Introducing The SLANTRANGE 3P NDVI Camera

 

Heliguy is now an official reseller of the SLANTRANGE 3p NDVI solution for agriculture. Read on to find out how this impressive sensor array can fit into your surveying workflow and also how it integrates with DJI’s product ecosystem.

First off, let’s look at the specifications.

 

Spectral Channels (Vegetation Sensor)

4 Channels

Spectral Channels (Ambient Illumination Sensor)

4 Channels

Processor Type

Qualcomm Snapdragon 801

Processor Speed

Quad-Core 2.26GHz

On-Board RAM

2.0 GB

Detector Type

Si CMOS

Available Spectral Range

410 – 950 nm

Band Positions

Selectable

Shutter Type

Global

Positioning & Pointing

Integrated GPS/IMU with Extended Kalman Filter

GSD @ 120 m AGL

4.8 cm

Recommended Image Overlap

20.0%

Linear Coverage Rate @ 120 m AGL, 20 m/s

1,000 Acres/Hour

160 Acre Survey @ 120 m AGL, 20 m/s

17 Minutes

Available Information Layers

Population Density, Population Size Distributions, Weed Coverage, Stress, Vegetation Fraction, Yield Potential, GNDVI, RNDVI, Red Edge NDVI, Color, User-Defined Smart Detection

On Board Data Storage (Removable)

64 GB (4 hours)

Output Formats

KML, SHP, GeoTIFF

Size (Vegetation Sensor)

14.6 x 6.9 x 5.7 cm

Size (Ambient Illumination Sensor)

8.1 x 3.5 x 1.7 cm

Weight

350 g

Power

11 W @ 9.0-28.0 VDC

 

For more information on pricing or how the SLANTRANGE 3p is applicable to your business – contact the Heliguy team on 0191 296 1024 or email info@heliguy.com.

 


A Powerful Sensor With 4x More Flight Area

The SLANTRANGE 3p was developed around the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor which means that it features powerful on-board image processing and analytic capabilities. Adding to this, SLANTRANGE is aware that costs matter to their customers (drone operators) and, as a result, they have created a multispectral sensor with the ability to survey more acres per flight while maintaining precise results.

 

 

SLANTRANGE 3p’s bespoke algorithms require only 20% image overlap, even when operating in late season row crops. Compare that to 80% overlap required by traditional processing methods and you’re looking at 4x less time and money spent collecting data.

 


Instant Results & Simple Integration

With the SLANTRANGE 3p, there’s no need for network access or high-end computing equipment.

The processing begins onboard, as it carries out its task. Complete, full-product results are available within a just minutes of landing. If your work necessitates operation in areas with minimal network coverage or computing accessibility, or even if you don’t have the time for lengthy data upload processes, the SLANTRANGE 3p is the sensor you’re looking for.

 

 

The SLANTRANGE 3p has also been designed to work seamlessly with a wide range of drones including the industry leading aircraft from DJI. With an integrated sunlight calibration, GPS and inertial measurement units (IMU); the SLANTRANGE 3p can be operated on virtually any SUA. All you need to integrate the camera to your drone is a power source and mounting location. Smart analytics eliminate the need for gimbals or vibration isolation systems meaning that operation is made even more simple.

Please Note: Installation kits are required for certain aircraft – please call us on 0191 296 1024 or email info@heliguy.com to find out more.

 


Always Accurate

When undertaking aerial surveys, accuracy is paramount. It’s the difference between trusting your paid-for measurements left with the worry that subtle changes in the data are actually a result of inaccurate sensors or improperly integrated software. SLANTRANGE has developed a new approach to ensuring measurement accuracy with the introduction of onboard band-matched solar characterization and radiometric calibration.

 

 

The SLANTRANGE 3p‘s design elements run together through its integrated hardware/software architecture to deliver the most accurate measurements available for small aircraft:

  • An integrated solar spectrometer for frame-to-frame radiometrically accurate reflectance measurements
  • Individual lens characterization for precise de-warping and de-vignetting
  • Optimised algorithms for dynamic cross-channel registration
  • Smart Filtering, which selectively samples scene elements to avoid the contaminating effects of background soils, shadows, specular reflections, or other noise sources.

 


Pinpoint Analytics

SlantView is the analytics toolset from SLANTRANGE that analyses raw data from airborne sensors and collates it into valuable information for farmers. SlantView was architected from the start to deliver the highest value information, and that includes two fundamental differences from other analytics packages:

  1. Diverse and customisable information types can be tailored to the user’s immediate needs through advanced computer vision and machine learning techniques
  2. Those information layers can be delivered in a matter of minutes

There are three service levels of SlantView available – see below for what you get with each package:

  • SlantView Lite – (FREE) This default version comes with the 3p as standard with image pre-processing and calibration for analysis with 3rd party applications
  • SlantView Basic – (Contact for Pricing) The basic level comes with all the capabilities of ‘Lite’ plus access to Vegetation Stress maps and multiple NDVI products allowing for as little as 20% overlap and rapid in-field processing
  • SlantView Pro – (Contact for Pricing) This is the complete suite of SlantView analytics tools which combine spectral imaging with powerful computer vision and machine learning tools

 

 

Traditional mapping techniques don’t make sense for agriculture. SLANTRANGE’s algorithms require only 20% overlap, compared to industry standards of 70-80%. That means you can cover a field 4x faster than using similar sensors at similar resolutions. Put another way, your quadcopter system can start competing with fixed wing systems for area coverage.

Uploading gigabytes of your raw data for processing is a costly and sometimes unavailable option. SlantView’s approach to processing is so much more efficient and can be achieved in minutes right in the field. No network connection required. No additional work back at the office. Collect, analyse, and act all in one basic workflow.

SlantView will export your information layers in multiple industry standard formats so you can easily and seamlessly combine all of your data sources in your favourite data management tool for your total field picture (Export formats: GeoTIFF [.tiff], Shapefile [.shp], Google Earth [.kml, .kmz].)

 

For more information on pricing or how the SLANTRANGE 3p is applicable to your business – contact the Heliguy team on 0191 296 1024 or email info@heliguy.com. If you’re interested in reading more about commercial applications for drones and their peripherals, keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for the latest news, reviews and insights.


SLANTRANGE 3p FAQs

See below for a list of FAQs to answer any questions you may have on the SLANTRANGE 3p camera.

 

Sensor

What is the resolution or ground sample distance (GSD) of the sensor?
At 120 m AGL, the resolution is 4.8 cm/pixel. Flying lower provides higher resolution, flying higher provides lower resolution.

What is the pixel resolution of the individual cameras?
1280 (cross-track) x 1024 (along-track), 4.8 micron pixels, global shutter.

Do the sensors have their own GPS and IMU?
Yes. The sensor does not require any communication interfaces with the aircraft. The only required connection is power.

Does the sensor have onboard storage? 
Yes. The sensor includes 64 GB of onboard storage on a removable SD card. This is enough for ~4 hours of flight time.

How do I download imagery from the sensor? 
The SD card can be removed and inserted into a laptop, tablet, or card reader. The images can be transferred and processed using SlantView.

How is the sensor triggered? 
The sensor is internally triggered and does not require a trigger input. The only required connection is power. The trigger rate can be configured using the SLANTRANGE companion mobile app.

What is the size and weight of the sensor? 
3p Size: 14.6 x 6.9 x 5.7 cm
3p Weight: 350g

 

Analytics

Is the SlantView software required? 
Yes. Our sensor and software are tightly coupled to enable the unique capabilities of our system, such as flying at 20% overlap and producing a full suite of maps in a few minutes after completing a flight. However, we provide a variety of export options for both the images and the maps to allow you to use the data in other software tools.

Can you really fly with just 20% overlap? 
Yes! This is our recommended overlap for an average flight; this is not a “best case” or “ideal conditions” recommendation. Overlap can be increased for very windy conditions but 20% should be sufficient for most flights.

How long does it really take to process the data locally in the field? 
The image processing begins on the sensor itself while still in flight. Final processing time on the ground depends on the area coverage of your data set and the processing power of your computer but a typical 160-acre flight will process in approximately 15 minutes on a mid-grade laptop. This is completely local processing with no internet connection or uploads to the cloud required.

Does sunlight calibration really matter? 
Yes! Sunlight calibration allows you to collect accurate, repeatable data under a variety of lighting conditions. Sunlight calibration also allows you to make comparisons of data sets over time, unlocking the true potential of airborne agricultural imagery. To learn more, listen to our podcast on AgFlyers.

What data products does SlantView provide? 
SlantView provides a suite of customised data products to provide accurate, actionable, information to growers, agronomists, and scouts…much more than just aerial images. The current set of data products includes high-resolution images and maps of Stand Counts, Weed Detections, Stress, Canopy Closure, Yield Potential, Red NDVI, Green NDVI, Red Edge NDVI, Color, and User-Defined Smart Detection. We are adding new data products on a regular basis based on feedback from our customers.

What are the computer requirements to run SlantView?
The only requirement is 64-bit Windows. As a rule of thumb, we recommend having twice as much RAM as your largest data set; 8 GB should be OK, more is always better.

What types of file output format does SlantView offer?
Both the individual images and the completed maps can be exported as KML (Google Earth), SHP (Shapefile), and GeoTIFF.

Can I use DroneDeploy to share data with my colleagues and clients? 
Yes. Our GeoTIFF exports are fully compatible with DroneDeploy’s map upload tool. Check out our blog post that provides a step-by-step walkthrough of the simple process. We also offer an app in the DroneDeploy App Market that provides additional features.

Can the data be imported into farm management software packages? 
Yes. All of the data products can be exported as a shapefile, which is the most common file format for use with farm management software packages.

