DJI’s New Robot Isn’t What You Were Expecting


This thing right here might as well be the
Loch Ness Monster with an iPhone 11, or footage of an alien drinking a milkshake
in Area 51. It’s a highly guarded secret, and anyone who
knows about it, or has seen it, has been forbidden from
admitting that it exists for months. That is, of course, until it made its way
here to my kitchen counter, and now to you. Say hello to DJI’s latest creation, the
RoboMaster S1. You all know DJI, it’s the world’s largest drone maker, and perhaps China’s most popular tech
company. People obsess over its products with an
Apple fanboy-like lust. And DJI delivers, bringing out one new drone
after another. But now DJI has decided to bring its talents
to the ground. With the RoboMaster S1, it has built a robot aimed at consumers who
want to drive around really fast, and then shoot each other with pellets and
lasers. Because if there’s one thing the world
really needed, it’s the violence of video games brought to
real life. The idea for this new robot started here, it’s the annual RoboMasters competition that DJI holds in Shenzhen. College engineering students show up for a
couple of weeks and try to destroy each other with a variety
of robots. As you can see, it’s a lot of fun. The big idea then was to shrink these robots
down to little ones, that regular people could
build and then use in their own battles. You know what says “inspiration and
creativity live here”? This poorly lit, brutalist building in the
Shenzhen suburbs that is a DJI research and development lab. Several months ago I came here to get a
firsthand look at prototypes of the RoboMaster S1. This fellow here is the lead of the design
team who helped bring this device to life. “Can you walk me through some of the
different parts?” “So this is a video transmitter, and here is
a camera. And also there’s a shooter mechanism.” “You’ve got the bullets in there?” “Yeah, 90% of them are made of water. And when it hits things, it’s smashed and it
disappears. And on each robot, the lights here indicates
the hit point. When you have repeated been hit, the robot will end up being destroyed.” “That’s the object of the game, is to chase
each other around and hit these plates? Is there like a laser?” “Yeah, and if you always aim at the center
you should be fine.” “All right let’s do it.” “Ok, let’s do it.” “Are you really good at this? Are you just being nice to me?” “No no no. I’m a good driver, but not a good
shooter.” “So you’ve got the controller, but there’s a
different mode where you can just use your body?” “In this way, we allow people to control the movement of
the rover. You can see it’s a very sensitive.” Because DJI founder Frank Wang is a cruel,
cruel engineer, you cannot just buy a RoboMaster S1 and play
with it. No, uou must first assemble it by hand and learn things along the way about
robotics and coding. Here’s a group of youngsters DJI turned into
its product testing guinea pigs at something it billed as a summer camp. “This robot is also an educational tool to
teach programming language. For example, it can be used as a autonomous
driving car, but we don’t have built-in functionality for
this, kids have to learn to to program themselves
to achieve these functionalities.” The hope is that this will teach kids a few
things, get them hooked on robotics, and turn into a worldwide sporting
phenomenon of sorts. “We hope that, in the future, robotics will
become a major sport, like football, basketball. That’s our vision for this product.” “Ow. I’m dead.” “Yes” “Nice game.” “My kids would die to play this.” And boys, daddy made your dream come true. Six months after my trip to China I got my hands on a couple of the finalized
units. Here’s my oldest son Bowie and his adorable
sidekick Tucker who don’t yet know just how bad the DJI
instructions are going to be. “Gentlemen, I have assembled you here today with cookies and milk for an important
project.” “Are going to build a robot?” “We are going
to build a robot, if you guys are up for
it.” “You’re going to have to do most of the
building.” Like a yak on about education and teachable
moments, but really I just wanted my kids to build
this thing so I could play with. “That’s the coolest tool I’ve ever seen.” “Tucker look at this.” “On your mark. Get set. Go!” It ships with this racing mode, where you can use computer vision to spot
targets placed around the house. “Engageing in close quarters.” “Ow, I keep crashing.” Of course, what’s more fun is shooting
pellets. “Here’s your orbs, boys.” Or it has laser mode, You know, for less mess. “This is the least fun part of the day.” Will many people actually buy the RoboMaster
S1? It’s hard to say. The product requires a lot of actual work to
use. It’s going to be expensive, and it’s much
more nichey than DJI’s usual devices. So it’s fair to say the struggle is real for
DJI trying to create a global RoboMasters
army. As we see how things play out, let’s just
hope that the kids remember to wear their
safety goggles, and the DJI has a good insurance policy.

