DJI: Two Decades Of Drone Innovation

DJI: Two Decades Of Drone Innovation

DJI is the world's number one drone manufacturer. Find out how DJI's innovative approach to technology has pioneered the drone revolution.

Last updated: Mar 03, 2021

7 minute read

If you love your drones, you've heard of DJI.

In fact, there's a very good chance that you're flying or have thought about purchasing a drone made by the company.

That's because DJI is the world's number one drone maker, with a 74% global market share.

Some of DJI's most popular commercial drones.

Known for innovation, reliability, and cost-effective products, DJI has spearheaded the drone revolution, for hobbyists and commercial users alike.

But who are they? And how has the company grown to become a global phenomenon? Find out by reading our blog.

Who Are DJI?

DJI is a Chinese-based drone manufacturer and global-leader in making consumer and commercial UAS (unmanned aircraft systems).

Its product range includes iconic models such as the Phantom, Mavic, and Matrice Series'.

An iconic DJI Phantom.

The company has expanded beyond drones, releasing cameras - such as the Osmo Action and Osmo Pocket - and gimbal stabilisers, including the Ronin Series.

The DJI Osmo Action camera.

The company has also branched out to education, with the RoboMaster S1 and Tello drone promoting STEM and computer coding.

The DJI RoboMaster S1.

DJI's vast and innovative product ecosystem is sold in more than 100 countries and regions around the world.

Who Founded DJI?

Frank Wang founded the company (Da-Jiang Innovations) in 2006.

He initially ran it out of his dorm room at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology.

From those humble beginnings, it has grown into a truly global empire, valued at $21 billion.

Reported sales are in excess of $2 billion and the company has swallowed up more than 70% of the consumer drone market.

Meanwhile, this table shows the popularity of its drones among U.S public safety crews, compared to other drone makes - according to a study by Bard College.

Table showing how popular DJI drones are among public safety crews in the US.

According to Forbes, Wang owns an estimated 40% of DJI - a privately owned and operated company - accumulating a net worth of $4.8billion.

In 2015, the drone manufacturer benefited from a $75m investment from Accel, partnering to form the SkyFund, a UAV-focused seed fund empowering application-level entrepreneurs in the UAV and robotics space.

In 2017, it acquired a majority stake in Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad. A Hasselblad camera featured on the pioneering Mavic 2 Pro a year later.

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro with Hasselblad camera.

Where Is DJI Based?

The company's headquarters is in Shenzhen, nicknamed China's Silicon Valley.

Its HQ address is: 14th Floor, West Wing, Skyworth Semiconductor Design Building, No.18 Gaoxin South 4th Ave, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China, 518057.

There are also offices in the United States (HQ in LA, California), Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, and employs more than 14,000 people.

Having teamed up with renowned architects Foster + Partners, work is underway to construct a new futuristic HQ in Shenzhen.

An artist's impression of the new HQ.

Designed to resemble a 'floating community in the sky', the building features twin towers connected by a sky bridge and drone flight testing labs.

This impressive new HQ epitomises DJI's standing as a global industry leader.

What Does DJI Stand For?

DJI is the acronym for Da-Jiang Innovations.

In Chinese 大疆创新 it means Great Frontier Innovation.

This sums up perfectly the company's vision and reputation in the drone industry.

Why Is The Company So Successful?

DJI's ethos centers on innovation. Indeed, with the release of the Phantom 1, the company made and defined the modern drone.

Since then, the company has produced drones which are user-friendly, out-of-the-box solutions.

Thanks to this innovation, DJI has created drones which meet the needs of a wide range of pilots, from hobbyists and recreational flyers to commercial operators.

Over the years, the company has continued to push the boundaries. There's been the Spark which can take off from a user's palm; the Mavic Mini which offers 12MP photo capture from a tiny 249g frame; and the M300 RTK which can fly for 55 minutes.

The DJI Mavic Mini.

Other breakthroughs have included the Lightbridge transmission system, advancements in GPS, dedicated apps, and safety features including the AirSense alert system.

Empowering customers with choice has also been key, with different versions of the same drone available for different types of users.

For instance, the Phantom 3 was available in three different models - Standard, Advanced, and Professional - while enterprise pilots can choose from the Matrice 200, Matrice 210 or Matrice 210 RTK V2, or even the Mavic 2 Enterprise and Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual.

The DJI M200 Series V2.

This enables customers to get the right drone for them, based on their needs and ambitions.

Where Are DJI Drones Made?