Can I process the data in a software package I already have? 
Yes, but you’ll need to use SlantView to apply all of the optical and calibration corrections to the imagery. Once complete, you can export the imagery in GeoTIFF format and process the data in any other software package. However, processing in SlantView provides significant advantages, including flying at 20% overlap, rapid offline processing, and access to a unique set of valuable data products.
Integration

 

Integration

What drones can I use with SLANTRANGE sensors?
Our sensors are fully self-contained and are designed to be mounted on almost any drone, both multi-rotors and fixed wings. The only requirements are 1) physical space for the Vegetation Sensor and Ambient Illumination Sensor, 2) payload capacity to carry the sensor and 3) input power for the sensor.

How much power does the sensor require? 
The sensor can accept 9 VDC to 36 VDC and typically draws ~11W. Power can be provided directly from the aircraft or with a dedicated battery.

What flight planning software can I use? 
For DJI drones, we recommend DroneDeploy or GS PRO and for PixHawk-based drones, we recommend Mission Planner.

How is the sensor mounted on a drone?
The sensor is typically hard-mounted and does not require a gimbal. For multi-rotors, the sensor should be mounted at an angle to compensate for the pitch of the aircraft while in forwards flight. We sell a variety of simple mounting kits for the most common drone platforms.

Does the sensor require a gimbal?
No. The sensor is designed to look straight down. All of the cameras use global shutters and are thus not sensitive to vibration like rolling shutter cameras. However, you can use a gimbal if you’d like.

What is the recommended flight altitude for the sensor?
It depends on what data you are trying to generate. For early-stage stand counts, you typically need higher resolution and may fly lower than normal. For late-season stress maps, you may not need high resolution and can fly higher to achieve larger area coverage. We provide a flight calculator to determine recommended altitude and flight speed based on the characteristics of the crop you’re flying and the data you’d like to generate. Always check your regional regulations for drone flight rules.

What is the recommended flight speed for the sensor? 
It depends on what data you are trying to generate as well as the lighting conditions. Our sensor includes auto-exposure to prevent blurring and will adjust the exposure time based on lighting conditions. Your flight speed also affects the forward overlap of your images. We provide a flight calculator to determine recommended altitude and flight speed based on the characteristics of the crop you’re flying and the data you’d like to generate. Always check your regional regulations for drone flight rules.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/06/22/introducing-the-slantrange-3p-ndvi-camera/

The Ultimate Freefly MoVI Comparison Guide

 

In the professional gimbal market, there are few companies that can rival the output of Freefly. Cornering the filmmaking sector, it’s not uncommon to see one or more of their products make their way onto big budget TV and movie sets.

Their central line of gimbals is the MoVI series which offers versatility and quality through a number of distinct models. Some are primarily handheld whilst others are able to reap the benefits of an aerial view via compatibility with Freefly’s ALTA drone range meaning that whatever your needs as a videographer, the MoVI has you covered.

This article focuses on the MoVI M5, MoVI M10, MoVI M15 and MoVI PRO. The upcoming MoVI XL and Carbon models will be compared to Freefly’s previous stabilisers once there is more information available.

To kick us off, let’s take a look at the specifications of these impressive Freefly gimbals.

Freefly MoVI M5
Freefly MōVI M5
Freefly MoVI M10
Freefly MōVI M10
Freefly MoVI M15
Freefly MōVI M15
Freefly MoVI Pro
Freefly MōVI Pro

Weight

2.15kg 2.2kg 2.47kg 2.65 kg (without batteries)

Camera Cage Dimensions

130 (L) x 180 (W) x 120mm (H) 140 (L) x 200 (W) x 165mm (H) 203 (L) x 200 (W) x 165mm (H) 196 (L) x 200 (W) x 175mm (H)

Maximum Payload

2.27kg 5.44kg 6.8kg 6.80kg

Power Requirements

9 to 18 VDC (3S or 4S LiPo) 9 to 18 VDC (3S or 4S LiPo) 9 to 18 VDC (3S or 4S LiPo) Use 2 batteries @ 1.8Ah; 22.2V

Connections

Bluetooth connection to Windows / Android GUI Bluetooth connection to Windows / Android GUI Wi-Fi pairing to iOS / Android / Windows GUI 2.4GHz Custom FHSS Radio, Bluetooth Low Energy v4.2, USB Type C

Features

Remotely operable either with a dedicated controller or using an RC aircraft transmitter (hand-held radio controller), Stabilized with operator control via gimbal base (Majestic Mode), Kills drive to gimbal axes, uses a GPS-assisted IMU, Live Wireless Tuning and Graphing, Silent Drive, Shot Recorder, Remote Firmware Updatable Stabilized with operator control via gimbal base (Majestic Mode), Stabilized image with no operator input, Stabilized with remote operator, Kills drive to gimbal axes Stabilized with operator control via gimbal base (Majestic Mode), Stabilized image with no operator input, Stabilized with remote operator, Kills drive to gimbal axes Innovative structural design; Dual Hot Swappable Batteries with status indicators; Integrated Focus / Iris / Zoom controller; Embedded screen for tuning / customization; Increased motor torque; 12-14v 6A D-Tap output for camera power; 12V 2A D-Tap output for accessory power; Ultra fast < 2 Second Boot time; Full stiffness and Filter autotune in ˜10 seconds; Majestic Mode; Timelapse; Dual GPS (top and bottom); Full Red RCP integration (Focus, Iris, ISO, Start stop, etc); Internal long range 2.4GHz frequency hopping radio for connection to MIMIC; Multiple handle options; Rugged System (IP52)

Battery

Dimensions

69mm (L) x 34mm (W) x 28mm (H) 100mm (L) x 25mm (W) x 30mm (H) 100mm (L) x 25mm (W) x 30mm (H) N/A

Weight

125g 200g 200g 306g

Capacity

1.3Ah 2.1Ah 2.1Ah 1800 mAh

Voltage

14.8v 14.8v 14.8v 22.2V (Nominal Battery Voltage); 25.2V (Max Battery Voltage)

Max Continuous Discharge

3C (3.9A) 3C (7.8A) 3C (7.8A) 8-10A

Max Burst Discharge

5C (6.5A) 5C (13A) 5C (13A) N/A

Max Charge Voltage

4.2V per cell 4.2V per cell 4.2V per cell N/A

Minimum Discharge Voltage

3.0V per cell 3.0V per cell 3.0V per cell N/A

Working Performance

Operation Modes

Dual operator and Inverted Mode; Can be top and bottom mounted on ALTA; Cranes; Jibs; Steadicams; Vest-Supported Stabilisers; Easyrig Dual operator and Inverted Mode; Can be bottom mounted on ALTA Dual operator and Inverted Mode; Can be top and bottom mounted on ALTA Ring; Skate; Classic; Aerial; Tero

Maximum Controlled Rotation Speed

N/A N/A N/A
Pan axis: 360°/s
Tilt axis: 360°/s

Roll axis: 360°/s

Range of Motion

Pan Range: 360°
Tilt Range: ±180°
Roll Range: ±180°

Slew Rates: 0 to 150°/sec

Pan Range: 360°
Tilt Range: ±180°
Roll Range: ±180°

Slew Rates: 0 to 150°/sec

Pan Range: 360°
Tilt Range: ±180°
Roll Range: ±180°

Slew Rates: 0 to 150°/sec

Pan Range of Motion: Unlimited
Roll Range of Motion: ±60°
Tilt Range of Motion (Normal Mode): +90° above horizontal to -165° below horizontal

Tilt Range of Motion (Inverted Mode): +165° above horizontal to -90° below horizontal


 


Freefly MoVI Series Key Features

Now that you know what’s going on underneath the hood it’s time to compare what you can expect from the MoVI series in practice. As all of these units have differences ranging from subtle to crucial, we recommend that you take the time to familiarise yourself before taking the plunge and committing to your MoVI of choice.

What’s In The Box?

The first thing you should be aware of is what you’ll be getting from each of these gimbals straight out of the box. See below for a full component list for each of the MoVI units.

What’s Included?

Freefly MoVI M5
Freefly MoVI M5
  • MoVI M5 Handheld Stabilizer x 1
  • MoVI Top Handle x 1
  • Stand x 1
  • Freefly 14.8V 1.3Ah MoVI Batteries x 2
  • Freefly LiPo Charger with AC cord and Charge Lead Adapter x 1
  • M2 Hex Driver x 1
  • M2.5 Hex Driver x 1
  • MoVI M10 Handheld Stabilizer x 1
  • MoVI Top Handle x 1
  • Stand x 1
  • Freefly 14.8V 2.6Ah MoVI Batteries x 2
  • Freefly LiPo Charger with AC Cord and Charger Lead Adapter x 1
  • M2.5 Hex Driver x 1
  • M3 Hex Driver x 1
Freefly MoVI M10
Freefly MoVI M10
Freefly MoVI M15
Freefly MoVI M15
  • MoVI M15 Handheld Stabilizer x 1
  • MoVI Top Handle x 1
  • MoVI Dock x 1
  • Freefly 14.8V 2.6Ah MoVI Batteries x 2
  • Freefly LiPo Charger with AC cord and Charge Lead Adapter x 1
  • M3 Hex Driver x 1
  • M2.5 Hex Driver x 1
  • MoVI PRO
  • MoVI PRO Battery Pack 1.8Ah x 2
  • MoVI PRO Battery Charger x 2
  • MoVI PRO Adjustable Camera Plate
  • MoVI Adjustable Top Camera Plate
  • MoVI Hot Shoe Mount
  • COM to MoVI Controller Receiver Cable x 1
  • MoVI Rod Mount Adapter x 1
  • 2 x Bolt 3/8 – 16 x 5/8″
  • 2 x Bolt 1/4 – 20 x 1/2″
  • 2 x Bolt 1/4 – 20 x 3/8″
  • 2.00mm Hex Driver x 1
  • 2.50mm Hex Driver x 1
Freefly MoVI Pro
Freefly MoVI PRO

Appearance

 

For their MoVI gimbals, Freefly settled on a design that was, above all else, functional. Every unit has been built to be as light as possible while still retaining the rigidity to maximise performance. This means you can move the camera exactly as the shot demands, whether that means running full speed or getting aerial footage courtesy of Freefly’s ALTA range.

