DJI Matrice 200 Series VERSUS M600 Pro & Inspire 2

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DJI has released an all new quadcopter series for industrial professionals, the Matrice 200 range. Allowing users to mount multiple gimbals on an aircraft which folds away for convenient transport, the M200 is the next big step in commercial drone manufacture.

There are three versions of the Matrice 200 available, the details of which are listed below:

Matrice 200: This is the basic version of the quadcopter which features an FPV Camera, FlightAutonomy and a Dual Battery System.

Matrice 210: The 210 configuration features the FPV Camera, FlightAutonomy, a Dual Battery System, Universal Ports and Multiple Payload Configurations. The M210 enables you to mount dual gimbals underneath the aircraft and the option to top mount a gimbal for a different perspective. Please Note: You can’t use an upward and downward camera simultaneously.

Matrice 210 RTK: The final model comes with everything featured in the both the M200 and M210 while also featuring an inbuilt RTK system from DJI which, according to the manufacturer, ensures millimetre-precision navigation.

Here are the specifications for each of these models side-by-side:

Matrice 200
Matrice 200
Matrice 210
Matrice 210
Matrice 210 RTK
Matrice 210 RTK

Dimensions (unfolded)

887mm x 880mm x 378mm 887mm x 880mm x 378mm 887mm x 880mm x 408mm

Dimensions (folded)

716mm x 220mm x 236mm 716mm x 220mm x 236mm 716mm x 242mm x 236mm

Weight

3.80KG (TB50)
4.53KG (TB55)
3.84KG (TB50)
4.57KG (TB55)
4.27KG (TB50)
5.0KG (TB55)

Max Payload

2.34KG (TB50)
1.61KG (TB55)
2.3KG (TB50)
1.57KG (TB55)
1.87KG (TB50)
1.14KG (TB55)

Max Flight Time

27min (No Payload, with TB50)
38min (No Payload, with TB55)
13min (6kg Payload, with TB50)
24min (6kg Payload, with TB55)
27min (No Payload, with TB50)
38min (No Payload, with TB55)
12min (6kg Payload, with TB50)
24min (6kg Payload, with TB55)
23min (No Payload, with TB50)
32min (No Payload, with TB55)
13min (6kg Payload, with TB50)
24min (6kg Payload, with TB55)

Gimbal Installation

Downward Gimbal Mount

Supported Supported Supported

Upward Gimbal Mount

Not Supported Supported Supported

Downward Dual Gimbal

Not Supported Supported Supported

Now you’re familiar with what’s on offer, it’s time to compare the Matrice 200 with DJI’s other commercial models to see which is best suited to tackling industrial work.

The recently released DJI Inspire 2 and Matrice 600 Pro have both been welcomed with open arms by drone professionals but now there’s a new contender in the form of the M200. Here is a specs comparison featuring the Inspire 2, M600 Pro and the mid-range Matrice 210 model to demonstrate their respective strengths.

Matrice 210
Matrice 210
Matrice 600 Pro
Matrice 600 Pro
Inspire 2
Inspire 2

Dimensions

887mm x 880mm x 378mm (unfolded)
716mm x 220mm x 236mm (folded)
1668mm x 1518mm x 727mm with propellers, frame arms and GPS mount unfolded (including landing gear)
437mm x 402mm x 553mm with propellers, frame arms and GPS mount folded (excluding landing gear)
427mm x 317mm x 425mm without propellers (landing mode)

Number of Batteries

2 6 2

Weight

3.84KG (TB50)
4.57KG (TB55)
9.5KG (with six TB47S batteries)
10KG (with six TB48S batteries)
3.29KG (including two batteries, without gimbal and camera)

Max Takeoff Weight

6.14KG 15.5KG (recommended) 4KG

Max Ascent Speed

P Mode / A Mode / S Mode: 5m/s 5m/s
P-mode/A-mode: 5m/s
S-mode: 6m/s

Max Descent Speed

Vertical: 3m/s 3m/s
Vertical: 4m/s
Tilt: 4-9m/s

Max Speed

S Mode 23m/s
P Mode 17m/s
A Mode 23m/s
40 mph / 65 kph (no wind) 58 mph or 94 kph (Sport mode)

Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level

2500m
2170R propellers: 2500m
2195 propellers: 4500m
2500m
5000m (with specially-designed propeller)

