Recent Leaks Show a Mysterious Industrial Drone from DJI—Now We Might Know What It Is

BY Zacc Dukowitz
29 August 2023

A large industrial drone has been pictured recently in leaked footage alongside the DJI Mini 4, leading to lots of speculation about what it could be.

At first, some drone industry insiders speculated that the big, mysterious drone could be some kind of souped up Mini 4.

This idea came up mainly because the large drone was captured in footage secretly recorded showing a Mini 4 prototype (the footage shown above).

But this theory was strange because, if it was true, the drone wouldn’t be a Mini. All the drones in DJI’s Mini series aren’t just small—they weigh less than 250 grams, which is the threshold for requiring registration with the FAA. Given that strict criteria for Mini drones, this one just didn’t make sense for that series.

The Mysterious Industrial Drone

Igor Bogdanov is the mastermind behind both @Quadro_News, the Twitter account churning out all the DJI Mini 4 leaks we’ve seen lately, as well as leaks about this new industrial drone. (He was also the first to leak the fact that DJI was working on a delivery drone.)

Bogdanov isn’t the kind of leaker who shares everything he knows at once. Instead, he likes to tease his audience, driving up interest by revealing just a little bit of information at a time.

In classic form, he first started sharing that there was an “industrial drone” of some kind in the works along with some of his Mini 4 leaks, first sharing a still of the video above and using the phrase “industrial drone,” then showing what seems to be that same drone alongside a Mavic 3.

Here’s the industrial drone tweet:

And here’s the Mavic 3 side-by-side tweet:

After teasing the existence of this drone, he started teasing more information, noting that a (very blurry) closeup from another video seems to show that the large drone has a camera module similar to that found on the Mavic 3T.

Finally, after slowly dripping out all of this information to build interest, Bogdanov shared an actual video of the drone in flight, noting again that the camera unit resembles the one found on the Mavic 3T.

Around this time, another, longer video featuring the footage from the above tweet as well as some additional footage came out, revealing a little more of what the same unknown drone looks like.

So What Is the Mystery Drone?

When you look at the video and stills, the larger leaked drones looks something like a mix between a Mini and some kind of Mavic (especially when you see it sitting next to the Mavic 3 in that tweet above).

But one big design difference from those two drone series is that this drone’s arms don’t seem to fold—note that in the Mini 4 video the drone is being put away with its arms still straight.

So what the heck is it?

According to speculation, the mysterious drone may be a smaller version of the DJI Matrice 30, which came out along with DJI’s first ever docking station back in 2022. This identification is based in part on the fact that the drone’s fixed arms could indicate it’s meant to be stored in a dock, just like the M30.

The M30 coming out of the DJI Dock | Credit: DJI

The timing kind of makes sense for another small Matrice (the M30 is the smallest in the series). The Matrice 30 came out in March of 2022, so it wouldn’t be crazy to think that DJI is working on a new version.

But the reasoning for making an even smaller Matrice is a little wonky.

Commercial drone experts we’ve spoken with have shared that the M30 is a drone that no one really needed when it came out. Also, the accompanying DJI Dock is something no one can really use, due to regulatory restrictions, so it’s more of a nice concept than a viable product.

According to these experts, the M300 or M350 can do everything the M30 can do—and more. It seems like the main differentiator with the M30 is that DJI wanted to have an enterprise platform that cost a few thousand less than the M300, creating it to fill a gap in price point, and not an actual demand from customers. But based on everything we’ve seen, the “smaller M30” theory is a sound one.

If this new industrial drone is an even smaller Matrice, it will be yet another instance of DJI creating a drone to have another price point option—a Matrice that costs less than the M30—while the drone itself won’t really add that much value for end users.

Given the rapid pace at which DJI pushes out new drones, we’re sure to get this mystery solved soon enough.

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