A spartan construction of metal tubing and robust camera cages comes from years of R&D, learning how to implement enough versatility and quality into a gimbal to make it the perfect tool for professional filmmakers.

The biggest jump in aesthetics has come in the form of the MoVI PRO which has brought with it the ‘Ring’ which gives operators even greater control over their filming and shot framing while also managing to look rather sleek as well.


Performance

The MoVI M5 offers high-performance stabilisation and advanced tuning settings, allowing you to tune your setup with complete flexibility. This unit offers 360° panning as well as 180° tilt and roll. The M5 can also be used in tandem with the Freefly MIMIC and WEDGE.

With Freefly’s ‘HiPer’ functionality, longer focal length lenses can be used without sacrificing stability. Whether it’s used at an ultra low or ultra high angle, the M5 gimbal performs solidly. Switching between modes is simple, letting you focus on the shot.

Freefly‘s M5 has been custom designed and precisely calibrated, coupling the latest in sensor technology with comprehensive calibration to ensure accuracy. The M5’s brushless motors are built to be the perfect blend of performance and weight and the entire 3-axis gimbal rig has the ability to operate in near silence.

After the camera has been configured on the gimbal, Freefly’s no-tools adjustment allows for quick setup and 3-axis balancing. Lens changes and accessory add-ons are rapid, leaving more time for shooting. This allows you to focus on getting shots like the dynamic, customised time lapse sequences MoVI gimbals facilitate. Aerial shots are also possible thanks to compatibility with the ALTA range.

The control algorithms developed for the MoVI M5 stabiliser utilise a very high accuracy locational system. The GPS allows for acceleration correction when the gimbal is used outdoors and has access to a strong signal. This feature is useful when used on vehicle shoots with sustained extreme accelerational forces as non-GPS aided systems have a tendency to drift.

Freefly MoVI M5

The Freefly MoVI M5

The M10 is designed to easily mount to a variety of aircraft, most notably Freefly’s ALTA series. Combining the gimbal with a multi-rotor allows you to capture amazing low-level aerial shots. Combining 360° panning with 180° tilt/roll, users have a great range to work with as well as the option to tap into Freefly’s MIMIC for even more control.

After the camera has been successfully configured to your specifications, the M10’s intuitive ‘no-tools’ adjustment is perfect for rapid setup and balancing. All necessary lens changes and the fitting of additional accessories is a fast process, leaving more time for shooting and more chance to capture your vision.

Offering an added layer of control, the Freefly Movi M10 camera stabiliser comes with the ability to be operated remotely by a second person. This feature allows one user to focus on framing while the other tackles movement, allowing for unrestricted 3-axis camera movement. With both operators focussed on a single task, the resulting shot can reach its full potential.

As with the M5, the MoVI M10’s control algorithms operate via GPS which allows acceleration to be corrected when the M10 has access to a GPS signal. This is massively practical when fast-moving shots with sustained, high levels of accelerational force are required. This would result in other, non-GPS aided systems to undergo some level of drifting.

The Freefly MoVI M10

The MoVI M15 was designed with professional cinematographers in mind as well as to accommodate larger cameras. It’s intended to be used in either normal or inverted mode, which allows for easy integration onto a variety of platforms. Like the M5 and M10, you’re able to utilise a mobility range of 360° pan and 180° tilt/roll.

The M15 is powered by the same stabilisation technology that was created for the M10 giving you the ability to take faultlessly smooth footage in even the most challenging situations – especially true given its compatibility with the MIMIC.

Built as light as possible while retaining its structural soundness and rigidity, the MoVI M15 doesn’t add unnecessary mass to your list of concerns. When you’re carrying a 15-pound payload around a shoot, the last thing you want is more weight. What’s more impressive about this is that there’s also a full camera cage built into the M15 allowing it to take on demanding cinema setups and keep your camera locked on target, ready to capture that perfect take.

The M15 can accommodate a 15-pound payload. Its quick release pan axis has been designed specifically for heavier gear. A simple flip of a lever allows you to switch the M15’s hand grips from low to high mode. This gives you all the control you need to rapidly fine-tune how the gimbal operates and ensure your shot goes exactly to plan. Custom designed and calibrated precisely – the M15 is compatible with a wide range of sensors. Its intuitive calibration ensures accuracy in every use case.

The range of options offered by the MoVI M15 places you in full control. For example, it features the ability to create custom time lapse sequences. Every parameter within a time lapse sequence can be defined from the Freefly app or directly from the MoVI controller. It’s simple to define your desired start and stop positions and select additional frames to create dynamic motion paths.

The Freefly MoVI M15

Then, there’s the MoVI PRO. With twice the continuous pan torque of the original MoVI units and multiple high-quality MEMS sensors with full calibration (e.g. Cross-Axis, Temperature, Scale, Alignment), Freefly’s PRO unit is available as both an aerial and handheld gimbal.

Floating point processors and high-speed sensors enable 60dB performance at 1Hz while an inbuilt barometer and 3-axis compass for accurate heading information provide reliable and precise altitude estimates.

Sporting custom designed direct-drive brushless motors which offer incredible torque in a such a lightweight package the PRO is capable of a 360° pan/tilt/roll rate & 1000° base motion. Silent sine drive technology controls the pan, tilt & roll axis and sine drive motor controls update motor torque at 32KhZ.

The PRO stabiliser has a fast, reliable CAN bus communication protocol and 15 bit, high-resolution encoders which allow for greater stabilisation and motion control while its online temperature estimation allows maximum performance while protecting the motors from overheating

The Freefly MoVI PRO

The MoVI PRO also offers the following shooting modes:

  • Majestic Mode
  • Auto-tune & shot quality indicator
  • Timelapse
  • Motion control & path planning
  • Auto tracking / follow me mode
  • High Bandwidth Data logging / Visualization / Camera sync

 


Battery Life

 

The MoVI M5‘s 1.3Ah LiPo batteries will (each) run the gimbal for approximately 3-4 hours, depending on the setup. The batteries are sold in pairs and can be easily recharged using included Freefly charger.

Both the M10 and M15 use the same type of battery. These 2.1Ah Freefly batteries are high energy density LiPos and each of them will power the M10/M15 gimbal for 2-5 hours although this is dependant on the setup you’re using.

The batteries powering the MoVI PRO have an integrated over-current and battery ‘fuel gauge’ as well as discharge and charge protection. Freefly designed their PRO batteries to live up to the level of quality being set by the gimbal itself.

If you use Freefly’s MoVI PRO with one of its custom-built batteries powering both the gimbal and a larger camera like an Arri or RED, you can expect a runtime of roughly an hour (the gimbal can hold 2 batteries to help swap in and out while working). Once it has been depleted, a PRO battery takes about an hour to fully charge. However, the batteries are hot-swappable so if you ensure you have four to six of them when heading out to a professional engagement.


Camera Specs

The MoVI M5 was built to handle the most popular DSLR packages and keep the camera locked on target. The wide range of sensors it is compatible with includes:

 

  • Blackmagic: Cinema Camera (4K) [requires specific lens combo], Pocket Camera
  • Canon: C100, Rebel T5I, 70D, 1D-C, 5D MK III
  • Nikon: D4, D800
  • Sony Alpha 99, A7S
  • Panasonic GH4

 

The MoVI M10 is designed as the ultimate blend of size and weight and able to take cameras ranging from a small DSLR up to the most professional cinema cameras.

 

  • Blackmagic Cinema Camera 4K
  • Canon: 1D-C, 5D MK III, 70D, C100, C300, C500
  • Nikon: D4, D800
  • Panasonic: GH4
  • RED: Epic, Scarlett
  • Sony: A7S, Alpha 99, FS100, FS700 [specific lens combo]

 

Freefly’s MoVI M15 is compatible with the following cameras:

 

  • RED: Raven, Epic, Scarlett, Weapon, Dragon
  • Blackmagic: Pocket Cinema Camera, Micro Cinema Camera, URSA Mini
  • Canon: 5D MK I-III, 70D Mk I-III, 5Ds, T5i, C100-500 (MkII), 1D C
  • Sony: A7, F5, F55, FS7, FS5, FS100 & 700 [specific lens combo]
  • ARRI: ALEXA M, ALEXA Mini

 

Finally, the MoVI PRO can carry these models:

 

  • RED Epic, Scarlet, Weapon, Dragon, Helium & Raven
  • Canon C100 (Mk I-II), C300 (Mk I-II) & C500 (Mk I-II)
  • Blackmagic URSA Mini, Cinema, Pocket Cinema & Micro Cinema
  • ARRI Alexa Mini & M
  • Sony F5, F55, FS7, FS100, FS700 & FS5

 

…and also the DSLR & Mirrorless sensors listed below…

 

  • Canon 1Dc & 5D Mk I-IV
  • Nikon D810, D800, D500 & D5
  • Sony A7s I-II & A7r I-II
  • Panasonic GH3 & GH45

 

Please Note: These lists of compatible cameras aren’t exhaustive and are subject to change.


Get In Touch

If you want to learn more about the Freefly MoVI series or any of their other products, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via the details listed below.