Max Wind Resistance

10m/s 8m/s 10m/s

Max Flight Time

27min (No Payload, with TB50)
38min (No Payload, with TB55)
13min (6KG Payload, with TB50)
24min (6KG Payload, with TB55)
32min (No Payload, with TB47S)
38min (No Payload, with TB485)
16min (6KG Payload, with TB47S)
18min (6KG Payload, with TB48S)
Approx. 27 min (with Zenmuse X4S)

Motor Model

DJI 3515 DJI 6010 DJI 3512

Propeller Model

DJI 1760S DJI 2170R DJI 1550T

Operating Temperature

-20°C to 45°C -10°C to 40°C -20°Cto 40°C

Gimbals

Compatible Gimbals

Zenmuse X4S, Zenmuse X5S, Zenmuse Z30, Zenmuse XT Ronin-MX; Zenmuse Z30, Zenmuse X5/X5R, Zenmuse X3, Zenmuse XT; Zenmuse Z15 Series HD Gimbal: Z15-A7, Z15-BMPCC, Z15-5D III, Z15-GH4 Zenmuse X4S and Zenmuse X5S

Remote Controller

Operating Frequency

2.400-2.483 GHz; 5.725-5.850 GHz 920.6 MHz to 928 MHz (Japan); 5.725 GHz to 5.825 GHz; 2.400 GHz to 2.483 GHz 2.400-2.483 GHz; 5.725-5.850 GHz

Video Output Ports

USB, HDMI HDMI, SDI, USB USB, HDMI

Operating Temperature

-20°C to 40°C -10°C to 40°C -20°C to 40°C

Charger

Model

IN2C180 MC6S600 IN2C180

Rated Power

180 W 600 W 180 W

Battery

Model

Standard: TB50; Optional: TB55 Standard: TB47S; Optional: TB48S Standard: TB50

Capacity

4280mAh (TB50)
7760mAh (TB55)
4500mAh (TB47S)
5700mAh (TB48S)
4280mAh

Voltage

22.8V (TB50)
22.8V (TB55)
22.2V (TB47S)
22.8V (TB48S)
22.8V

Energy

97.58 Wh (TB50)
176.93Wh (TB55)
99.9Wh (TB47S)
129.96Wh (TB48S)
97.58Wh

Net Weight

520g (TB50)
885g (TB55)
595g (TB47S)
680g (TB48S)
515g

 


MATRICE 200 SERIES VERSUS INSPIRE 2 & M600 PRO KEY FEATURES

Having looked through the available data, it’s clear that there are a lot of plus points to each of these models. The professional drone market has gone from a nascent sector with limited choice to a widely-supported industry in a short space of time and with the M200 range throwing its hat in the ring, it’s becoming difficult for businesses to choose which model is best suited to them.

Read on for more details on each of DJI’s flagship professional models to help guide you towards the right drone for your industry.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

First things first, here is what you can expect to find included with each of the models covered in this article:

What’s Included?

Matrice 200
DJI Matrice 200
  • Aircraft Body x 1
  • Remote Controller x 1
  • Propellers (Pair) x 4
  • Intelligent Flight Battery (TB50) x 2
  • Battery Charger x 1
  • Charging Hub x 1
  • Power Cable x 1
  • USB Cable (with double-A ports) x 1
  • Micro SD Card (16GB) x 1
  • Vision System Calibration Plate x 1
  • Gimbal Damper x 3
  • Propeller Mounting Plates x 1
  • Carrying Case x 1
  • Battery Insulation Sticker x 4
  • Aircraft Body (With Arm Sleeves) x 1
  • Landing Gear Leg x 2
  • Landing Skid x 2
  • Spring x 2
  • Remote Controller x 1
  • Intelligent Flight Battery (TB47S) x 6
  • Hex Charger x 1
  • Inner Foam Case x 1
  • Power Cable x 1
  • RC Charging Cable x 2
  • Micro USB Cable x 1
  • Knob (With Gasket) x 6
  • Tape
  • Battery Stickers
  • Screws
    • M3x5.5, M3x8
    • M3x8 (Thumb)
    • M3x12
  • Manuals
Matrice 600 Pro
Matrice 600 Pro
Inspire 2
DJI Inspire 2
  • Aircraft Body x 1
  • Remote Controller x 1
  • Propellers (Pair) x 4
  • Intelligent Flight Battery (TB50) x 2
  • Battery Charger x 1
  • Charging Hub x 1
  • Power Cable x 1
  • USB Cable (with Double A Ports) x 1
  • Micro SD Card (16GB) x 1
  • Vision System Calibration Plate x 1
  • Gimbal Damper x 3
  • Propeller Mounting Plates x 1
  • Carrying Case x 1
  • Battery Insulation Sticker x 4
  • Manuals

 


APPEARANCE

Heliguy-Matrice_200_VS_Matrice_600_Pro_VS_Inspire_2-Appearance

The Matrice 200 series has been designed to be rapidly folded and easily stored within a purpose-built travel case. Also, a feature which is especially useful if you’re using the M210, the gimbal mounting plates stay attached during transportation allowing you to get airborne within minutes. There’s something distinctly industrial about its aesthetic, with a robust weatherproof design that screams functionality.

