Welcome, Autel Pilots!
Join our free Autel drone community today!
Join Us

Notice From Autel About Controllers and Compatibility in the Future

Eagle928

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2021
Messages
350
Reaction score
243
Just spotted this on FB. I have no reason to believe it isn't valid and it was confirmed by a reliable 2nd party.

"Autel V2 Product Announcement

Dear Supporters,
In order to stay true to Autel Robotics’ commitment to transparency, this notice is to inform you of a few changes coming as a result of the well- documented global chip shortage.
Due to the shortage, we will be unable to produce more of the current version of our EVO II platforms, Smart Controllers, and Live Deck. As a result, we will be releasing a second version of these platforms in the upcoming months. Unfortunately, this means Version 1 aircraft will not work with Version 2 controllers and vice versa, although batteries will remain cross-compatible.

Though brought on by necessity, this change gives us an opportunity to improve on our product. The new version will provide increased transmission stability, significantly enhancing the user experience. It will also enable us to create a more sustainable supply chain so we can continue to get our tools into the hands of those who rely on them.

With this new development in mind, only a limited number of Version 1 Smart Controllers will be manufactured. These will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. If you have any further questions, please reach out to our team at [email protected].

Thank you for your support and understanding. We will do our best to remedy the situation as quickly as possible."
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ram
D

Deleted member 6303

Guest
Legit, I just got the same email - Ordered two from Empire Drone - Cancelled 3 days ago as I saw this coming from insider and still awaiting my 2398.00 refund. Go figure.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ram and Eagle928

Eagle's Eye Photo

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Joined
Jun 15, 2020
Messages
210
Reaction score
215
Age
63
Location
Albuquerque, NM
So what I am understanding from that, is that if you want a SC that works with the aircraft you own today... you need to buy that NOW... or at least get yourself on a pre-order list. Just as significant, once Evo II 2.0 comes out, that corresponding Smart Controller 2.0 will not work with the hardware of every existing Autel Evo II customer that has Evo II 1.0.

Add to that, still not a peep on any compatibility to the future Evo III (1.0) which could be out by the holiday season... (but will now be delayed until they get this "issue" settled)... on a $1200 dedicated piece of hardware (dependant on chip availability).

Wonder how this will effect July 4th sales... also, this did not just bite them in the azz... chip availability has been an issue for a while. Makes more sense with all those sales a month ago... Mother's Day... really?

Don't even get me started on future repairs/parts availability... will you be told you'll have to re-invest in Evo II 2.0? Will future firmware updates be available in both versions... or only in version 2.0?

Sorry, I keep editing as I think of an additional point... OK, I'm done now... I mean it. Well, at least on this post. OK, I lied... one more.

 
Last edited:

mshmovie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Messages
224
Reaction score
253
Age
61
Location
New City, NY
Not happy about this at all as my expectation was to be able to use this controller for future Autel products which was in their page describing the product until recently.

Autel's intent to support future products with the Smart Controller can still be seen on the drone-works web site here: Autel Smart Controller stating, "" *The Autel Smart Controller will support more Autel Robotics aircrafts in the future."
1622858835978.png
So the official message I read on the Facebook Group for Official Autel Owners:
1622858881810.png
If I understand it to state that the first version works with what was released, but not what will come in the future, is a massive product failure!

If true, it takes the $1200 value of the v1 smart controller and sets it at about $400 to $500; it'll work with the version of the Autel Evo II's that have been built to date and not the ones that will be built with the new chips.

What will happen if we get a warranty or Autel Care Replacement? Will it contain the same version of the chip set that works with the controllers we get today?

As someone that's built product for decades, that most everyone here has used, this is a massive blunder and an great example of a catastrophic decision.

I'm going to give Autel the courtesy to clarify to ensure no misunderstanding exists. If they're going to give us the privilege of buying a $1,200 one trick pony, I will cancel my order ASAP and be reconsidering my future with Autel Products (While I like them, I don't like to be impacted by someone else's stupid decisions).

