AgEagle Launches the eBee Vision, Its First Ever Surveillance Drone

BY Zacc Dukowitz
12 September 2023

AgEagle just launched a new drone in the eBee series called the eBee Vision.

eBee VISION | Coming 2023

Like the other drones in the series, the eBee Vision is a fixed-wing made for commercial operations that can be deployed in three minutes by a single operator. (The eBee series was originally made by senseFly, which AgEagle has since acquired.)

But where many of the previous eBees targeted mapping and surveying, the Vision is made specifically to support surveillance, and is intended for both commercial and government use.

The eBee Vision was designed to provide real-time, enhanced situational awareness for critical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (“ISR”) missions.

– Statement from AgEagle

Specs and Features for the eBee Vision

According to AgEagle, the eBee Vision was tested by special forces in both the U.S. and in Europe during its development, and received positive feedback from both groups of elite soldiers.

Leveraging that input, the new drone’s Ground Control System (GCS) features a high-end user interface tailored to meet defense and public safety requirements.

Credit: AgEagle

Here are the main specs for the eBee Vision:

  • Flight time. 90 minutes.
  • Cameras. Visual sensor with 4K HD video and 32X zoom and a thermal sensor enabling nighttime operations.
  • Weight. 3.5 pounds (1.6 kilograms).
  • Transmission range. live HD video feed up to 12 miles (19 km).
  • GNSS denied. Can operate without GNSS, which could be attractive either for operations in remote environments or for security considerations.

The eBee Vision can be used to detect, track, and geolocate objects both at night and during the day.

Credit: AgEagle

No pricing information has been shared publicly yet about the eBee Vision. But AgEagle’s CEO has said it will be sold “at an affordable price point.”

The eBee Tac—AgEagle’s fixed-wing made for defense applications—sells for around $13,500, so we imagine the Vision will be priced similarly. The Vision is currently under production and AgEagle is actively taking orders for it.

AgEagle’s NDAA-Compliant Drones

One key feature of the eBee Vision that AgEagle has called out is that it’s NDAA compliant.

NDAA stands for National Defense Authorization Act. As it pertains to drones, it describes the kinds of drones that the Department of Defense can acquire. The key focus is on where the drone or its components are made—any drone made in a “covered foreign country” is off limits.

Covered foreign countries include North Korea, Russia, and Iran. But in practical terms, NDAA compliant just means the drone and/or its components weren’t made in China.

AgEagle’s eBee Tac is also compliant with the NDAA

NDAA compliance has been coming up a lot lately in the drone industry.

As security concerns mount around drones and drone components from China, more and more drone manufacturers are touting both their compliance with the NDAA and the fact that their drones are “made in America.” (We put the phrase in quotes because it doesn’t always mean what you might think—often, a company that claims to make its drones in America may still be using components from China.)

Unlike the DOD’s Blue UAS designation, which requires a rigorous review process and results in a formal recognition from the U.S. government, NDAA compliance is self-reported.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry some weight. To claim NDAA compliance, drone companies must have found a way to keep their supply chain free from any Chinese-made components. And that’s not always easy to do.

The eBee X | Credit: AgEagle

For companies like AgEagle that make drones for government use, NDAA compliance is worth it. But it’s telling how few of the eBee drones can make the claim.

In addition to the eBee Vision, the only other drone in the eBee series that meets the NDAA supply chain requirements is the eBee Tac Government. That means the eBee X, Ag, Geo, and Tac Public Safety aren’t NDAA compliant—because they probably contain some amount of components from China.

This is worth calling out not to undermine AgEagle’s drones, but just to highlight how reliant drone companies still are on Chinese technology. While the political movement is quite strong to drop China altogether from our drone supply chain, the reality is that we still have a ways to go before this will actually be possible.

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