DJI have clearly learned some lessons from the Matrice 600’s design, effectively reducing the size and number of arms while adding the ability to mount multiple gimbals (on the M210 and M210 RTK versions at least).

DJI Matrice 200

Introducing the Matrice 200 series

The Matrice 600 Pro is also designed for portability. The ability to fold it down to a smaller size (with a larger folding angle) and quick-release its legs offer more options for transportation which is hugely important for many involved in commercial drone operations. That said, there is a large size disparity which must be taken into account – this hexacopter is by far the largest model featured in this comparison.

Then there’s the Inspire 2. Seeing no need to fix what wasn’t broken, DJI retained the transformable design of the Inspire 1 range. However, they opted for a fresh metallic finish reminiscent of the Mavic Pro. This aesthetic was achieved via the use of magnesium-aluminium alloy to create the shell as well as sturdy carbon-fiber for the arms.

They’re all great looking aircraft but looks aren’t everything. Read on to find out how their levels of performance compare.

 


PERFORMANCE

Heliguy-Matrice_200_VS_Matrice_600_Pro_VS_Inspire_2-Performance

DJI’s Matrice 200 continues their mission of raising the bar of commercial quadcopters. With this in mind, they have made sure that it can perform well in a range of challenging environments. Improved motors and 17-inch propellers ensure stable flight in strong winds while the new dual-battery power system (like that of the Inspire 2) automatically heats batteries in sub-zero temperatures. This is rounded out by an enclosed design for greater weather and water resistance.

Here are the headline facts for the M200 series:

  • 7km Operation Range
  • 38min Max Flight Time (TB55s With No Payload)
  • IP43 Level Ingress Protection
  • 2kg Max Payload Capacity

A range of familiar smart features is included with the Matrice 200 series including ActiveTrack, Point of Interest and FlightAutonomy. This is all easily controlled through the DJI GO 4 app or alternatively DJI Pilot, their Android app for enterprise users.

The M200 series offers the same front and side obstacle avoidance system you will be familiar with from the Phantom 4 Pro as well as additional upwards avoidance on par with the Inspire 2.

Using DJI’s Lightbridge 2 transmission system, the M200 series offers low-latency controls and live feeds from the aircraft. Also, a first for DJI, the Matrice 200 comes with a built-in ADS-B receiver, which automatically provides the pilot with real-time information about nearby manned aircraft activity.

Flight planning will be possible using DJI’s GS Pro and the Matrice 200 series will also benefit from DJI’s soon-to-be-released FlightHub software which they claim will: “Oversee your aerial operations remotely to view live inspections and manage your fleet of drones.”

Matrice 200 Weather Proofing

A new enclosed shell ensures weatherproofing

DJI’s previous Matrice model, the M600 Pro, is a heavy-lift hexacopter which allows users to carry equipment beyond the capability of less powerful models. Useful in industries as varied as filmmaking and industrial inspection, it is surprisingly easy to use – DJI having made full use of its size to pack in intelligent functionality.

The Matrice 600 Pro’s six batteries allow for triple redundancy and increased safety in flight. Managing the batteries is simple when using the included charging hub which allows you to simultaneously charge up the TB47S or TB48S units and get back in the air even quicker.

It also features the A3 Pro as standard which gives it an edge over its predecessors, ensuring more precise control over the aircraft. The antenna mounting position has also been shifted to one of the M600 Pro‘s arms and it offers three more CAN 1 Ports than the first generation.

The Inspire 2 features all the functionality of the Inspire 1 series as well as plenty of additions. It can avoid obstacles both front-facing and upwards which adds to the already solid visual positioning system allowing for a truly intelligent flight experience. There’s also the addition of DJI’s TapFly, ActiveTrack and Sports modes as well as Smart Return to Home providing lots of options for autonomy while you focus on filming or image capture.

 


BATTERY LIFE

Heliguy-Matrice_200_VS_Matrice_600_Pro_VS_Inspire_2-Battery

The Matrice 200 is also compatible with the TB50 Intelligent Flight Batteries which allow for improved portability or, if you’re looking to support a dual gimbal set-up, there’s also the option to use the larger TB55 batteries for increased flight times.