Call

0191 296 1024

Email

info@heliguy.com

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog to learn more about Freefly’s latest products, read our in-depth VERSUS series and, of course, stay up to date on the goings on in the drone industry.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/06/16/the-ultimate-freefly-movi-comparison-guide/

Heliguy’s Drone Flight Test: A Visual Guide

 

Heliguy is a CAA approved NQE and runs drone training courses in three UK-locations: Newcastle, Manchester and Farnborough. Our expert in-house training team are there to guide you through every step of the process.

This article takes a look at the final step you’ll take before the CAA submission, a test of your piloting skills and ability to adapt under pressure in real-world scenarios. Read on to get and inside track on our practical drone flight test.

 


Training with Heliguy

There are three main sections to the training you will undergo if you’re looking to gain your Permissions for Commercial Operation (PfCO):

  • The 3-day Ground School
  • The Operations Manual
  • The Practical Flight Test

Once you have passed the Heliguy 3-day ground school and created a fit-for-purpose operations manual, it’s time to showcase your skills in the final practical exam. We receive a lot of enquiries about what this entails and so, to help everyone understand what will be expected, we’ve put together a graphic to walk you through the process.

 

 

This visualisation should provide you with a basic idea of what you’ll be undertaking when it’s time for you to take your practical flight test.

 


Get in Touch

If you want to find out more about Heliguy’s PfCO NQE drone training courses and how you can make money flying drones professionally, our team are available 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday to offer expert advice and dedicated support.

We offer currently offer the following training opportunities:

Started your training elsewhere? No problem, we’re happy to adopt you into the Heliguy training process – enquire here.

You can reach us by phone at 0191 296 1024 or email at info@heliguy.com.

 …

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more information on our training courses, the support we offer and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/06/14/heliguys-flight-test-a-visual-guide/

DJI CrystalSky VERSUS Phantom 4 Pro+ RC, iPad Pro & NVIDIA Shield

Being able to clearly view what your drone’s camera can see from the ground is absolutely essential. Unfortunately, there are many issues that can prevent this from low-quality monitors to overly bright weather conditions. This makes choosing the right device a priority, as a solid monitor can make the difference between capturing great footage or winging it.

This comparison guide takes a look at some of the most popular models of monitors used by drone pilots and seeks to provide you with the information you need to choose the right device for you.

Please Note: This comparison is strictly focused on the aforementioned products’ performance alongside DJI’s product ecosystem. While we will briefly mention the further functionality of the Shield and iPad haven’t written this piece to compare the entire App Store and Google Play marketplace to the DJI GO, GO 4 and Pilot apps.

Before we delve into the functionality, let’s take a look at the specifications:

CrystalSky
DJI CrystalSky
Phantom 4 Pro Plus RC
DJI Phantom 4 Pro+
iPad Pro
Apple iPad Pro 9.7″ & 12.9″
Shield Tablet
NVIDIA Shield

Size

7.85 inches: 208.6 x 147.8 x 17mm (without battery), 208.6 x 147.8 x 34.75mm (with battery)

5.5 inches: 153.76 x 84.94 x 19mm (without battery), 153.76 x 84.94 x 39.6mm (with battery)

N/A
9.7 inches: 240 mm (H) x 169 mm (W) x 6.1 mm (D)

12.9 inches: 305.7 mm (H) x 220.6 mm (W) x 6.9 mm (D)

221 mm (H) x 126 mm (W) x 9.2 mm (D)

Weight

7.85 inches: approx. 425g

5.5 inches: approx. 228g

N/A
9.7 inches: 437 grams (Wi-Fi models), 477 grams (Wi-Fi + Cellular models)

12.9 inches: 713 grams (Wi-Fi models), 723 grams (Wi-Fi + Cellular models)

390g

Battery

7.85 inches: 980mAh 3.7V (built-in battery), 4920mAh 7.6V (detachable external battery)

5.5 inches: 980mAh 3.7V (built-in battery), 4920mAh 7.6V (detachable external battery)

6000mAh LiPo 2S
9.7 inches: built‐in 29.7‐watt‐hour rechargeable lithium‐polymer battery

12.9 inches: built‐in 38.5‐watt‐hour rechargeable lithium‐polymer battery

19.75-watt-hour LiPo battery

Memory

7.85 inches: ROM 64GB + RAM 4GB (High brightness), ROM 128GB + RAM 4GB (Ultra Brightness)

5.5 inches: ROM 32GB + RAM 4GB

4GB RAM +16GB ROM
9.7 inches: 32GB / 128GB / 256GB

12.9 inches: 64GB / 256GB / 512GB

2 GB RAM + 16 GB storage

Processor

N/A N/A A9X chip with 64-bit architecture, Embedded M9 coprocessor NVIDIA Tegra K1 192 core Kepler GPU 2.2 GHz ARM Cortex A15 CPU

Audio

speaker and microphone built-in loudspeaker and microphone Four speaker audio; Dual microphones for calls, video recording, and audio recording Front facing stereo speakers with built-in microphone

Connectors

HDMI, MicroSD card slots,Micro-USB and USB-C, headphone jack HDMI and Micro-SD card slot 3.5mm headphone jack, Nano-SIM tray, Smart Connector, Lightning connector Mini-HDMI with HDCP 1.4 output, Micro-USB 2.0, MicroSD slot, 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack with microphone support

Sensors

Gyroscope, Compass, Light-sensitive Sensor N/A Touch ID, Three‐axis gyro, Accelerometer, Barometer, Ambient light sensor 3-axis gyro, 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis compass

Display

Screen Size

5.5 inches and 7.85 inches 5.5 inches 9.7 inches and 12.9 inches 8 inches

Resolution

7.85 inches: 2048×1536

5.5 inches: 1920×1080

1920×1080
9.7 inches: 2048×1536

12.9 inches: 2732×2048

1920×1200

Multi-touch

Multi-touch display with IPS technology N/A LED-backlit Multi-Touch display, Retina display Multi-touch Full-HD display

Video decoding

4K: H.264 4k 30fps / H.265 4k 60fps 1080p display H.264 video up to 4K 4K Ultra-HD Ready

Connectivity

Bluetooth

Not supported Not supported Bluetooth 4.2 technology Bluetooth 4.0 LE

Wireless

WIFI: 2.4G, 5.2G & 5.8G 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n (HT20), 802.11a, 4G dongle support Supports Wi-Fi Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac); dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz); HT80 with MIMO 802.11n 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi

Cellular

N/A N/A
9.7 inches: UMTS / HSPA / HSPA+ / DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM / EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900 MHz), LTE Advanced (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41), Data only, Wi-Fi calling, Embedded Apple SIM

12.9 inches: UMTS / HSPA / HSPA+ / DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900 MHz), LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 38, 39, 40, 41), Data only, Wi-Fi calling, Includes Apple SIM

N/A

Positioning Systems

GPS/GLONASS GPS/GLONASS
All models: Digital compass, Wi-Fi, iBeacon micro-location

Wi-Fi + Cellular models: Assisted GPS and GLONASS, Cellular

802.11n 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi

Operating System & Apps

Operating System

A customised Android operating system embedded with the DJI GO, DJI GO 4, and DJI Pilot app A customised DJI system (Android system) iOS 10 Android Lollipop OS (Android 6.0 Marshmallow Over-The-Air upgrade available)

Built-in / Preloaded Apps

DJI GO, DJI GO 4, DJI Pilot Popular social media apps and DJI GO 4 Camera, Photos, Messages, FaceTime, Mail, Music, Safari, Maps, Siri, Calendar, iTunes Store, App Store, Notes, Contacts, iBooks, Home, Reminders, Clock, TV, Photo Booth, Podcasts, News, Find My iPhone, Find My Friends, iCloud Drive, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, GarageBand, iTunes U Google Play, NVIDIA SHIELD Hub, Fallout Shelter, NVIDIA Dabbler, Squid, Twitch

Support installing additional third party apps

No No Yes Yes


DJI CrystalSky Vs Phantom 4 Pro+ RC, iPad Pro & NVIDIA Shield: Key Features

There are positive points for each of the above tablet devices. All of them are compatible with either DJI’s GO or Pilot applications and, as mentioned in the introduction, two of them are specifically designed for DJI’s product ecosystem while the other two offer a wide range of functionality beyond piloting a drone.

Exploring the Appearance, Functionality, Screen Performance & Battery Life of these devices, Heliguy’s Insider Blog gives you an insight into which model you should choose.


Appearance

The CrystalSky monitors from DJI are the next level of functional design for piloting drones. Sleek lines and a powerful display screen offer both an aesthetically pleasing and completely intuitive system perfectly suited to DJI’s product range. They have been built to last, designed to be used in challenging conditions and this robustness is evident in their appearance.

DJI’s Phantom 4 Pro+ remote controller will look familiar to anyone who has encountered their previous Phantom range. The key difference is that they have added a 5.5″ integrated monitor which saves you from having to invest in additional peripherals or tablet devices. There is a simplicity to the design of DJI’s products that conveys both practicality and elegance and the Pro+ RC is no exception.

Apple’s eye for design has been part of its products’ major selling points since the launch of the first iPhone. The iPad Pro has continued their march towards thinner, sleeker models offering users the trademark minimalist interface. Available in a choice of a range of colours including the popular Space Grey and Rose Gold varieties, there’s plenty to like about Apple’s industry-leading tablet for those that shop based on looks.

The NVIDIA Shield has been built with functionality in mind. Its standard black casing and reasonably sized inset screen would never be called eye-catching, however, this isn’t the point – NVIDIA’s tablet is an affordable Android alternative to iOS products that does the job. In essence, it looks exactly how you would expect a basic tablet to look.