Please feel free to let me know if this assessment is incorrect; I love considerate dissent and thoughtful consideration.

Best,
Marc
 

mshmovie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Messages
224
Reaction score
253
Age
61
Location
New City, NY
What I sent to Autel :mad: (Not going to roll over on this at all - this might be a case study on how a company lost its market share with a bad decision that was inconsiderate of its customers.)

To: [email protected] (Feel free to let them hear your voice too.)


Subject: Smart Controller and chip shortage - re. my preorder - avoiding a likely debacle and loss of market share


Hi Autel Robotics Support Team,


I own an Autel Evo II Pro Rugged bundle with a total of five batteries and have a smart controller on order from B & H Photo; my initial purchase was influenced by the upcoming release of the smart controller.

If I understand correctly:
  • the original intent was to release the Smart Controller with a feature that supports future Autel Products
  • due to chip supply issues, there will be two versions of the smart controller
    • v1 will work with already sold Autel Evo II platforms and will no longer support future Autel products (decontented feature set from what was sold in the pre orders)
      • This will be first come, first serve; one of many aspects of this Smart Controller/Chip Decision decision that is massively dysfunctional. - I'm only a CTO that sold three companies for about a billion dollars, what could I know about technical decisions?
    • v2 will work with the Autel Evo II platforms built with the new chip and will support future Autel Products
    • there is no cross compatibility between v1 and v2 products
Am I correct?

If so, this is massively disappointing as I purchased my bundle, filters, three extra batteries and more knowing the Smart Controller was coming with future compatibility.

I will make numerous decisions based on your response pertaining to my preorder, what I've purchased to date, and more (I also own a Skydio 2 and numerous DJI drones).

As a technologist that makes countless decisions every day, has DevOps, QA, Engineering reporting to me globally, if I was to present this on a PowerPoint slide, its title would be Debacle!

Please consider the content of this email carefully as the future of your company's market share in the UAV market is likely and unfortunately at risk.

What follows is evidence of the original promised feature set and the posting made on Facebook by Autel.

I look forward to your considerate response.

Here's my posting on autelpilots.com as well:

Regards,
Marc

Note: what I referred to as "what follows" are the same images I provided in my prior post capturing the (1) evidence of the Smart Controller's feature for supporting future product and (2) Autel's post to FaceBook.
 
  • Love
Reactions: DocDoc

ORANGE CRUSH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
337
Reaction score
186
Location
Utah
Wow! Going to wait now on a purchase, I've been looking into DJI which seems to be more stable & offering a lot more accessories from 3rd party vendors but I hate their geo-fencing. I was an x-star user & the unavailable batteries put a sour taste in my mouth from Autel, but this is just wrong!! I'm on the fence now, guess I'm just going to wait it out now. Sure thought this smart controller was a way back, guess I was wrong!! Good luck guys!
 

mshmovie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Messages
224
Reaction score
253
Age
61
Location
New City, NY
Wow! Going to wait now on a purchase, I've been looking into DJI which seems to be more stable & offering a lot more accessories from 3rd party vendors but I hate their geo-fencing. I was an x-star user & the unavailable batteries put a sour taste in my mouth from Autel, but this is just wrong!! I'm on the fence now, guess I'm just going to wait it out now. Sure thought this smart controller was a way back, guess I was wrong!! Good luck guys!
Wait and see if they respond. I think their decision was incredibly short sighted and I hope they get to read considerate critique and change direction (unless they signed a contract for a boatload of chips they should not have bought). It's always about the customer; provide a product that makes the customer happy, that differentiates you in the market, and you will succeed.

This is an exceptionally, poorly thought out decision; a good three month horizon decision is not a good decision unless you're going to go out of business if you don't make it. ?
 