To see how the M200 performs with its wide range of compatible gimbals, see the table below:

Heliguy-Matrice_200_VS_Matrice_600_Pro_VS_Inspire_2-Battery_Life-1000x523

The M600 Pro is compatible with TB47S and TB48S and requires six of them the get airborne. These batteries offer a flight time of more than 30 minutes without a payload and around 20 minutes with a payload allowing you to remain airborne long enough to capture an impressive amount of footage or photos.

The Inspire 2 features dual battery redundancy, increasing reliability and safety in the air. The compatible TB50 batteries are 4280mAh units which feature a built-in 70W self-heating system ensuring that you’re able to film in more challenging climates without worrying about adverse reactions to cold. You should be able to get 27 minutes’ worth of flight out of the Inspire 2 when carrying an X4S.

 


CAMERA DETAILS

The M200, like the previous models in the Matrice range, can carry a variety of cameras making it an ideal tool for industrial uses such as aerial surveys. See below for the compatible Zenmuse models which can also be dual mounted, with an option to place a gimbal on the top of the aircraft for varied perspective:

  • Zenmuse XT: DJI’s premiere thermal solution for professionals.
  • Zenmuse X4S: 20 MP stills with a leaf shutter and 4K footage at 60FPS.
  • Zenmuse X5S: Micro 4/3 5.2K camera with a range of lens options.
  • Zenmuse Z30: 30x zoom camera for industrial inspections.

It’s worth mentioning that despite its support for the X4S and X5S, the Matrice 200 doesn’t come with the same advanced videography features. Footage is dialled back to the H.264 and H.265 formats compatible with the aircraft’s microSD storage. The X5S’ 5.2K recording isn’t available, as it requires the CINESSD system and cards designed for the Inspire 2.

With the Matrice 210 and 210 RTK, you can also access dual payload compatibility which means you can carry two gimbals at once for enhanced data collection. Additionally, you can attach a gimbal to the top of the craft for alternative viewpoints. If you want to use the latter functionality, you’ll need to install an external GPS receiver, as adding a gimbal to the top of the M210 disrupts the internal GPS.

Matrice 200 Dual Payload

DJI Matrice 210 with Z30 and Zenmuse XT

When coupled with the Ronin-MX brushless gimbal, the M600 Pro is able to carry a huge range of camera suppliers including REDs, HASSELBLADs and the Zenmuse range. This includes the Z30 zoom and XT thermal camera gimbals, which offer a range of high-quality solutions to industrial users.

The Inspire 2 is compatible with the Zenmuse X4S and X5S. The former features a 20MP 1-inch sensor and a maximum ISO of 12,800 and uses a DJI-designed compact lens with a low dispersion and distortion 24mm equivalent prime lens with an 84° FOV. The latter is equipped with an upgraded Micro 4/3 sensor, the Zenmuse X5S has a dynamic range of 12.8 stops and supports up to eight standard M4/3 lenses with focal lengths which range from 9mm-45mm.

When using the X5S, Inspire 2 pilots can also access the CINECORE functionality allowing professional filmmakers access to Apple ProRes and Cinema DNG formats after a license is purchased from DJI.

 


WHICH DRONE IS BEST FOR MY INDUSTRY?

These three models all showcase DJI’s commitment to providing high-quality airframes for commercial users but they aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions. Before you decide which drone is best for your industry it’s best to take into account their individual strengths and target market. Here are Heliguy’s suggestions for effective use cases of the Matrice 200 series, the M600 Pro and the Inspire 2.

 

Matrice 200 Series

The most recent Matrice models offer industrial users a great suite of features and compatible hardware to conduct activities such as surveying and mapping. Combined with software like the DJI GS Pro and the upcoming FlightHub, you’re able to program in flight paths that are ideal for undertaking structural surveys or alternatively the creation of 3D models of specific areas and landmarks.

Offering the user access to two sensor solutions at once with its dual mounting capability (M210 & M210 RTK), the potential for greater instantaneous data capture exceeds the other two models. It also contains all the smart features you’ve come to expect from DJI’s product range as well as newly developed weatherproofing for increased robustness.

This durable design and compatibility with DJI’s enterprise range of Zenmuse models also make it a perfect fit for emergency services, search and rescue and disaster relief.

Couple the available functionality with the M200 series’ impressive level of portability for such a specialised commercial aircraft and you get a rig that offers professionals with an intuitive, easy-to-transport rig with a range of potential applications.

