eBee: a $12,000 Foamie (!)

Jan 23, 2013 17 Comments by

Equipped with eMotion 2 software, this all-foam UAV from senseFLY can follow a preprogrammed flight path or switch over to live pilot navigation, and it can even land by itself thanks to its integrated ground sensor and the ability to run its motor in reverse. This 37.8-inch-span model sports detachable wings, so it and its gear will fit in a case that meets carry-on luggage specs! Some of the eBee’s other features include a 16-megapixel camera, onboard data logging, and the capacity to create 3D maps using that data after the flight. It has a 1.9-mile radio range, a maximum cruising speed of 57 km/h (35 mph), can hold its course against winds of up to 45 km/h (28 mph), and manages about 45 minutes of flight time on one charge of its LiPo battery. Sounds perfect for a fun day at the beach, right? Not so fast … its $12,000 price tag makes it more suitable for more serious endeavors, such as surveying and mining.

senseFLY eBee




Debra Cleghorn

About the author

Model Airplane News Executive editor. About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

17 Responses to “eBee: a $12,000 Foamie (!)”

  1. larry says:

    45 minutes flights. like to know where you get a battery like that.

  2. John Court says:

    I hate to say it but I just don’t see $12K when I look at that little foamie, irregardless of its abilities to fly a preprogrammed course and then return on its own. What about ‘Ruby’, that pretty much can do the same thing. I predict the price will come down in the near future, if the company doesn’t price itself out of business. That being said, I think it is a great design with great potential for farmers and many others. Times are tough and a $12K price tag will keep it out of most peoples hands.

  3. Neal Martin says:

    That $12K price tag is aimed at government purchases. Everyone knows they have a never ending supply of our money.

  4. Gerald Bayless says:

    $12,000 That is about 12 nice nitro or gas airplanes. I could not stand there and fly for 45 min. Where do yuo get a battery that last 45 min?

  5. Dan Arnold says:

    I can’t believe that this project couldn’t be duplicated using off-the-shelf components for a lot less than $12,000

  6. Lee Johnson says:

    The airplane is only a small component of the package. It is used to transport a 16Mb camera which automatically takes aerial photos along the path. This information is then run through software which orthorectifies the images so the are 3D, measurable and can be contoured. This is photogrammetry which has been around for at least 40 years and is very expensive when flown from conventional aircraft.

  7. Sal says:

    where can I get this one at the price of $12k (US Dollars??)

  8. biscotto fracesco says:

    12.000 dollari?!?! per un drone?!?! io credevo sui 2000/30000 euro ma non così tanto!

  9. DESJEAN says:

    I’m considering different options to buy a fixed wing drone; people talk a lot about Ebee but I saw Lehmann Aviation LA300 who seem very good for the sames capabilities and a much lower price ; is someone knows about Lehmann Aviation aircrafts? what do you think?
    Thanks for yours answers

  10. Carl says:

    The $12K is just not for the foamie but a good percent of it is for the software. The software which is powered by Pix4D is about USD $8500. then you have the flight controls, camera etc. Yes, I agree it is a little pricey. Look at the 3DRobotic. That cost for something similiar is about US$10,500 once again the software is by Pix4Dmapper PRO. Only a $1500 different

  11. Kyle says:

    I recently heard that the eBee starts to lose visual resolution at speeds over 6 m/s .. Is this due to the on-board AI not sufficiently timing the overlapping capture? Is the equipped sensors not engineered for such speeds? The PrecisionHawk Lancaster platform maintains resolution even with speeds of 12 m/s.. Seems like the robotics aboard the hawk are much more advanced.

  12. Dalvin says:

    it was my first time to be in a person handling this ebee drone. yes it really flies about 40 mins per one lipo full charge and good thing about this one is that the lipo itself was really small enough to be carried by the drone and powerful. we had these for almost 1 million pesos for our country, the Philippines including the shipping cost and customs. it came with 3 camera, the infrared camera, thermal camera and ordinary colored camera. it really flies good and a smart one which land itself from the place where it took off. although it seems to me very expensive but it was really a good drone for mapping purposes.

  13. Naoko Hirose says:

    The provincial government of Neuquen, Argentina, just bought 1 (one!!!) for 488,500 USD (YES, they paid somebody nearly half million bucks for this bird).
    Check the news here:


    Who said that 12,000 USD was too expensive?

    • Luizao says:

      Just to clarify, those $488,500 are in argentine pesos, but still pretty expensive anyway (aprox. 48.000 USD).

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