DJI's factories in Shenzhen include highly sophisticated automated assembly lines.

These include sections where drones under construction 'take off on their own by the hundreds, performing a series of manoeuvres over the course of two minutes, then land and continue moving down the manufacturing line'.

What Is The Best DJI Drone?

Thanks to DJI's vast ecosystem, and due to the variety of users in the industry, the question of the best drone largely comes down to individual requirements and experience.

Great all-round drones include the Mavic Air 2 and the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom; blending power with portability, safety, and content creation features.

Weighing only 249g, the Mavic Mini is ideal for beginners and creatives who want to capture content on the move.

When it comes to commercial drones, the DJI Inspire 2 has become a firm favourite for high-end filmmakers.

The DJI Inspire 2.

For public safety crews, the Mavic 2 Enterprise Series offers a lightweight, portable, and quickly-deployable solution.

Meanwhile, the M300 RTK has set a new standard for enterprise users, with a 55 minute flight time, triple-payload capacity, an enhanced IP45 weather-resistance rating, and sophisticated safety features.

Operators in public safety, search and rescue, and industrial inspection are deploying this drone to great effect.

The DJI M300 RTK.

Are DJI Drones Safe?

Yes they are, thanks to a range of technology to enhance flight safety.

Depending on the drone, safety features within the ecosystem include object sensing and avoidance, propeller guards, and flight redundancies.

Drones such as the Mavic 2 Enterprise, Matrice 200 Series, M300 RTK, and some Mavic Air 2s feature DJI AirSense technology; alerting drone pilots to nearby manned aircraft.

Sensors are common on DJI drones.

DJI drones also come with geofencing capabilities to help prevent them from flying near to sensitive locations such as airports, prisons and high-profile events.

In certain locations, a DJI drone cannot take off or fly in a geofenced area without special authorisation.

However, drone pilots with verified DJI accounts can unlock some areas if they have legitimate reasons and necessary approvals, but the most critical areas require special action from the company to unlock them.

As part of DJI's commitment to drone safety, the company released a white paper in 2019, entitled Elevating Safety.

The document outlines 10 steps which the drone maker, its partners, and the industry can do to help build public confidence and trust in drones.

Data collected from its drones is also safe and secure, DJI insists.

The Mavic 2 Enterprise Series, for instance, has password protection to ensure sensitive information doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

The Mavic 2 Enterprise.

Several enterprise drones, such as the M200 Series and M300 RTK, benefit from AES-256 encryption, which keeps data transmission secure.

Earlier this year, an independent cybersecurity audit showed no evidence of data or information collected by DJI drones being transmitted to China, DJI, or any other unexpected party. Read the full story here.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was DJI started?

Frank Wang founded DJI in 2006.

Where is DJI based?

A truly global company, DJI has offices around the world. It is headquartered in the Nanshan District, of Shenzhen, China. DJI also has offices in the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

Where is DJI USA?

DJI USA has a head office based in L.A., California. Its opening hours are Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00 (PST).

There are also DJI USA stores throughout North America.

Are there DJI authorized dealers in the USA?

Yes there are.™ is an authorized DJI dealer in both the US and the UK.

Based in Texas, US,™ offers DJI drones and consultancy to consumers and commercial clients.™ is also headquartered in the north of England, in the UK, offering DJI drones, in-house repairs, consultancy, and training.

What was DJI's first drone?

DJI's first consumer drone was the DJI Phantom 1. It was released in 2013.

What is DJI cheapest drone?

The cheapest DJI drone is currently the Mavic Mini.

Is DJI a good company?

DJI is the world's leading drone manufacturer. A drone pioneer, reported sales are in excess of $2 billion.

As well as developing ground-breaking UAS technology for recreational and commercial drone pilots, DJI has also been a key player in talks around enhancing drone safety, and safe integration of the airspace between manned and unmanned aircraft.

How are DJI drones being used?

DJI drones are being used by recreational, professional and commercial pilots.

Thanks to the variety of the ecosystem, there are many use cases for the company's products.

Drones such as the Mavic Mini are perfect for beginners, while models such as the Mavic 2 Pro and Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 are ideal for content creators.

The Inspire 2 is deployed by high-end filmmakers, while the Phantom 4 RTK is being used as a next-gen drone surveying solution.

The Matrice family of drones - the M200 Series and M300 RTK - can be deployed across a range of sectors, such as public safety, inspection, construction, and government.

Major companies around the world are deploying DJI drones to save money, improve safety, and increase efficiency - boosting ROI as a result.

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