DJI’s New $ 500 RC Robot Includes Camera, 31 Sensors, and Mini Cannon



Joshua Goldman / CNET

The DJI RoboMaster S1 looks like a stand-alone sentry ready to protect the smart home of the future, and maybe it will be one day. Right now, the company says it is simply the most advanced robot on the market for students. Designed to see, smell and hear the world around it, the S1 has 31 sensors to map its surroundings, which is more than what you’ll find in one of the company’s drones. Combined with its first person view (FPV) camera, the rover can be programmed to do things like respond in different ways to applause or hand gestures or recognize and react to other S1 units among others.

The S1 is also a big RC car with a cannon that shoots little squishy gel balls and is great fun to ride and battle with other S1s. First, however, you have to build it.

46 pieces

DJI RoboMaster S1

The S1 must be assembled before it can be driven.

Joshua Goldman / CNET

Named for DJI’s annual RoboMaster robotics competition, the S1 (short for step 1) comes disassembled into 46 pieces, which DJI says can typically be assembled in around 2-4 hours. Its modular design and six pulse width modulation (PWM) ports allow you to modify the S1 and connect additional third-party accessories such as speakers or LEDs.

There are six 100 watt brushless servo motors for high speed and precision. Engines and Mechanum Wheels allows the S1 to move in any direction, much like DJI’s drones do in the air. The S1’s FPV camera, infrared beam, and gel ball blaster can be found on one of the company’s motorized gimbals that are typically used to stabilize cameras. This gives you a nice smooth view of the camera while you are trying to drive.

Although the camera is intended for navigation and targeting, it can record videos in Full HD resolution and take photos. Six sets of LED-illuminated target sensors surround the body, which not only looks cool, but gives you something to aim for as you battle other S1s with the infrared beam or its gel bead blaster.

The beads start out as tiny pellets that you dip in water and then load into a cartridge for the blaster. If you know Orbeez, that’s basically what pearls are. The blaster’s rate of fire and tilt are limited to prevent injury, and DJI includes eye protection just to be on the safe side. They eventually become dehydrated again and can be vacuumed for easy cleaning.

Single-player game modes allow you to practice your driving skills and aim for targets. There are also multiplayer options, so you can take on your friends and family or fight them in a Free for All mode, which allows you to shoot other S1s.

DJI RoboMaster S1

The S1 gamepad is not included.

Joshua Goldman / CNET

The RoboMaster S1 is controlled with a phone or tablet. An optional gamepad will be available that will give you a stick and buttons for driving and shooting, as well as a mount for your mobile device. You use your right thumb to control the blaster / camera. I found it uncomfortable to use and it should really have a second stick on the right. It is also sold separately. You can also control the S1 with a keyboard and mouse, which really gives it a gaming feel.

A set of 44 vision markers are included, such as the “1” you can see in the image above. In race modes, you can use a set to serve as control points or use them for IR target practice. In multiplayer battles, you can scan a Heart marker that virtually repairs your S1 if you are hit by an opponent. Likewise, Mystery Bonus markers give you one of four boosts to use against your competition: stun, electromagnetic interference, extreme speed, and invincibility.

It is also learning

DJI RoboMaster S1

The S1 can be programmed with Scratch 3.0.

Joshua Goldman / CNET

In the S1 app, you have access to coding tools. Under its “Road to Mastery” options, you will find project-based courses on programming languages. The S1 can be programmed with Scratch 3.0 or Python. Video tutorials and programming guides are available in the app’s RoboAcademy.

DJI says you’ll be able to program unique functions of the S1, modify its movement, increase its efficiency, and even optimize the torque of its four wheels. You can also write your own programs to give the S1 personalized skills. For example, you can make him evade an attack and retaliate automatically.

The S1 is just the start of DJI’s push into robotics education and it is planning classes, educational materials, events and materials in the months and years to come, the company.

The RoboMaster S1 is available in the US for $ 499 starting June 12. A “PlayMore Kit,” which includes the dedicated controller, additional gel beads, battery, and gel bead container, will be available for purchase at a later date at a certain price. . The S1 will also be available in China and Japan at launch, but no other regions have been announced.

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