  • Like
Reactions: ehill

Eagle928

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2021
Messages
350
Reaction score
243
I would like to know exactly why there is an incompatibility issue that cannot be resolved with firmware (machine language coding). Is it because Autel doesn't want to put the resources into the translators between chips or what? I would like this explained in common laymen terminology for everyone's benefit.

I agree. For a premium platform barely out a year to drop the first version like this without some kind of workaround is unbelievable.

I bet the V2 E2 has a different controller as well. One nearly every current E2 owner would prefer.

This would also explain the recent huge drop in price with their sale last month.

I like my two E2P's but they may very well be the last Autel products I buy if this is not corrected in some way.
 

mshmovie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Messages
224
Reaction score
253
Age
61
Location
New City, NY
I would like to know exactly why there is an incompatibility issue that cannot be resolved with firmware (machine language coding). Is it because Autel doesn't want to put the resources into the translators between chips or what? I would like this explained in common laymen terminology for everyone's benefit.

I agree. For a premium platform barely out a year to drop the first version like this without some kind of workaround is unbelievable.

I bet the V2 E2 has a different controller as well. One nearly every current E2 owner would prefer.

This would also explain the recent huge drop in price with their sale last month.

I like my two E2P's but they may very well be the last Autel products I buy if this is not corrected in some way.
As you're aware, I do wholeheartedly agree. As for whether it can be addressed with firmware, I hypothesize that the chips are the actual radio transmitter/receivers affecting the frequencies and not the signal's content. It would be like trying to change a cell phone network from CDMA or TDMA to GSM; they send signals over the air, but there's no cross compatibility that can be overcome by firmware - there's an underlying radio incompatibility despite all standards sending the same underlying content (phones have overcome this by having multiple radios - that's not what we're getting here).

Copping out on a firmware upgrade that's good for business would get the technology & product leaders fired (or it should); that would be an absolutely unforgivable and fire-able offense. (This is on the cusp of being a fire-able offense as far as I'm concerned - it's a poorly considered choice; but I rant on thoughtfully...)
 

ehill

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
49
Age
55
While I can understand the "global chip shortage" would present some issues with production and is not under Autel's control, what I cannot understand (or forgive - unless Autel does something to make this right) is the marketing campaign, publishing of inaccurate specifications, collecting of pre-orders (and MONEY in my case), and promises to ship early and throughout June. Then an announcement like this AFTER the units were SUPPOSED TO SHIP. The LEAST they could have done was make future Smart Contollers BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE. I'm extremely upset as my drone business is just getting off the ground - my business purchases need to be well thought out. I read and believed the hype - now I feel I've wasted money on the purchase (and even if refunded have wasted my TIME). Now, I need to RE-EVALUATE whether or not my business will rely on Autel in the future.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Eagle928

herein2021

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2021
Messages
594
Reaction score
570
Location
Florida
I hate to say I called it with the smart controller but future compatibility and going further into a proprietary ecosystem (Autel) were the two main reasons I chose to skip this smart controller as well as the DJI version. Of course even I did not expect it to happen so soon. Personally I am more worried that this "V2" EVO II will take slightly different batteries which would mean batteries for the "V1" version that I have will become hard to find very quickly similar to the X-Star owners.

I already consider the current situation a major issue...if my current remote goes bad from the sounds of it, there will be no way to get a replacement remote for my current drone. At a minimum if it really is something like the radio transmitter they should add an expansion port or something to the V2 remotes so that when the chips become available again you can purchase a module that will make the V2 remotes work with the V1 drones.

Also, the whole reason sounds suspicious to me; why doesn't DJI have the same problem? Or why don't they just show out of stock for the controllers until the chips are available again. This really puts me in a bad situation....I've never had a controller go bad but now I'm thinking should I buy a second controller 'just in case'......but then if I can't get batteries in 2yrs or my controller never breaks then I will have a brand new controller sitting in a box with an internal battery that is going bad. Autel really needs to provide more clarity on this situation.