 


Functionality

The CrystalSky monitors use optimised video decoding to decode video in real-time. An optimised decoder provides smooth, real-time video with minimal latency. Using offline maps, maps can be kept available even if going out of Wi-Fi reach. Equipped with dual Micro SD Card slots, DJI’s CrystalSky monitors’ storage can be extended, or footage recorded on a Micro SD Card can be played back directly on the monitor. It can also be used for footage backups. The CrystalSky series supports H.264 and H.265 video decoding, allowing it to play back these files at 30fps and 60fps respectively. These videos can also be output through its HDMI port.

The CrystalSky monitor’s HDMI port allows up to 4K video to be output to FPV goggles and other display devices. Built-in dual-band Wi-Fi means it can connect to Wi-Fi networks and Wi-Fi hotspots from mobile devices, and it is also compatible with 4G dongles and USB storage through its USB-A port. File sizes are optimised as much as possible to minimise mobile data demands. Onboard Micro USB and USB-C ports make it convenient to connect the CrystalSky series with a remote controller or other devices.

The CrystalSky monitors can quickly connect to the Inspire series, Phantom 4 series, Phantom 3 series (Phantom 3 Professional, Phantom 3 Advanced), Matrice series, and Osmo series (except the Osmo Mobile) over Wi-Fi or via a remote controller USB port, depending on your specific product. Also, CrystalSky easily attaches to the Cendence remote controller without an additional mounting bracket.

Most smart devices are designed to operate in common temperature ranges. The CrystalSky series‘ external battery has been designed for more extreme temperatures. It is able to operate in as low as -4°F (-20°C) and, with its internal cooling system, functions normally in temperatures as high as 104°F (40°C).

The Phantom 4 Pro controller integrates an upgraded Lightbridge HD video transmission system that adds 5.8 GHz transmission support. The ability to choose between 2.4Ghz and 5.8Ghz allows pilots to cut through interference and eliminates image lag caused when flying in an area with extensive 2.4Ghz frequency use. This ensures the optimum range of a maximum video transmission of 7km.

As the DJI GO app is built into the screen, hardware and software can be fully optimised, further reducing video lag. Integration of an HDMI port, Micro-SD card slot, microphone, embedded loudspeaker, and Wi-Fi connection allow images to be edited inside DJI GO to be shared almost instantly. Lastly, a five-hour battery life makes the Phantom 4 Pro+ RC a complete aerial imaging solution.

The NVIDIA Shield is a reasonably powerful and reasonably priced tablet. Built specifically for tablet-based gaming, the Shield has more than enough power to smoothly process and play back the live video stream from DJI’s line of aircraft which is good news for those looking for a monitor on a budget.

However, despite its ability to smoothly playback and stream your drone’s footage, our technicians have noted that the Shield is quite prone to crashing when using the DJI GO app. When using both DJI GO or Go 4 they have encountered app closures which is worth bearing when choosing to go the NVIDIA route. Mainly to ensure you’re conducting safe flights.

Finally, the iPad Pro is a premium tablet which will cost you around double the price of the NVIDIA Shield. However, if the price isn’t an issue we can confirm that you get a lot more for your money as the iPad Pro in terms of functionality. All in all, it’s a much more reliable tablet for drone use when compared to the NVIDIA model.

App stability on the iPad Pro and iOS ecosystem, in general, is fantastic. We have found, on very rare occasions, that the DJI GO app can crash but this is par for the course due to DJI’s constant flurry of updates and add-ons. There’s also the fact that the iOS version of DJI’s app is also always one version ahead of its Android counterpart and will have access to the latest features first.

 


Screen Performance

1000cd/m² (5.5″ and 7.85″ high) and 2000cd/m² (7.85″ ultra) of brightness means that the premium CrystalSky model is approximately four times as bright as typical mobile devices. On-screen details are clear and sharp, and colours are vibrant, giving the quality needed to fine tune image composition. A dedicated Sunlight Readability Enhancement mode is designed for processing the image in real-time to ensure more comfortable viewing under bright light.

A 5.5in 1080p screen integrated with the Phantom 4 Pro+ RC offers 1000 cd/m2 of brightness, more than twice as bright as conventional smart devices. It makes bright, vivid colours easily visible in direct sunlight. With this screen, a mobile device is not required, simplifying pre-flight preparations.

The NVIDIA Shield’s screen has a brightness rating of 383 nits which means that it struggles in direct sunlight. This can be an issue when out in the field with your drone as it makes it difficult to determine where your camera is pointing which can severely disrupt your shots. You can remedy this issue by using a lens hood such as the Hoodman range which allows you to operate the Shield (and iPad) without glare causing you any issues.

At 511 nits, the iPad Pro’s screen performs better in sunny conditions than that of NVIDIA Shield. It’s also a much more useful tool to compose shots and see smaller details when using out in the field. However, it’s worth noting that at around half the brightness of the standard CrystalSky, the tablet does struggle slightly in direct sunlight.

 


Battery Life

A two cell 4920mAh secondary external battery gives the CrystalSky monitors a longer operating time than comparable mobile devices. It supports rapid charging and controls its discharge rate well even in low temperatures. Used with the 5.5″ screen and 7.85″ screens, it can achieve a maximum operation time of 5-6 hours and 4-5 hours respectively.

The Phantom 4 Pro+ Remote Controller features a 6000mAh LiPo 2S integrated rechargeable battery. This means that you can get up to 5 hours of battery life from the unit with the screen in use.

Depending on whether you’re using the 9.7″ or 12.9″ iPad Pro there is a minor difference in battery specification. The former has a built‐in 29.7‐watt‐hour rechargeable LiPo battery while the latter contains a 41‐watt‐hour LiPo. Despite this, Apple claims you can get up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi‑Fi, watching videos or listening to music.

The NVIDIA Shield was conceived first and foremost as a gaming tablet so the battery needed to reflect this with a decent amount of run time. The 19.75-watt-hour LiPo battery that comes with the Shield claims to offer 10-hours video playback time, however, in actuality, you’ll likely get less during continuous use with a drone (this is variable).

 


Get In Touch

If you would like more advice on choosing the right monitor for your drone, don’t hesitate to contact our expert UK team. We’re available Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm to answer your questions via phone: 0191 296 1024 or email: info@heliguy.com.

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more VERSUS comparison articles, insights into drone peripherals and, of course, the latest industry news.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/06/09/dji-crystalsky-versus-phantom-4-pro-rc-ipad-pro-nvidia-shield/

DJI Spark VERSUS DJI Mavic Pro

DJI are marketing the Spark as a ‘drone for everyone’. Packed with all the intelligent features of its predecessors while bringing a few new additions to the table, there’s a lot to be excited about with this new mini quadcopter. However, they only recently released the precursor to this diminutive drone, the Mavic Pro which received rave reviews from users and tech journalists alike.

Will the Spark be able to live up to both the hype surrounding it and the level of quality demonstrated by its larger foldable sibling? Heliguy’s Insider takes a look at both aircraft to give you an idea of which is best suited to your needs.

Before we delve into the main comparison, let’s take a look at the specs of both aircraft:

Spark
DJI Spark
Mavic Pro
DJI Mavic Pro

Aircraft

Dimension

143 × 143 × 55 mm 83mm (H) x 83mm (W) x 198mm (L) (Folded)

Diagonal Size (Propellers Excluded)

170 mm 335 mm

Weight (Battery & Propellers Included)

N/A
734 g (exclude gimbal cover)

743 g (include gimbal cover)

Takeoff Weight

300 g N/A

Max Ascent Speed

3 m/s in Sport Mode without wind 5 m/s in Sport mode

Max Descent Speed

3 m/s in Auto Landing Mode 3 m/s

Max Speed

31 mph (50 kph) in Sport Mode without wind 40 mph (65 kph) in Sport mode without wind

Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level

4000 m 5000 m

Max Flight Time

16 minutes (no wind at a consistent 12.4 mph (20 kph)) 27 minutes (no wind at a consistent 15.5 mph (25 kph))

Max Hovering Time

15 minutes (no wind) 24 minutes (no wind)

Overall Flight Time

N/A 21 minutes (In normal flight, 15% remaining battery level)

Max Flight Distance

N/A 13 km (no wind)

Operating Temperature Range

0° to 40°C 0° to 40°C

Satellite Positioning Systems

GPS / GLONASS GPS / GLONASS

Hover Accuracy Range

Vertical:
+/- 0.1 m (when Vision Positioning is active) or +/-0.5 m
Horizontal:

+/- 0.3 m (when Vision Positioning is active) or +/-1.5 m

Vertical:
+/- 0.1 m (when Vision Positioning is active) or +/-0.5 m
Horizontal:
+/- 0.3 m (when Vision Positioning is active) or +/-1.5 m

Transmitter Power (EIRP)

2.4 GHz
FCC: 25 dBm; CE: 18 dBm; SRRC: 18 dBm
5.8 GHz

FCC: 27 dBm; CE: 14 dBm; SRRC: 27 dBm

N/A

Operating Frequency

2.400 – 2.483 GHz; 5.725 – 5.825 GHz N/A

Remote Controller

Operating Frequency

2.412 – 2.462 GHz; 5.745 – 5.825 GHz 2.4 GHz to 2.483 GHz

Max Transmission Distance

2.412 – 2.462 GHz (unobstructed, free of interference)

FCC: 1.2 mi (2 km); CE: 0.3 mi (500 m); SRRC: 0.3 mi (500 m)
5.745 – 5.825 GHz (unobstructed, free of interference)

FCC: 1.2 mi (2 km); CE: 0.18 mi (300 m); SRRC: 0.7 mi (1.2 km)

FCC Compliant: 7 km

CE Compliant: 4 km (Unobstructed, free of interference)

Operating Temperature Range

0° to 40°C 0° to 40°C

Battery

2970 mAh 2970mAh

Transmitter Power (EIRP)