Matrice 200 Series

Recommended Use Cases: Mapping, Surveying & Emergency Services

 

 

Matrice 600 Pro

The M600 Pro is a heavy duty bit of kit designed to carry a range of high-quality cameras, not only from DJI’s Zenmuse range but also from industry leaders in sensor technology like RED and Hasselblad thanks to the Ronin-MX gimbal. This means that if you’re a professional aerial filmmaker, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing your equipment.

Aside from its benefits to filmmakers, there’s also plenty of scope for industrial use. Compatible with the Zenmuse XT thermal and Z30 zoom cameras, the M600 Pro is also a feature-rich surveying tool. As a hexacopter, you’re also guaranteed more stability in the air due to increased torque from its six powerful motors and the weight of the aircraft itself.

However, the Matrice 600 Pro is the least portable of the models in this article. It’s a sizeable aircraft designed for larger payloads and this alone may be enough turn some people off.

M600 Pro

Recommended Use Cases: Aerial Filmmaking & Industrial Surveys

 

Inspire 2

Since its launch event on the Warner Bros. studio lot, DJI made it clear that the Inspire 2 was aimed squarely at photography and videography professionals looking for the highest possible quality. When carrying the X5S camera, users are able to access Apple ProRes and CinemaDNG formats via a license from DJI and field tests have shown it to be more than a match for the ARRI ALEXA MINI.

A streamlined, transformable design which is built for speed and manoeuvrability ensures that the pilot (or alternatively an additional camera operator) are never left behind even during high-octane shoots.

However, this isn’t to say that there aren’t industrial applications for this professional quadcopter due to its exceptional level of sensor quality but DJI’s target market for the Inspire 2 has been firmly defined within the visual media sector.

Inspire 2

 

Recommended Use Cases: Aerial Filmmaking & Photography

 


DJI MATRICE 200 SERIES FAQS

See below for answers to a range of frequently asked questions on the Matrice 200 series:

What cameras is the M200 series compatible with?
The Zenmuse X4S, Zenmuse X5S, Zenmuse XT and Zenmuse Z30 cameras.

Does the M200 series feature Obstacle Avoidance & FlightAutonomy?
The M200 Series has a FlightAutonomy system featuring 7 sensors. Its Forward Vision System can detect obstacles 30m ahead and the upward sensors can detect obstacles within 5m. Additionally, a downward vision positioning system supports precision hovering and landing.

What is the difference between the Matrice models (i.e. M100, M200 & M600)?
The main difference between the M200 Series and its predecessors is the closed-shell body design, which adds portability, intuitiveness and robustness. The M210 models can also support multiple payload configurations, an industry first.

Is there a case included with the M200 series?
A purpose-built travel case is included with space for 6 TB50 or TB55 batteries, 2 payload containers, 2 sets of propellers, one controller, one charger and charger hub, a CrystalSky tablet or Apple iPad and a manual.

Can I take M200 batteries on a commercial flight?
Most airlines allow TB50 batteries to be carried onto their aeroplanes, however, TB55 batteries exceed the allotted size for many airlines which could cause issues. To be sure, check with the airline prior to making travel plans. Also, when transporting batteries ensure they are discharged below 30% for safety.

What happens if one of the batteries fails?
The M200 series continuously checks battery status and will notify you through the DJI GO 4 app if a battery malfunctions. In this case, please land the aircraft immediately.

Is there any extra setup required for the M210?
Since the RTK system is built into the drone, you will simply have to fold out the arms and turn on the ground control unit to access the functionality.

How is the upward payload attached?
Follow these simple steps to utilise the upward gimbal functionality: Screw the upward gimbal mount on top of the drone and twist to lock the camera into position. To ensure stable GNSS lock while using this configuration, mount the included GNSS receiver onto the side of the drone.

Is it possible to fly with both the XT and Z30 at the same time?
Yes, when using the M210 or M210 RTK models.

Can you mount a camera upwards and downwards at the same time?
No.

How long does it take to charge the remote controller? How long is the battery life?
The M200 series remote controller is equipped with a 6,000mAh LiPo 2S battery. Fully charging this RC takes around 3 hours. It has a 4-hour lifespan from a full charge.

Does the M200 come with a MicroSD card?
Yes, a 16GB MicroSD comes as standard but it supports SD cards up to 128GB.

Do I need to pair the batteries?
No.

Does the M200 Series support the Adobe CinemaDNG and Apple ProRes?
No.

Does the M200 have Return to Home functionality?
Yes.

