Randall Warnas recently parted ways with FLIR, after serving as their Head of Global Industrial sUAS for several years, to become Autel Robotic's new CEO. We've covered some of the drone manufacturer's flagship products in the past, including the first-generation EVO, plus reviewed both the EVO II standard and professional models.

Warnas started his career by running a drone retail store so effectively that it caught the attention of DJI — the world's largest drone manufacturer and currently Autel's biggest competitor. He was hired on as DJI's Enterprise Sales Manager and that division remains the company's fastest growing to this day. While the young CEO is thankful for his time there, and credits DJI for making the industry what it is, he also has some choice words.

Autel’s Evo II Dual drone

'Anything that DJI is doing that people don't like, we're going to do in the opposite way. As DJI is very difficult to build relationships with, we're going to build all the relationships. If DJI is difficult to get ahold of, we're going to be right at your fingertips in every way possible. And I first need to instill that in the existing team. It's a cultural shift.' Notably, respected industry veteran Jon McBride recently departed RMUS to serve as Autel's Head of Training.

'...and now me being in this position where I can leverage all these relationships I have, a customer tells us what they need built, a customer tells us how our support should be run, I have the tools to go and do that.'

'We're not just another drone company anymore,' Warnas adds. 'Autel, for a long time, was looked at as a DJI copycat. Well, our technology has branched off a bit. I would say I was guilty of that between 2016 and 2018 – being, like, "oh it's an orange Phantom." We've changed that. We have technology DJI doesn't have [....] our EVO does different things than theirs does and now me being in this position where I can leverage all these relationships I have, a customer tells us what they need built, a customer tells us how our support should be run, I have the tools to go and do that. And I think Autel is on the rise whether people realize it today...or in six months.’

You'll see us making very significant moves in this drone industry and it's going to be on behalf of the user,' he concludes. Randall elaborates more on a planned sub-250g Autel drone, how he's addressing the chip issue, what the marketing of Autel's products will look like going forward and more in the above episode of PIXL Drone Show.


Disclaimer: The author of this article is a co-host of this the PIXL Drone Show.