2.4 GHz

FCC: ≤26 dBm; CE: ≤18 dBm; SRCC: ≤18 dBm
5.8 GHz

FCC: ≤28 dBm; CE: ≤14 dBm; SRCC: ≤26 dBm

FCC: ≤26 dBm

CE: ≤20 dBm

Operating Current/Voltage

950 mAh @3.7V 950mA @3.7V

Supported Mobile Device Size

Thickness range: 6.5-8.5 mm

Max length: 160 mm

Thickness Supported: 6.5-8.5mm
Max length: 160mm

Supported USB port types: Lightning, Micro USB (Type-B), USB (Type-C)

Charger

Voltage

13.05 V 13.05 V

Rated Power

N/A 50 W

Input

100-240 V; 50/60 Hz; 0.5 A N/A

Output

5V / 3A; 9V / 2A; 12V / 1.5A 5V / 2A

Intelligent Flight Battery

Capacity

1480 mAh 3830 mAh

Voltage

11.4 V 11.4 V

Battery Type

LiPo 3S LiPo 3S

Energy

16.87 Wh 43.6 Wh

Net Weight

Approx. 95 g Approx. 240 g

Charging Temperature Range

5° to 40° C 5° to 40°C

Gimbal

Controllable Range

Pitch: -85° to 0°
Pitch: -90° to +30°

Roll: 0° or 90° (Horizontally and vertically)

Stabilization

2-axis mechanical (pitch, roll) 3-axis (pitch, roll, yaw)

Vision System

Vision System

N/A Forward Vision System; Downward Vision System

Obstacle Sensory Range

N/A Precision measurement range: 0.7 m to 15 m; Detectable range: 15 m to 30 m

Operating Environment

Surface with clear patterns, enables diffuse reflection with >20% reflection rate; Adequate lighting (lux>15) Surface with clear pattern and adequate lighting (lux > 15)

Velocity Range

≤22.4 mph (36 kph) at 6.6 ft (2 m) above ground ≤22.4 mph (36 kph) at 2 m above ground

Altitude Range

0 – 8 m 0.3 – 13 m

Operating Range

0 – 30 m 0.3 – 13 m

3D Sensing System

Obstacle Sensing Range

1-16 ft (0.2 – 5 m) N/A

Operating Environment

Surface should be larger than 20×20 cm and enable diffuse reflection, with reflection rate >20% (eg. wall, tree, people) N/A

Camera

Sensor

1/2.3″ CMOS, Effective pixels: 12 MP 1/2.3″ (CMOS), Effective pixels: 12.35 M (Total pixels:12.71M)

Lens

FOV 81.9° 25 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.6 (shooting range: 2 m to ) FOV 78.8° 28 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.2; Distortion < 1.5% Focus from 0.5 m to

ISO Range

100-3200 (video); 100-1600 (photo) 100-3200 (video); 100-1600 (photo)

Electronic Shutter Speed

2s – 1/8000 s 8s – 1/8000s

Image Size

3968 × 2976 4000 × 3000

Still Photography Modes

Single Shot; Burst Shooting: 3 frames; Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3 bracketed frames at 0.7; EV bias; Interval: 2 / 3 / 5 / 7 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 30 / 60s Single shot; Burst shooting: 3 / 5 / 7 frames; Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7; EV Bias; Interval

Video Recording Modes

FHD: 1920×1080 30p
C4K: 4096×2160 24p
4K: 3840×2160 24 / 25 / 30p
2.7K: 2720×1530 24 / 25 / 30p
FHD: 1920×1080 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60 / 96p; HD: 1280×720 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60 / 120p

Max Video Bitrate

24 Mbps 60 Mbps

Supported File Systems

FAT32 (≤ 32 GB)
FAT32 (≤ 32 GB)

exFAT (> 32 GB)

Photo

JPEG JPEG, DNG

Video

MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) MP4, MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)

Supported SD Cards

Micro SD Cards

Recommended: Sandisk 16/32 GB UHS-1 Micro SDHC, Kingston 16/32 GB UHS-1 Micro SDHC, Samsung 16/32 GB UHS-I Micro SDHC, Sandisk 64 GB UHS-1 Micro SDXC, Kingston 64 GB UHS-1 Micro SDXC, Samsung 64 GB UHS-I Micro SDXC

Micro SD; Max capacity: 64 GB. Class 10 or UHS-1 rating required

Wi-Fi

Operating Frequency

2.4 GHz/5.8 GHz 2.4G/5G

Max Transmission Distance

100m (Distance), 50m (Height) (Unobstructed, free of interference) 80m (Distance), 50m (Height) (Unobstructed, free of interference)

Max Speed

N/A 14 km/h (9 mph)

Max Ascent Speed

N/A 2 m/s

Max Descent Speed

N/A 1 m/s

App / Live View

Mobile App

DJI GO 4 DJI GO 4

Live View Quality

720p@30fps, 1080p@30fps (Remote Controller)
720p@30fps (Wi-Fi)

720p@60fps, 1080p@30fps (DJI Goggles)

720p@30fps, 1080p@30fps (Remote Controller)
720p@30fps (Wi-Fi)

720p@60fps, 1080p@30fps (DJI Goggles)

Latency

160-170ms (depending on conditions and mobile device) 160-170ms (depending on conditions and mobile device)

Required Operating Systems

iOS 9.0 or later

Android 4.1.2 or later

iOS 9.0 or later

Android 4.1.2 or later

Recommended Devices

ios: iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPod touch 6, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 4, and iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular. This app is optimized for iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Android: Samsung S7 Edge, Samsung S7, Samsung S6, Samsung S5, Samsung NOTE4, Samsung NOTE3, Samsung tabs 705c, Ascend Mate 9, Ascend Mate 7, Huawei Honor 8, Huawei P8 Max, Vivo X7, Xiaomi 5, MI 3, Google Nexus 6p, Nexus 9, Google Nexus 7 II, LG V20, Sony Xperia Z3, Smartisan T1.

*Support for additional Android devices available as testing and development continues.

ios: iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPod touch 6, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 4, and iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular. This app is optimised for iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Android: Samsung S7 Edge, Samsung S7, Samsung S6, Samsung S5, Samsung NOTE4, Samsung NOTE3, Samsung tabs 705c, Ascend Mate 9, Ascend Mate 7, Huawei Honor 8, Huawei P8 Max, Vivo X7, Xiaomi 5, MI 3, Google Nexus 6p, Nexus 9, Google Nexus 7 II, LG V20, Sony Xperia Z3, Smartisan T1.

*Support for additional Android devices available as testing and development continues.



DJI Spark VERSUS DJI Mavic Pro Key Features

Now that we’ve looked through the specifications of these two small but mighty quadcopters, this article will dig a bit further into what makes them so intuitive and enjoyable to fly.

What’s In The Box?

First things first, let’s start with what you can expect from both products straight out of the box. To give you the most comprehensive idea of what both these quadcopters offer, we’ve included both the standard versions (Spark / Mavic) and the Fly More Combo versions (SparkMavic).

What’s Included?

DJI Spark
DJI Spark
Spark
  • Aircraft
  • Propeller Pair
  • Intelligent Flight Battery
  • Charger
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Storage Box
Spark Fly More Combo
  • Aircraft
  • Remote Controller
  • Propeller Pair
  • Propeller Guards (Pair)
  • Intelligent Flight Battery
  • Charger
  • Power Cable
  • Battery Charging Hub
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Storage Box
  • Shoulder Bag
Mavic
  • Aircraft (Intelligent Flight Battery and Gimbal Cover Included)
  • Remote Controller
  • Battery Charger
  • Power Cable
  • Propeller Pair
  • Gimbal Clamp
  • MicroSD Card (16 GB)
  • Micro USB Cable
  • RC Cable (Lightning connector)
  • RC Cable (Standard Micro USB connector)
  • RC Cable (USB Type-C connector)
  • RC Cable Slider
  • Manuals
Mavic Fly More Combo
  • Aircraft (Intelligent Flight Battery and Gimbal Cover included)
  • Remote Controller
  • Charger
  • Power Cable
  • Propeller Pair
  • Gimbal Clamp
  • MicroSD Card (16GB)
  • Micro USB Cable
  • RC Cable
  • RC Cable Slider
  • Manuals
  • Extra Battery
  • Battery Charging Hub
  • Car Charger
  • Battery to Power Bank Adaptor
  • Shoulder Bag
Mavic Pro
DJI Mavic Pro

Appearance

Featuring an aerodynamic, lightweight design, the DJI Spark‘s sleek design is optimised for minimal wind resistance. The front-mounted gimbal and camera are flush with the aircraft which increases the overall stability of the system. The fact that it doesn’t fold away like the Mavic Pro isn’t much of an issue at all considering that, astoundingly, it is still smaller and more portable than the Mavic’s folded state.

DJI has also given people a choice of colours to further personalise their aircraft. As well as the default Alpine White there is also the option of Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow (these coloured shells are part of the aircraft and aren’t interchangeable so choose wisely!). There will be plenty of demand for this customisation and it shows that DJI still knows how to give consumers a little bit extra.

The DJI Mavic Pro‘s now iconic design incorporates innovative folding functionality. As is to be expected, the Mavic benefits from the solid construction & high-quality materials synonymous with the Shenzhen brand. There’s also an intuitive and ergonomically enhanced controller with dual display ensuring fewer distractions on your device’s camera view.

All sharp lines and metallic grey, you can tell the Mavic is superbly aerodynamic before you’re even seen it in the air. When it’s folded away, you’ll be left wondering how DJI have managed to pack in all the functionality. Then there’s the camera and the optional clear housing which offers protection for the lens and 3-axis gimbal, rounding off the attractive aesthetics.