Keep checking back to Heliguy Insider for more in-depth VERSUS articles, product overviews and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/02/27/dji-matrice-200-vs-m600-pro-inspire-2/

Heliguy’s Guide to Geofencing

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Intelligent safety features have become a priority for drone manufacturers, especially in these times of rapidly shifting regulations. One of the most widely used features in modern SUAs to combat irresponsible usage is geofencing.

This article will take you through the basics of this solution and take a look at how the biggest drone companies have implemented it into their product range.


What is Geofencing?

Geofencing is a virtual barrier created using a combination of the GPS (Global Positioning System) network and LRFID (Local Radio Frequency Identifier) connections such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth beacons. This boundary is dictated by a combination of hardware and software which dictates the parameters of the geofence i.e. a drone app and an unmanned aircraft.

This technology has been available for years with early adaptors using it to monitor cattle with the help of GPS collars programmed with geographic boundaries that would provide alerts when then livestock left the predefined boundaries. Other uses included (and continue to include) the monitoring of fleet vehicles such as armoured security vans, providing early warning if anything out of the ordinary occurs.

More modern uses of geofencing include ‘Smart Home’ functionality such as your heating turning itself off when your phone pings at a certain distance from your house and back on when you’re heading back.

geofencing dji go app

An example of geofencing in the DJI GO app

Drones use geofencing on a much more focused level, usually to satisfy aviation agency regulations about the use of airspace. Nestled within the default safety features of all modern SUAs, many people will be affected by geofencing without necessarily knowing too much about it.

With reports of ‘near misses’ and irresponsible flying on the rise alongside the popularity of consumer drones, it makes complete sense that we’re seeing more strict applications of geofencing and other smart safety features from the big-name manufacturers.


Existing Solutions

Speaking of large UAV companies, let’s investigate how three of the most recognisable brands in the drone industry are implementing geofencing into their aircraft.

 

Yuneec

Emerging as a potential challenger to DJI, Yuneec recently released their Typhoon H hexacopter which promises a comparable range of smart features to the more recognisable Phantom range (although its imposing size is a bit of a drawback) as well as numerous safety features including obstacle avoidance and motor redundancy.

yuneec geofencing

Yuneec’s visualisation of their ‘Smart Circle’ geofencing

They have also implemented a geofence system which they have stated is ‘in compliance with FAA No Fly Zone regulations’ with a focus on preventing flights near commercial airports.

Their geofencing feature prevents drone operators from flying over heights of 400ft and beyond distances of more than 300ft outwards from the pilot’s position. The aircraft’s GPS also draws a ‘Smart Circle’ 26ft in diameter around the pilot during take-off and landing.

These settings can be altered in the back end of Yuneec’s software if the pilot finds them too restrictive.

 

GoPro

With the Karma’s relaunch dominating the tech press for the past couple of weeks we would be remiss not to discuss how geofencing has been implemented into GoPro’s first aircraft to stop reckless flying (but unfortunately not power failures).

On their site, GoPro describes their approach as ‘a virtual cylinder-like perimeter created by GPS satellites’ and notes that it can be made active both in their Easy Mode for beginners or when flying normally.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the distances vary drastically between Easy Mode being on and off.

When the practice settings are activated the Karma can fly 100ft outwards horizontally and 100ft vertically. This is a useful feature for those just getting to grips with a quadcopter and limits the potential for mishaps.

However, when Easy Mode is deactivated, the aircraft can reach distances of up to 3,280ft laterally and 400ft vertically offering much more freedom to operators.

GoPro’s Karma Controller will issue a warning before the Karma reaches the predefined barriers so that the pilot isn’t caught out.

 

DJI

DJI’s version of geofencing is called GEO (Geospatial Environment Online) and offers users up-to-the-minute information when flight bans or limitations have been applied. This includes large public gatherings, natural disaster areas and other events which warrant restrictions.

GEO’s data also includes sensitive locations such as prisons, power plants and airfields to ensure you’re not in danger of breaking the law due to a geographical misunderstanding.

geofencing dji

Example map showing DJI warning levels

When active, GEO limits flights into or take-off within restricted locations unless you have a verified DJI account and evidence of authorisation which allows you to temporarily unlock these areas. Please note that the unlock function isn’t valid for areas classified as national-security locations.

DJI stress that their GEO system fulfils an advisory role with each user being ultimately accountable for checking local regulations before they fly.