I do think this is a good time to reiterate what I've been saying all along especially if you are doing this professionally; don't get anything you don't need to fly the drone (besides the case), stick with a vendor agnostic tablet like an iPad mini or Tripletek which you can use to fly any drone from any vendor, and don't waste money on useless accessories like CPLs, ND filters, etc. when you may need to start all over in 3yrs (or less) with a new drone model and ecosystem.
 
Last edited:

ehill

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
49
Age
55
As you're aware, I do wholeheartedly agree. As for whether it can be addressed with firmware, I hypothesize that the chips are the actual radio transmitter/receivers affecting the frequencies and not the signal's content. It would be like trying to change a cell phone network from CDMA or TDMA to GSM; they send signals over the air, but there's no cross compatibility that can be overcome by firmware - there's an underlying radio incompatibility despite all standards sending the same underlying content (phones have overcome this by having multiple radios - that's not what we're getting here).

Copping out on a firmware upgrade that's good for business would get the technology & product leaders fired (or it should); that would be an absolutely unforgivable and fire-able offense. (This is on the cusp of being a fire-able offense as far as I'm concerned - it's a poorly considered choice; but I rant on thoughtfully...)
Correctly designed hardware and software should allow for even radio transmitter/receiver chipsets to be upgraded or replaced (replaceable circuit boards / modular design Ala crossfire for example). Also - there is no excuse to NOT provide backwards compatibility in future designs. It all boils down to money - and Autel is showing their hand that these issues will be paid for entirely at the customer's expense - brand loyalty be damned.
 

ehill

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
49
Age
55
I encourage other users of this forum to contact Autel if you are not happy with the Smart Controller situation. I've already sent an IM to them and will be emailing the new CEO - Randall Warnas ([email protected]). He seems to be the type of person that will listen to comments - maybe as a group we can make a difference.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DocDoc and mshmovie

alsey7

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
131
Reaction score
164
Age
43
I encourage other users of this forum to contact Autel if you are not happy with the Smart Controller situation. I've already sent an IM to them and will be emailing the new CEO - Randall Warnas ([email protected]). He seems to be the type of person that will listen to comments - maybe as a group we can make a difference.
i will bet you that this came from Autel International. There might not be much that can be done. I dont think the New CEO wants to be bad side of his bosses LOL
 

mshmovie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Messages
224
Reaction score
253
Age
61
Location
New City, NY
While I can understand the "global chip shortage" would present some issues with production and is not under Autel's control, what I cannot understand (or forgive - unless Autel does something to make this right) is the marketing campaign, publishing of inaccurate specifications, collecting of pre-orders (and MONEY in my case), and promises to ship early and throughout June. Then an announcement like this AFTER the units were SUPPOSED TO SHIP. The LEAST they could have done was make future Smart Contollers BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE. I'm extremely upset as my drone business is just getting off the ground - my business purchases need to be well thought out. I read and believed the hype - now I feel I've wasted money on the purchase (and even if refunded have wasted my TIME). Now, I need to RE-EVALUATE whether or not my business will rely on Autel in the future.
I feel your comment, not just understand it. I dropped $2k on the E2Pro Rugged & accessories and another $1.2k on the controller in the hopes it will have longevity for the future Evo III, the Mini 2 competitor and whatever else Autel would make that would be a joy to fly; I'm a couple of years away from retirement and I will fly regularly - this is for fun and a distraction from a massively complicated engineering job.

Promising a feature that works with what is and what will be and then fragmenting the space and withdrawing the feature, on top of the presales (and taking money which is nuts - my card was not charged by B&H), is unforgivable.

There have been global chip shortages before and they passed. This will pass and there will be chip shortages in the future.

First and foremost, you need to take care of the customer. Not allowing you to realize your CapEx by making a stupid decision is unforgivable; that is the stuff that drives consumers to new vendors. DJI could probably get away with this, but they've not done something quite this dumb (they have a few minor smart controller issues - but not at this level - e.g., no support of the mini 2).