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100 thoughts on “DJI’s New Robot Isn’t What You Were Expecting

  1. Too much time to spend on a toy. It requires human control, and has to run on flat ground, so not really very useful in real life.

  2. I honestly think the building and coding aspect is great, I’m personally a robotics student and building is the best part and learning how to code and work as a team I’ve honestly learned a lot about engineering

  3. weaponize this thing takes some engineering to stabilize the recoil, but who knows, probability got banned pretty soon…..

  4. Someone will very soon figure out a way to replace the water gun with real gun given its modulator design. Maybe that is the true intend of the product.

  5. DJI – We are interested in teaching with these in the suburbs of Detroit. Specifically with Python, though later maybe in Scratch as well.

  6. Very clever to use PMMA beads as toy "tracer rounds" that edge-illuminate with LEDs. Also an excellent use of omnidirectional wheels. I wanna see someone teach that drone how to perform tank strafing maneuvers with AI now.

  7. This thing is awesome if you know people who have it too. Otherwise the coding and assembling are the only fun things

  8. "Because if there is one thing the world really needed, It's the violence of video games brought to real life."

    But isn't that war?

  9. everyone saying its genuis to make the person have to learn to code is so dumb, reality is people will not buy this robot it isnt that cool

  10. Hi i am epileptic and this gave me a seizure. I’m fine but mad there wasn’t a warning. Please add a warning

  11. Way overpriced, and seriously, build yourself, hardly something special, it's equivalent to an IKEA furniture, nothing educational about the build.

  12. 5:25 "My kids would die to play this" and that's why the sport will never become as popular as football. A football costs $10 and uses a backyard. These are unaffordable for many so we'll never be able to find the best, due to inaccessibility.

  13. this is so cool. Victor , you are right. The idea of assembling it yourself and learning about it in the process is the best part

  14. "Are we gonna build a robot?!" Spoken like a future innovator. Great kids, buddy. Big smile here…

  15. omni directional wheels, low latency, superior battery life, excellent camera, 360 degree swivel, mechanical and software at its finest.

    This isn't a RC car, this is years of tech and mechanical innovation packed into a toy. Meant to bring the same joy and wonder RF cars brought to the previous generation.

    I'm amazed at what I'm seeing. If I wasn't a cheap bastard, I'd buy one myself.

  16. Thinking this "project" In real war; like a huge bank.hahahaha. they are just kidding. It is a toy…. Hahaha.

  17. rocket and bomb started as an amusement fireworks, now its killing people in war, this looks like start of very deadly war machinery

  18. Let me tell you vision of this dji robot. Remove water bullets load real bullets and use them in war with anyone who come in way in China.

  19. Bloomberg is known for spoiling fun for everyone! If it even remotely has any type of "Fictional Weapon",…BLOOMBERG WANTS TO BAN IT! Future ????

  20. Fabulous technology, perhaps it can be used on the battlefields of the future. Enlarge and just put in real bullets.

  21. Well done, what else could i say?its not allow to develop or study guns in China, but education is ok,especially after we challenged from outside

  22. The world seen as an American. Wants no work setting it up the product. Thinks about how to sue the company for his/her own mistakes when using the product lol

  23. Then the democrats give one with a real gun, to an autistic kid, get him to shoot up a school……then blame it on Trump!

  24. Would be nice if China would let us invest in their companies.
    Have an open and unregulated stock market like Nasdaq.

    Greetings from Sweden 🙂

  25. Because there is one thing the world really needed. The violence od videogames brought to real life. WTF. Sounds like a trigger for the replublican agenda.

  26. Whenever Bloomberg makes a video about China, there is always this omnious vibe about the videos. The color grading, the choice of words, the general tone…it's really suggestive and unnecessary, can't u juz make a normal video about China?

  27. @Ashlee, @Bloomberg, you people go through so much trouble and sacrifice to get this serious, important, and utterly relevant information to us. What would we do without you ?

  28. that mess the pellets make are going to scare off alot of parents, because they don't want to vacuumclean every day, and still find pellets 9 months later.

  29. I cannot find the answer anywhere, does anyone know if you can control this over the internet?
    This seems like a very important feature.

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