As you can see in the above image, there is a colour coded system advising you of where it’s safe to fly. Here is what each equates to:

  • GREEN – Warning Zone: In the Warning Zone (which may not appear on the map) users will be provided with a low-risk warning message about circumstances that could affect a flight.
  • YELLOW – Authorisation Zone: In these zones users are prompted with a warning and flight is limited. This may be unlocked by authorised users using a DJI verified account.
  • RED – Restricted Zone: The final restriction tier gives pilots a warning that flight has been prevented. If you have the necessary authorization to operate your aircraft in a Restricted Zone you need to email flysafe@dji.com (preferably before you head along to the site) to get the restrictions removed.

 

Other Examples

These aren’t the only examples of companies flocking to geofencing as a safety solution, other well-known names such as Parrot offer the functionality as an option within their app. You’re able to change the parameters and toggle it on and off as it suits you.

parrot drone geofencing

A screenshot of the Parrot FreeFlight Pro app

3DR, although now mainly providing software solutions still offer the Solo which comes with its own brand of custom geofencing which allows you to draw your own boundaries with four points on a map creating height and distance limitations which create a ‘virtual flight cage’ for your aircraft.

This goes to show how important this feature has become and why it’s worthwhile taking the time to research it before you make a drone purchase.


Find Out More

There are a lot of positives to the growing suite of safety features which are becoming increasingly available in SUAs and, as a licensed DJI dealer, we’ve seen the benefits first-hand.

If you would like to talk to our team about how geofencing will affect your flights, what you need to know about flight restrictions or just want to chat about drones you can reach us with the details below.

Email

info@heliguy.com

Call

0191 296 1024

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more information about safety features, advice on existing legislation and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/02/16/heliguys-guide-to-geofencing/

The Most Exciting Finalists from Drones for Good 2017

Drones for Good Banner

With ‘Drones for Good UAE’ ending this week, Heliguy Insider is looking at some of the most innovative and intriguing companies up for the award. With the general public still a bit wary when it comes to using drones in a commercial setting, it’s always good to see schemes which promote them as a force for good.

So, without further ado, here is a list (in no particular order) of the most interesting finalists in Drones for Good and what they have achieved.


Wingcopter

The Wingcopter is a versatile hybrid drone designed to offer lifesaving support in emergency situations. The aircraft has been designed so that it can be vertically launched and landed anywhere. Couple this with a reported flight time of up to 2 hours, a range of 100km and speeds reaching 150km/h and you’re looking at a nifty bit of kit.

The aptly named Wingcopter is a cross between a multirotor and a fixed wing. The company claims that it can switch between these two functionalities in seconds allowing for a versatile approach to each individual search and rescue operation.

Designed to reach the scene ahead of first responders and beam images directly back to the control room, the Wingcopter has the potential to save lives by providing increased levels of on-site information to help teams prioritise their approach.

It’s a great looking machine which can, according to its creators, remain stable in challenging weather conditions and winds reaching up to 50km/h which would make it a robust addition to emergency service provision.


Wireless Drone Charging

One of the most frequent complaints you’ll hear from drone pilots is that they’re severely limited by short battery life. Of course, there’s the option to simply pack a few more but this still involved bringing the aircraft down and abandoning whatever you were doing.

This is something that the Multi-Perspective Constant Aerial Surveillance System from East Hawk is looking to change. It currently has two solutions available: one which uses thin, tangle free power cables known as the stationary tethered aerial robot system but it’s the other option that will have people talking.

Using a ‘3D wireless charging platform’, the solution offers the first ever omnidirectional wireless charging for drones allowing them to stay in the air until the job is done.

As you can see, there’s still a fair way to go until wirelessly charged drones fill the skies but it’s certainly an interesting concept that’s going to turn a few heads.


IntelliDrones

Created to reduce the possibility of human error in the operation of drones in challenging environments, IntelliDrones promises a system which controls a fleet of unmanned aircraft throughout complex tasks.

The main features being advertised are:

  • Automatic flight path planning and optimisation
  • Real-time tracking in dynamic environments
  • Autonomous battery charging by drones
  • Recharge scheduling and optimisation to maximise flight times

Proposed uses for the IntelliDrones system include remote surveillance and monitoring site efficiency for utility services. They’re already trialling the latter by partnering with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, providing them access to their fleet management solution.

UAV companies like DJI already have their sites on similar solutions (just take a look at the Ground Station Pro app) so it will be interesting to see if IntelliDrones can differentiate enough to make their mark in this highly competitive space.


Skycart

Billed as ‘the world’s first fully automated drone delivery service’ Skycart has been developed to help everyone from hospitals to courier services, retailers to restaurants with the reduction of shipping costs.

