For those who have complained about Litchi’s modest $25 per license, I have a shocking bit of news about what owners of all DJI drones that are newer than the Mavic 2 Pro, will have to pay DJI for the privilege of planning waypoint flights.
The new DJI Flight Hub2 waypoint planning facility that is offered with DJI Fly and is currently available as a free trial version, will cost a king’s ransom to purchase and the link below is the sobering proof of what is in store for anyone buying a Mavic 3 or newer DJI drone, with the expectation of flying waypoint missions.
Now if you scroll down the page, you will see that TWO versions of DJI’s waypoint planning software are available. The Standard Version which allows a paltry FIVE waypoint missions to be stored, is currently available as a free trial beta version, while the Professional Version, which allows unlimited flight plan storage memory, is priced at an eye-watering $100 PER MONTH. Yes sir, you read these words right - one hundred US greenback dollars per MONTH is what you will need to shell out to DJI if you wish to plan waypoint missions using DJI’s proprietary waypoint flight planning package.
Now I finally comprehend why DJI quietly pulled the plug on Litchi by disallowing Litchi to offer waypoint planning capability at the cost of just $25 for all newer DJI models than the Mavic 2 Pro. The lockout of Litchis is no accident. DJI obviously realizes that SOME drone operators would be willing to pay astronomical amounts for the privilege of creating waypoint missions on DJI’s newer drones, and thus arose DJI’s need to terminate Litchi with extreme prejudice.
The upshot of this story is that anyone who wishes to fly DJI drones without getting billed thousands of dollars just to have waypoint planning functionality will have no option but to refrain from buying newer DJI drones, and will of necessity become a curator of antique drones.
Ok, it looks like I was comparing apples and oranges for a minute there. The DJI Flight Hub2 waypoint capability is tailored for DJI’s top-of-the-line Enterprise drone product line, and therefore costs an arm and a leg. While the new DJI Flight Hub2 was created for Enterprise DJI drones, it apparently will work with the Mavic 3, hence my initial mistaken assumption that the costly Flight Hub2 was the same as the FREE DJI Fly waypoint feature added just 2 months ago for the Mavic 3.
The recently released DJI Fly waypoint capability that was introduced with the latest firmware update of the Mavic 3, is of course absolutely free, and surprisingly allows the Mavic 3 to complete waypoint missions even if the RC controller is turned off after such fully autonomous waypoint missions commence.
This waypoint completion despite RC controller signal loss will make the Mavic 3 a desirable acquisition for me five years from now when Mavic 3s drop from their current refurbished price of $1,600 down to a more affordable $400 a pop on eBay.
In the meantime I’ll remain on the edge of my seat in anticipation of news about the Mini 3’s upcoming SDK release, and whether fully autonomous waypoint mission completion beyond RC signal range will be possible for the Mini 3 with that much anticipated SDK release.
Nobody is going to hear ANY complaints from me about what I paid for Litchi. No complaints about having to buy the Android version after I quit using my iPad Mini 4 either.
For hobbyists and even professional drone operators, Litchi is the gold standard that is imitated but never replicated by all those other “spare” pretenders to the throne, if I may coin a contemporary phrase.
Out of curiosity, I paid for a comparably priced waypoint creation facility a while back, only to discard it when I discovered I would require a doctorate degree in computer science just to decipher the obscure tech-geek terminology used in that package’s overly convoluted and ponderous user interface.
Litchi is dead simple to use and intuitive even for those who can’t be bothered reading the whole manual. The flight plans generated by Litchi are also utterly reliable and consistently repeatable over time. The icing on the cake is Litchi’s affordability which I can only hope remains in the same ballpark over the coming years.
I attempted to use the free time-limited trial version of DJI’s Flight Hub 2 waypoint generator but then quickly abandoned that adventure because the process of creating waypoints required an irritatingly complex and meandering sequence of steps that made me glad I own Litchi already.
I eventually gave up and stopped exploring Flight Hub2 after wasting a whole hour trying to figure out how to erase accidentally created waypoints. That unnecessarily complicated waypoint feature for which DJI expects to be paid $1,200 a year in subscription fees, would have been worthless to me even if it was bestowed on me absolutely free as a charitable donation.
No surprise here. It is Chinese mentality. I hope people WILL NOT buy newest drones from DJI. All new drones are worse then grandfather drones.