When a product launch makes a big splash in the drone industry, either the bar has been raised or an unlucky pilot has flown a GoPro Karma too close to a lake.

Bold first impressions are hard to come by because new drones tend to be iterations. Small and steady improvements on older models.

Looking back, there are only a handful of unveilings that have changed the landscape in an instant: The Phantom 4 and its obstacle avoidance tech in 2016. The foldable Mavic Pro a few months later. The Skydio R1 and its industry-leading autonomy, which has since been followed by another standard-setting drone, the Skydio 2.

At CES last week, what felt like another big moment came from an unexpected source: Autel Robotics.

If you missed the news amid the usual avalanche of unveilings from Las Vegas, Autel’s new EVO 2 Series boasts some incredible specifications: a modular, foldable platform with 40 minutes of flight time; omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, and the pièce de résistance: an 8k video camera.

The company’s calling it “The evolution of flight“. It’s certainly very…

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