remote without any changes. It comes with a built in screen that will display a live feed from the drone’s camera. The built in screen is great for those times when you are trying to get your drone up fast or your phone has a dead battery or is not available. There is nothing more frustrating than not having a phone or tablet and missing an opportunity to put your drone up in the air. With the EVO II you will never be without a screen so long as you have a charged remote. Overall compared to other drones available the remote is lacking a commercial/enterprise feel which is a negative for the EVO II Dual enterprise package. For the recreational and entry level commercial users this remote will work very well. I hope Autel will release a new remote by the end of 2020 that will have HDMI out, a built in screen that is 5” or larger and a more “rugged” feel.

Autel is marketing a 5.5 mile mass transmission signal distance which is well beyond what competitors are currently offering. During testing, Nine Ten Drones found a max transmission distance of 0.7 miles while operating in a suburban neighborhood near a main road lined with commercial businesses. With that being said we had no issues with connectivity while conducting an array of commercial and recreational operations within visual line of sight. The operational range of the remote will vary depending upon the location you are operating in.

EVO Camera Options

EVO II Standard (8K)

  • Sony IMX586 ½” CMOS Image Sensor
  • 48MP Image Capture
  • Shoot up to 8K Video
  • Aperture: f/1.8

EVO II Pro (6K)

  • Sony IMX383 1” CMOS Image Sensor
  • 20MP Image Capture
  • Aperture: f/2.8-f/11
  • Shoot up to 6K Video

EVO II Dual

  • Sony IMX586 1/2” CMOS Sensor + FLIR Boson Sensor 640×512
  • 48MP Image Capture
  • Shoot up to 8K Video
  • Aperture: f/1.8 (Visible)

Autel Live Deck

The Live Deck by Autel allows drone operators to display real time video footage from the EVO II drone on a Windows or Mac computer, smartphone, TV/monitor or over your local network. The Live Deck retails at $449.00 and is a great addition for folks operating in the public safety, commercial and education sectors. In testing we successfully streamed video with the Live Deck from the EVO II standard up to 2,900 feet away through a 5 inch insulated wall. During the test I maintained visual line of sight while piloting the drone from outside the building while viewers watched the drones live stream within the cool, air conditioned Nine Ten Drones training center.

Currently none of the other UAS manufacturers are providing a livestreaming solution to aid UAS teams during larger, more complex operations. The EVO II Pro/Dual paired with the Live Deck is already changing the game for Public Safety operators allowing information to be disseminated more efficiently during flight operations.

Flying the EVO II

Autel EVO II ReviewThe EVO II aircraft is easy to operate, has intuitive smart flight modes and can handle high winds. The Autel Explorer flight application is easy to navigate and displays all the important information needed for safe flying directly over the camera’s live feed. With active tracking, point of interest and precision flight you will find that capturing your shot and tracking subjects will be done with just a few taps of the on-screen buttons. For video creators you will find that the EVO II standard and pro have the advanced automated flight modes that will assist you with getting content you need to keep your clients happy.

We all learn early on in our drone piloting careers that the weather is not always perfect when and where we want to fly. With the EVO II we flew in winds up to 18mph with no issues holding position or having the drone operate of its intended course. Flying with the built-in screen is not as fun as flying with a larger smartphone/tablet screen but still a lot of fun and can be leveraged in a pinch on a commercial project.

The more you fly the more you will want to see. The 8x digital zoom(4x loseless) capability of the EVO II drones will open the door for you to get creative with your photo and video content creation. Also the zoom feature allows pilots to maintain a safe standoff distance from obstacles while getting a closer look at the subject in frame.

Autel EVO II Review

Mapping & 3D Modeling

The photos you capture with the EVO II can be turned into high resolution 2D maps and 3D models using photogrammetry software. With the mission planning software included in the Autel Explorer application you can easily capture the overlapping imagery required to create both maps and models. Currently the major mapping Software as a Service companies (SkyeBrowse, DroneDeploy and Pix4DCapture) do not support the Autel EVO II so all images must be captured manually or with the Autel Explorer application.

Below is a link to a 3D model created using photos captured with the Autel EVO II Standard (8K) and processed with DroneDeploy by Nine Ten Drones – https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/evo-ii-standard-w-dronedeploy-nine-ten-drones-2bd7d43fb9a14d03acb5ea712ce467f4

EVO II Rugged Bundle

I recommend purchasing the EVO II in the Rugged Bundle which includes one additional batteries and a high quality custom cut hard case for safe and secure transportation. The Rugged Bundle will cost an additional $300 and is worth the price when you consider that a single battery costs $219. The EVO II Dual only comes in a Rugged Bundle option.

EVO II Pricing

EVO II Standard (8K) – $1,495.00

  • EVO II 8K drone, remote controller, battery, propellers, battery charger, power cable, rc charging cable and device cables.
  • Add $300.00 for Rugged Bundle which includes one additional battery and hard case.

EVO II Pro (6K) – $1,795.00

  • EVO II 6K drone, remote controller, battery, propellers, battery charger, power cable, rc charging cable and device cables.
  • Add $300.00 for Rugged Bundle which includes one additional battery and hard case.

EVO II Dual – Request Quote

  • EVO II Dual drone, remote controller, two batteries, propellers, battery charger, power cable, rc charging cable, device cables and hard case.
  • Includes FoxFury Lighting Solutions night operations lighting kit for staying within Part 107.29 compliance.
  • For anyone interested in pricing information for the Autel EVO II Dual you will need to contact an authorized dealer for pricing per Autel Robotics Sales Policy.
  • If you contact [email protected] a member of the Nine Ten Drones support team will be able to answer questions and provide the pricing information you need.

EVO II Summary

Autel Robotics has released three incredible platforms that will help many folks take their drone operations to the next level and also help more individuals, businesses and organizations begin to leverage drones. The EVO II is pushing the industry forward with increased flight time and high resolution visual and IR sensors at an affordable price. If you are currently looking to pick up a drone for recreational or commercial purposes I highly recommend considering one of the EVO II platforms.

0 10Paul Rossi is the Chief Operations Officer and Chief Pilot at Nine Ten Drones, a N. C.-based drone services company, training center, and reseller.  Rossi is also the Outreach Coordinator for the North Carolina Chapter of AUVSI.  A graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the U.S. Army Aviation Logistics School, Rossi is passionate about the aviation industry.  He holds both a private pilot’s license for manned aircraft and a Part 107 Remote Pilot’s Certificate.  You can see more videos and product information on the Nine Ten Drones YouTube channel.

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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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