Introducing Copilot: LaCie co-brands with DJI to release a mobile hard drive solution for actual adventurers


posted Monday, January 8, 2018 at 5:00 PM EDT


For quite a long time I and many photographers and videographers I know have been clamoring, nay begging, for a mobile backup solution that wouldn't require a computer to operate. When you’re really out there in the bush and trying to create content, especially with a drone, the last thing you want to do is rely on a laptop or, heck, be forced to bring it to begin with. What we’ve been looking for isn’t a new concept, but for some reason it is an idea that has not seen modernization.

Finally, someone appears to be taking our wishes seriously. LaCie has partnered with DJI to release what they’re calling the Copilot. It’s a hard drive that is an organization-friendly, battery-powered on-location solution for traveling photographers and videographers. It’s decked out with cables and ports to allow for the greatest flexibility in serving its user.

To better paint a picture as to why this kind of a product is necessary, I should probably explain proper drone data handling for those who might not fly themselves. When you put your drone up, you always try to fly with a fully charged battery and always a new memory card. When you pull the drone back down for any reason, you want to immediately pull the memory card and replace it. Any time a drone makes it back to you safely, you want to make sure you get that valuable information off the drone because the next time you send it out, you might not be so fortunate to get it back. Drone piloting is fickle, and crashes are common. The last thing you want is to leave a full memory card with amazing video clips and photos on a drone that you then proceed to lose behind a mountain, never to be seen again.


So with that background knowledge, I’ll now do a better job explaining what the LaCie DJI Copilot does:

Optimize Workflow:

  • Copy data directly from camera or memory card without a computer
  • Integrated status screen provides confirmation data is being backed up (an absolute must)


  • Connect your phone to the Copilot to manage files without a laptop. This isn’t a wireless connection, this is a real, physical connection to your phone.
  • Playback and view content using the app on your mobile phone. That means you can see files come in, manage them, and confirm that they are backed up.
  • You can rename, copy, move, and delete files with the mobile app.

There have been mobile drives made that use your cell phone to manage the data, but it’s often a wireless connection which are spotty, unreliable and frankly slow. LaCie realized this was a problem and rather than build a screen and operating system directly into the drive, they opted for a physical connection to a phone to offer all the benefits of an integrated screen and OS without having to over-engineer their own product.

The Copilot has an integrated SD slot (UHS-II rated) as well as one USB Type-A and one USB Type-C port. Oh, and it also comes with a mobile cable for your phone (three different types to cover all possible phones: Lightning, micro-USB and USB-C). The Copilot works with both Android and iOS devices and the 2TB size can ingest and store up to 30 hours of 4K footage on a single charge. In total, it can store up to 65 hours of 4Kp30 footage and up to 20,000 RAW photos. Its built-in battery power bank keeps the drive operational while also charging your phone when it is plugged in to the Copilot.


With the Copilot, not only can I save data on individual memory cards after flying, but also assure those files are backed up all without using a computer or being forced to head back to civilization before I’m ready.

LaCie padded the drive like their popular Rugged series, packaged it with a 3-year warranty and also with a month free of Adobe Creative Cloud. The LaCie DJI Copilot street price in the U.S. will be $349 and will be shipping in the Spring. I, for one, can’t wait to try this out myself.