Performance

For such a small drone, the DJI Spark certainly has a lot of power behind it. 50kph of propulsion means you can expect a steady flight at speeds of up to 31mph in Sport Mode. This setting switches the gimbal mode to FPV by default, so the camera intuitively moves with you as you fly. For an upgraded FPV experience, the Spark is fully compatible with the DJI Goggles.

DJI has also developed an advanced flight control system to make flying more fun and intuitive. Controlled via a custom built RC device, your mobile device or even your hands, the DJI Spark offers a great deal of variety in use. An innovative HD Wi-Fi system allows 720p video transmission from up to 2km away.

The addition of ‘Deep Learning Gesture Recognition’ lets you capture ‘Dronies’ using simple hand motions and PalmControl mode controls the DJI Spark’s aerial movement by hand. DJI’s new FaceAware system means that the Spark can lift off from your hand by utilising face recognition alone. Once it has locked on to you, it can take off and hover within seconds of powering on.

 

The DJI Spark features TapFly and ActiveTrack which have now become DJI mainstays. The mini quadcopter also makes use of a powerful FlightAutonomy system which includes the front-mounted camera, its vision positioning system, a 3D sensing system, dual-band GPS, an inertial measurement unit and 24 computing cores. This allows Spark to hover accurately with VPS assistance at up to 98ft, sense front-facing obstacles from up to 16ft away and also land safely every time.

It’s also compatible with DJI’s SDK (Software Development Kit) allowing you to customise the Spark to fit your needs and makes use of their GEO system which lets you know where drone flights may raise security concerns, such as near airports or stadiums.

The Mavic Pro utilises and builds upon its predecessors (the Phantom quadcopter series). This means that DJI’s ActiveTrack and TapFly, as well as new features like TerrainFollow – which enables the Mavic to intelligently follow you up inclines without crashing – are available in a smaller, more portable package. The fact that the arms fold flush into the drone’s body thanks to some brilliant engineering from DJI ensures that it’s even smaller and easier to transport.

mavic-2

The Mavic Pro also comes with a Sports Mode allowing it to reach speeds of up to 40mph in optimal conditions. This speedy feature has been advertised alongside the DJI Goggles which allow for a VR FPV drone flying experience including the ability to use ‘head tracking’ to control the camera.

As for ease of use, the Mavic has been hailed as one of the simplest drones on the market to get to grips with. While there is plenty of depth available for seasoned flyers looking for an easily portable aerial camera, it’s also ideal for those just starting out with its advanced visual positioning and obstacle avoidance (up to a range of 15m) making sure that your flights are issue free. Pinpoint locational sensors also ensure that the aircraft remains impressively steady even indoors out of satellite range.


Battery Life

The DJI Spark uses a high-energy density LiPo battery (1480mAh) and features 12 intelligent protection features which ensure greater safety during flights. Additionally, the mini drone’s battery can estimate remaining flight times, which offers a heads up on when to land in real-time. Even with all of its smart features, you can get up to 16 minutes of flight with a fully-charged battery, allowing you to capture more footage.

The Mavic Pro is powered by a purpose-built Intelligent Flight Battery (3830mAh) featuring built-in sensors and LEDs that display the status and remaining power. Despite the smaller power source, the Mavic is able to remain airborne for up to 27 minutes which rivals the DJI Phantom 4 and offers you plenty of time to capture all the imagery you need.


Camera Specs

DJI has designed the Spark’s camera to ensure that all imagery us consistently sharp with little-to-none colour aberration and distortion. Featuring a f/2.6 wide-angle lens with a 25mm equivalent focal length, the camera’s five elements are arranged into a single group that fit into a compressed frame. Small and compact like the drone itself, the camera features a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor which allows for stabilised video at 1080p and stills at 12MP.

The use of larger pixels means that the DJI Spark is sensitive to light and can record colours with precision. Keeping the camera in place is the 2-axis mechanical gimbal coupled with UltraSmooth technology which dramatically reduces shake and rolling shutter effects. The Spark has adopted all of the previous DJI shooting modes while adding two new features: Pano and ShallowFocus.

  • Pano: This mode shoots both horizontal and vertical panoramas by automatically adjusting its gimbal and heading.
  • ShallowFocus: This feature uses the DJI Spark‘s 3D vision technology to create photos with a shallow depth of field.

Additional camera modes include:

  • Rocket: The Spark ascends with the camera pointing downwards, capturing the scene below
  • Dronie: This setting makes the drone fly backwards and upwards, with the camera locked on its subject
  • Circle: A self-explanatory feature that circles around the target
  • Helix: With Helix, the Spark flies in an upward spiral around the subject

Featuring DJI’s smallest ever stabilised 3-axis integrated gimbal and camera, the DJI Mavic Pro is capable of shooting in 4K and 12MP with Adobe DNG RAW functionality. There’s also a new ‘Gesture Mode’ which allow you to command the Mavic to take pictures with a wave of your hand and a ‘Tripod Mode’ which ensures that every manoeuvre becomes precise and slow for optimum shot quality.

One thing to note is that you can expect a narrower FOV than you’ll get from the Phantom 4 but far from being a drawback, this ensures a higher level of image quality. There are additional sensors which are refined versions of the P4’s obstacle avoidance solution and the visual positioning introduced with the Inspire 1 range. Utilising these sensors, the Mavic has one of the most stable stationary hovers you’ll see from any drone on the market.


Get in Touch

If you want to learn more about the DJI Spark, the Mavic Pro or any of their other products, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via the details listed below.

Call

0191 296 1024

Email

info@heliguy.com

 

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog to learn more about DJI’s latest products, read our in-depth VERSUS series and, of course, stay up to date on the goings on in the drone industry.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/05/25/dji-spark-versus-dji-mavic-pro/

Introducing the DJI Spark Mini Quadcopter

The DJI Spark is the latest consumer quadcopter from the market leader in drone manufacture. With tonnes of functionality packed into an aircraft that’s smaller than their popular foldable Mavic Pro, this affordable unit is aimed at hobbyists looking to have a great time with a solid platform. The Spark also comes in a range of colours for those of you who like to put a personal stamp on your gear.


CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER THE DJI  SPARK TODAY


So, without further ado, Heliguy’s Insider Blog presents all the information you need to know about the all-new DJI Spark.


Key Features

Before we delve into DJI’s new quadcopter in more detail, here are the main things you need to know about the Spark:

  • Capable of 31mph in Sport Mode
  • 16 minutes of flight time
  • A 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor captures video at 1080p and stills at 12MP
  • Plenty of shooting options including advanced gesture control
  • All the familiar intelligent camera modes are included plus Pano & ShallowFocus
  • Use the Spark’s controller, your mobile device or even hand gestures (PalmControl) to fly the Spark

The DJI Spark Has Landed

Featuring an aerodynamic, lightweight design, the DJI Spark‘s sleek design is optimised for minimal wind resistance. The front-mounted gimbal and camera are flush with the aircraft which increases the overall stability of the system.

A powerful 50kph of propulsion offers means you can expect a steady flight at speeds of up to 31mph in Sport Mode. DJI has also developed an advanced flight control system to make flying even more fun and intuitive.

Controlled via a new remote controller, your mobile device or even your hands, the DJI Spark signals the next generation of intuitive drone operation.

Introducing the DJI Spark

The DJI Spark uses a high-energy density LiPo battery and features 12 intelligent protection features which ensure greater safety during flights. Additionally, the mini drone’s battery can estimate remaining flight times, which offers a heads up on when to land in real-time. Additionally, an innovative HD Wi-Fi system allows 720p video transmission from up to 2km away. Even with all of its smart features, you can get up to 16 minutes of flight with a fully-charged battery, allowing you to capture more footage.

 

Intelligent battery specs are displayed in real-time on your device

 

DJI has designed the Spark’s camera to ensure that all imagery us consistently sharp with little-to-none colour aberration and distortion. Featuring a f/2.6 wide-angle lens with a 25mm equivalent focal length, the camera’s five elements are arranged into a single group that fit into a compressed frame.

Small and compact like the drone itself, the camera features a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor which allows for stabilised video at 1080p and stills at 12MP. The use of larger pixels means that the DJI Spark is sensitive to light and can record colours with precision. Keeping the camera in place is the 2-axis mechanical gimbal coupled with UltraSmooth technology which dramatically reduces shake and rolling shutter effects.

The DJI Spark is a small, powerful & affordable aircraft

 

The Spark has adopted all of the previous DJI shooting modes while adding two new features: Pano and ShallowFocus.

  • Pano: This mode shoots both horizontal and vertical panoramas by automatically adjusting its gimbal and heading.
  • ShallowFocus: This feature uses the DJI Spark‘s 3D vision technology to create photos with a shallow depth of field.

Additional camera modes include:

  • Rocket: The Spark ascends with the camera pointing downwards, capturing the scene below
  • Dronie: This setting makes the drone fly backwards and upwards, with the camera locked on its subject
  • Circle: A self-explanatory feature that circles around the target
  • Helix: With Helix, the Spark flies in an upward spiral around the subject

 

Control the DJI Spark using hand gestures

 

The addition of what DJI has named ‘Deep Learning Gesture Recognition’ lets you capture ‘Dronies’ using simple hand motions. Another step in the direction of autonomy is PalmControl mode which controls the DJI Spark‘s aerial movement by hand. This means that you can leave your remote controller and phone at home and still have the ability to fly the Spark.

  • Dronies: Simply raise your arms, wave your hands, or make a frame with your fingers to manoeuvre the Spark and shoot photos.
  • PalmControl: The Spark can follow your hand movements or even take off and land in your palm.

The new features keep on coming and with DJI’s FaceAware (coupled with PalmControl) the Spark lifts off from your hand by utilising face recognition. Once it has locked on to you, it can take off and hover within seconds of powering on.

