If you’ve been patiently awaiting a new drone from GDU, today is your lucky day. We’re at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, and so is the GDU team with new quadcopters.
The GDU SAGA is a powerhouse of a commercial machine with interchangeable payloads, and the GDU O2 Plus is the long-range smaller drone that many were asking for last year.
These two new GDU drones serve vastly different purposes. One is a compact, sliding arm (not quite folding) camera drone with 4K camera and rich set of fun flight features. The other drone is designed to handle nearly any commercial drone need, ranging from inspections, mapping, search and rescue and simply lighting the night sky.
Related reading: GDU Drones guide
Perhaps the best place to start with the new GDU SAGA, is to talk about the available payloads. Those include an in-house infrared camera system, normal cameras with 10x and 30x zoom lenses, a standard 4K camera, lights, speakers, payload release mounts and more. The idea is simple, The SAGA drone should be able to handle many flight needs, but the platform is flexible, so if you need something else, perhaps it can be created.
You can enjoy a 2.2 pound payload from the GDU SAGA. That’s enough to haul many smaller cameras, deliver a life preserver and more. The drone even has an IP rating for flying when there is water falling from the sky.
The first thing you may notice about the GDU SAGA is how similar it looks to the older GDU Byrd line of drones. We’ve yet to run down an official spec sheet, but it certainly has similarities, if only in the folding propeller arm design and the shape of the fuselage.
While we are sure there are many advancements over the older drone, we can only so far confirm the vastly improved connectivity range, up to 10km video stream, the extended flight time of almost 40 minutes and the availability of RTK GPS. Of course, there is the waterproofing, ability to handle colder weathers and the new paint job. Orange is a standard construction and safety color, helping integrate the GDU SAGA into your existing workflow.
Drone legal and safety
GDU O2 Plus
Do you remember the GDU O2? I hope so, it was a promising drone with 4K camera, nifty sliding arm design and a solid price tag. There may have been a few things missing from the drone, at least that was the consensus when comparing the fun drone to something like the DJI Mavic Air.
GDU had announced the O2 well before the Mavic Air was announced, but the Mavic Air beat the O2 to market, which we imagine was a bit of a disaster for GDU sales. Particularly painful for the younger company as they had some production delays, the Mavic Air launched in between GDU’s announcement and final product hitting store shelves.
From our experience, and in our opinion, the original GDU O2 produced video of similar quality as the DJI Mavic Pro. Although, we’d rank the gimbal stabilization higher for the older Mavic Pro. This means that the Mavic Air is the better option if stable video is necessary to you.
We wish we could say that the new GDU O2 Plus makes improvements to the camera and gimbal, but we were told that the additions are, ultimately, limited to connectivity. Range between the drone and remote has been vastly increased.
The other published update of note is a doubling of the internal storage space, now 32GB. An unpublished update is further improvements to the camera gimbal, essentially adding a bit of weight to help balance the gimbal better.
We’ll go a lot more in-depth when we go hands-on with the drone, see what’s new from the original, but for now, if you are shopping for a GDU O2, absolutely buy the Plus variant. We do not have purchasing options available yet, but I promise you’ll know as soon as we do.
We’ve been working with GDU for a few years now, they’ve always been fairly forthcoming with information on their machines and their business. This year was different. They were still very sharing, but they’ve shifted their staff and the higher-ups are rolling up their sleeves to chat with folks like me.
It was a pleasure to chat with Max, the CEO of GDU. He answered all of our questions and went above and beyond to make sure we captured all of the footage we needed to share with you.
These new drones tick the right marks on paper. They offer rich features and a powerful set of payloads, at least for the SAGA. We can’t form an opinion of the drones just yet, but we are impressed with what we’ve seen.
Stay tuned for more, we hope to get our hands on these new GDU drones soon.