I strongly suggest you write [email protected], everyone should, and bury them in an avalanche of market feedback on the stupidity and impact of their decision.
 

mshmovie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Messages
224
Reaction score
253
Age
61
Location
New City, NY
I encourage other users of this forum to contact Autel if you are not happy with the Smart Controller situation. I've already sent an IM to them and will be emailing the new CEO - Randall Warnas ([email protected]). He seems to be the type of person that will listen to comments - maybe as a group we can make a difference.
On it.
 

mshmovie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Messages
224
Reaction score
253
Age
61
Location
New City, NY
I encourage other users of this forum to contact Autel if you are not happy with the Smart Controller situation. I've already sent an IM to them and will be emailing the new CEO - Randall Warnas ([email protected]). He seems to be the type of person that will listen to comments - maybe as a group we can make a difference.
Extensive email sent. If he's a solid exec, he should be thinking and visiting this forum as well. - M
 
  • Like
Reactions: RoberfZ

Madhungarian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
475
Reaction score
246
The letter says it that the v2 will have better video trans stability meaning they are ditching the current video system, that is why the live deck is also included. The evo2 uses the same system at the evo1 meaning is a old, and they promised low latency and probably with the current system they cannot do this and compete with occusync 3. This however does not mean the v1 sc wont work with the other newer models coming out in the future because with a new drone design other than the evo 2 series they can have it backwards compatible like how the DJI sc is with the air 2s since it clearly is not using occusync 3 performance. Autel needs to come out and state if this version will work with future newer models like the evo3 or mini etc.
 
Last edited:

mshmovie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Messages
224
Reaction score
253
Age
61
Location
New City, NY
Correctly designed hardware and software should allow for even radio transmitter/receiver chipsets to be upgraded or replaced (replaceable circuit boards / modular design Ala crossfire for example). Also - there is no excuse to NOT provide backwards compatibility in future designs. It all boils down to money - and Autel is showing their hand that these issues will be paid for entirely at the customer's expense - brand loyalty be damned.
Well said. That's exactly what drove this decision. The worst case scenario is for them to produce a two chip smart controller that will work with any Autel Evo II platform regardless of version; that would be 100% satisfactory (two smart controller is not a solution - it's a terrible compromise). They can proceed with a new chipset to address the shortage and manufacture smart controllers that are supply constrained due to needing two chips and take a little less profit for the good of the consumer and their business.?‍♂️

Then we can celebrate and covet the new and improved Evo II v2 and increase their sales. They can replace drones with new versions (instead of keep old in stock).

Would it slow the release of the smart controller? Of course. Would it be the right thing to do? Please share.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ehill

mshmovie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Messages
224
Reaction score
253
Age
61
Location
New City, NY
The letter says it that the v2 will have better video trans stability meaning they are ditching the current video system, that is why the live deck is also included. The evo2 uses the same system at the evo1 meaning is a old, and they promised low latency and probably with the current system they cannot do this and compete with occusync 3. This however does not mean the v1 sc wont work with the other newer models coming out in the future because with a new drone design other than the evo 2 series they can have it backwards compatible like how the DJI sc is with the air 2s since it clearly is not using occusync 3 performance. Autel needs to come out and state if this version will work with future newer models.
Agreed they need to state it. But please observe that they removed the claim of having the feature of supporting future product. That is not the way to do business and I don't think they will state that unless we move them to change their approach.

Who would order a car with a feature, agree on a price and then have that feature gone at delivery with no price reduction? Oh, your Silver Corvette Z06 is a Z51 due to a chip shortage and while it will not compete on the track - it's nearly indistinguishable and is a nice car; I'd kick the sales guy hard. Inadequate communications (I discovered this - not from my authorized Autel dealer). This is unacceptable.
 

Latest threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
8,054
Messages
75,956
Members
5,931
Latest member
upchuck