 

The all-new Spark controller

 

Switch the DJI Spark to Sport Mode to unleash its 31mph speed potential. This setting switches the gimbal mode to FPV by default, so the camera intuitively moves with you as you fly. For an upgraded FPV experience, the Spark is fully compatible with the DJI Goggles.

Now we’re back in familiar territory, the Spark features TapFly mode which enables you to control your drone with a simple tap of your mobile device. Using DJI’s bespoke vision technology, the drone either flies in the direction of your tap or exactly where you tapped while actively sensing obstacles depending on the settings you choose.

ActiveTrack makes its return and allows the Spark to automatically recognise objects of different shapes and sizes to enable tracking based on what they are and how fast they move. There are two versions of this feature currently available on the Spark:

  • Trace: Track your target from in front or behind, or even circle around it.
  • Profile: Follow your subject from a fixed perspective

The DJI Spark also makes use of a powerful FlightAutonomy system which includes the front-mounted camera, its vision positioning system, a 3D sensing system, dual-band GPS, an inertial measurement unit and 24 computing cores. This allows Spark to hover accurately with VPS assistance at up to 98ft, sense front-facing obstacles from up to 16ft away and also land safely every time.

DJI’s Spark quadcopter is available in a range of colours

 

Like all of this generation’s DJI drones, the Spark can return to its home point automatically. If the battery gets too low, the connection is lost or you hit the Return To Home button, the little quadcopter flies back to a pre-set home point while avoiding obstacles in its path. The Spark’s downward-facing camera also captures images of the area surrounding home point and references these images for a safe landing.


CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER THE DJI  SPARK TODAY


It’s also compatible with DJI’s SDK (Software Development Kit) allowing you to customise the Spark to fit your needs. Finally, DJI’s GEO system lets you know where drone flights may raise security concerns, such as near airports or stadiums. This provides the information needed to fly the Spark safely and responsibly.


GALLERY

See below for all of the available imagery of the Spark from DJI – we’ll be updating you with further blogs and images across our social channels as we learn more:

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The Evolution of Drones as Enterprise Solutions

Any nascent technology must go through a number of phases before being widely accepted as an effective solution. In the case of drones, we’ve seen this play out very openly with rapid progress and excitable media coverage shifting the public’s view of them from a niche hobbyist pastime to a viable commercial tool.

Heliguy Insider is taking a look back at the evolution of drones from their earliest days as small RC units to today’s advanced models used for industrial inspection using the ‘Gartner Hype Cycle’ as a model.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle (in their own words) provides a visual representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities.

There are five stages to this theory:

  • Innovation Trigger: A technology breakthrough gets things started. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.
  • Peak of Inflated Expectations: Early publicity produces a number of success stories — often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not.
  • Trough of Disillusionment: Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.
  • Slope of Enlightenment: More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallise and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.
  • Plateau of Productivity: Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.

Now you’re familiar with the concept let’s run through each stage of the cycle and discover which point drones have reached as of mid-2017.


Innovation Trigger – The Birth of Modern Drones

A few years ago, if you were looking to remotely pilot an aircraft you would be looking at RC helicopters. This all changed when companies such as DJI (previously a developer of flight controllers) began to look at the potential of camera-mounted ‘quadcopters’ which rose to prominence in the form of their Phantom series.

The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ – an early DJI model that inspired many knock-offs and preceded the hugely popular Phantom 3 & 4 series.

Although drones mainly started out as a consumer-facing product, the potential commercial applications were evident from the get-go. Initial drone shots (while by no means as impressive as those possible today) captured peoples’ imagination and the potential of aerial photography without the need for costly manned aircraft (i.e. helicopters) appealed to professional filmmakers.

Initial media coverage was dismissive, still viewing this new generation of unmanned aircraft as more of a fad than a game-changing technological advance. This would soon change as better quality models were released and more commercial applications for drones were dreamed up.


Peak of Inflated Expectations – Partnerships, Investment & Progress

While the mainstream opinion of drones sat somewhere near indifference, investors began to circle drone companies with hopes of getting involved in the next big thing. This led to team-ups such as the ill-fated GoPro-DJI partnership as well as a great deal of money being pumped into companies such as Parrot and 3DR.

This interest and funding allowed rapid progress from the frontrunners, especially DJI whose now famously speedy product turnaround acting as a catalyst for companies to create quality drones of various sizes, power and functionality (quadcopters, hexacopters & even octocopters) with many beginning to aspire towards entering the commercial market.

DJI’s original prosumer drone the Inspire 1 is still popular with numerous industries including emergency services and structural inspections.

There were also companies who took advantage of this time to launch crowdfunded campaigns with lofty promises that they would never have been able to meet. It’s worth mentioning that this has happened again recently with the spectacular failure of the Lily drone. Hopefully, due to the wide coverage of this case, people will learn to be shrewder when supporting suspect projects.

It’s easy to see how people would be drawn in though as this ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ was driven to fever pitch by tech journalists fawning over drone technology and making outlandish predictions about the sky being full of UAVs within the next couple of years. The hype machine was well and truly in motion.

While the majority of coverage in this period was fed by rumour and exaggeration it did have the positive effect of leading to more and more industries (Agriculture, Emergency Services, Building Inspection) beginning to show an interest in the cost saving and safety benefits of unmanned aircraft.


Trough of Disillusionment – Near Misses, Layoffs & Lack of Knowledge

Then, inevitably, we reached the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’ With the growing popularity of drones came the inevitable negative press. Near misses with commercial aircraft and inexperienced users made headlines as drones began to be viewed with more scrutiny.

There were also stories about drones being used to smuggle contraband into prisons which did little to salvage their image. Heliguy helped the police solve one of the first cases of its kind in the UK which you can read more about HERE.

Although it was a rocky few months for drones from a PR perspective, this did provide an opportunity for the UK’s CAA and other global aviation authorities to raise awareness of the existing regulations.

Karma1

The GoPro Karma had a widely publicised battery issue which caused models to fall out of the sky. This wasn’t ideal for the manufacturer and raised doubts about the safety of drones.

The problems didn’t stop with irresponsible consumers, operators began to start offering commercial drone services without much of an idea of full workflows meaning subpar results. Just having the kit doesn’t make people an expert.

Then there was the behind-the-scenes struggle of the manufacturers themselves. A massively competitive market took its toll on a few of the initial success stories such as 3DR, Parrot & Yuneec who have suffered heavy layoffs and GoPro whose first attempt at a quadcopter (the Karma) had to be taken off the market due to critical mid-air failures.

While it sounds like a lot of doom and gloom, there was plenty of progress being made by big hitters such as DJI and Freefly Systems who were confident in their ability to crack the commercial market. Thanks in part to their tenacity, this lull didn’t last long and soon things began to look up for drones as a viable technology for business.


Slope of Enlightenment – New Industries, Smart Solutions & Rapid Uptake

To ensure success for their bold move into the enterprise ecosystem, the big players in the drone market (those who hadn’t been forced to shut up shop) began focussing on making their products increasingly durable, feature rich and above all else, useful to a range of industries. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the future of drones lies in the commercial marketplace and with take-up from huge companies such as Intel (Falcon 8), Amazon (drone delivery) and Google (extensive research) displaying the level of untapped potential – it’s little wonder that market leaders like DJI are trying to gain a foothold in this lucrative sector.

Other companies have sprung up to fill the demand for processing drone data with software such as Pix4D & DroneDeploy offering mapping and 3D modelling services, FLIR & Micro-Epsilon offering both hardware and analysis solutions to name but a couple of examples.

DJI’s partnership with FLIR resulted in the Zenmuse XT – a thermal imaging solution aimed at industrial inspection and emergency service usage.

With easy access to these additional services and more comprehensively mapped out workflows, drone imagery is transitioning from just being nice to look at to business critical.

A quick online search for ‘enterprise drones‘ shows how the scale of the industry has grown exponentially over the past couple of years with everyone from estate agents and wedding photographers to offshore companies and construction firms jostling to gain an edge through drone services. Due to an increased awareness of the required permissions, you’re far less likely to encounter a ‘cowboy’ operator.

A DJI Inspire 1 being used on-site for surveying, benefitting the team through a rapid project turnaround and increased safety.

Speaking from experience, Heliguy trains large groups every month to gain their PfCO as well as fielding calls from representatives of vastly differing industries who want to learn all that they can about products and services to provide exemplary drone services to their clients.

This interest is being backed up by professional-grade gear ranging from larger aircraft like DJI’s Matrice 600 hexacopter and Freefly’s ALTA series to more diminutive but manoeuvrable models such as the Inspire 2 and the Phantom 4 Pro. We’ve dealt with customers using all of these models for commercial work range from wind turbine inspections to search and rescue, getting an insider look as the concept of enterprise drones moved from pipe dream to everyday occurrence.


Plateau of Productivity – The Future of Enterprise Drones

With the successful marriage of drones and data software coupled with a growing pool of well-informed drone professionals, the use of unmanned aircraft for business purposes is beginning to enter the final stage of Gartner’s Hype Cycle.

The DJI Matrice 200 series is the most recent example of DJI’s pivot towards enterprise solutions.

Over the next year or so there will be more developments and increasingly innovative use cases (i.e. drone delivery & medical aid provision) but, more importantly, there will be a greater deal of respect for drones as a legitimate solution for enterprise.


Learn More

Heliguy has been involved in the drone industry since the days of RC helicopters as a retailer, trainer, repair centre and thought leader.

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We offer the support and guidance you need to build and maintain a successful drone business. You can find out more on our ENTERPRISE PAGE.

Our team are available to talk to you about the potential of adding drones to your business model via the following details:

Call 

0191 296 1024

Email

info@heliguy.com

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more insights into the drone industry and the professional use of unmanned aircraft in a range of industries.

 

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/05/22/the-evolution-of-drones-as-enterprise-solutions/