Leasing their drones for a monthly fee to help businesses tackle the costly ‘last mile’ delivery stage, Skycart’s UAVs offer the ability to provide rapid supply to consumers who increasingly demand instant gratification.

Using autonomous drones which the company claims are around 60% more efficient than commonly used shipping methods, the process sounds very intuitive. When booking a delivery, customers enter their address into the Skycart app; one of their drones receives these instructions and takes over, picking up the package and flying it to its destination for a timely, safe drop off.

Their patented ‘automated transportation system’ combines drone hardware, a mobile application and cloud-based data storage to provide a streamlined solution for both businesses and their customers.

Already having gained a contract with Switzerland’s Swiss Post, Skycart is certainly one to watch. We have previously covered the potential of drone delivery from companies such as Amazon here on Heliguy Insider, but it’s interesting to see the level of competition that already exists in this nascent market.


FINDER

Designed to identify human heartbeats and breathing, FINDER is an accurate solution being advertised for use by search and rescue teams in the aftermath of natural disasters. This isn’t the extent of its potential, however, as there’s scope for its use by border patrol agencies, military scouting and a range of emergency service use cases.

Developed by NASA in their Jet Propulsion Laboratory alongside the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, there is already a great deal of interest in FINDER.

The sensors that detect signs of life are attached to the aircraft’s gimbal and transmit signals which are made viewable to the operator on a tablet device. There’s only a need for a single operator and testing has shown FINDER to be even more accurate than traditional detection methods such as using dogs.

 


You can see the rest of the finalists by visiting the Drones for Good UAE page


 

Contributing Closer to Home

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Having been a part of the industry since RC helicopters were as advanced as it got, Heliguy has grown and developed alongside the drone ecosystem. We promote responsible usage and strive to keep both our customers and the wider community informed as to the positive potential of UAVs in a range of sectors.

We’ve worked alongside and trained numerous police and fire departments, liaised with teams who advocate their usage in search and rescue and gained insights from large companies looking to change perceptions through high profile drone schemes.

With our expanding Enterprise focus, we’re educating and supplying companies from industries as varied as agriculture and emergency services – ensuring that our products and expertise are leveraged to further the idea of ‘Drones for Good’.

Additionally, if you’re looking to pursue a business strategy using drones yourself, it’s worth learning more about our CAA-approved training courses which can help you become a qualified commercial drone pilot.


Learn More

For more information on what Heliguy can offer you or if you just want to talk about the potential of drones as commercial assets you can reach us with the details below:

Email

info@heliguy.com

Call

0191 296 1024


Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider blog for more details of ongoing UAV schemes, how drones are benefitting enterprise projects and, of course, the latest news from around the industry.

 

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/02/13/the-most-exciting-finalists-from-drones-for-good-2017/

NEWS: Drones For NASA, GoPro Re-launch and the Super Bowl

NEWS UPDATE BANNER FEB 2017

February has arrived and with it comes a new set of stories from the drone industry. We may only be in the second month of 2017 but, as predicted, there are already signs that the progress into public consciousness made by both consumer and commercial drones last year is set to continue.

The most refreshing thing to take away from this instalment of Insider News is that it’s all positive for a change!

Read on to find out more about product re-releases, aerial showmanship and how scientists are benefitting from the use of drones.


Super Bowl 2017 Dazzles with Drones

Ascending Technologies, a German drone manufacturer that was acquired by Intel last January, wowed crowds with a synchronised drone display put together for the halftime show at Super Bowl 2017. Having successfully negotiated exceptions from the Federal Aviation Administration, the company released 300 drones to light up the sky during a performance by Lady GaGa.

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Well, we say during… Apparently, this aerial spectacle along with the rooftop section of GaGa’s performance was filmed earlier in the week due to snags in permission to film live, however, it was carried out flawlessly and, intercut with the live proceedings, certainly made an impression on the audience at home.

Using the proprietary Intel Shooting Star drone software, it’s reported that the company can create complex light shows within days. The capability of this program has previously been demonstrated at Disney for their holiday season celebration and this appearance at the Super Bowl is sure to cement the tech giant’s position as the go-to drone display specialists.

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Drones over the NRG Stadium in Texas

The process of creating these aerial images has been explained as follows in the Intel Halftime Show Fact Sheet:

Proprietary algorithms automate the animation creation process by using a reference image, quickly calculating the number of drones needed, determining where drones should be placed, and formulating the fastest path to creating the image in the sky. The light show software also runs a complete fleet check before each flight and can select the most optimised drones for each flight based on battery life, GPS reception and more. The fleet size is dependent on the animation needed and can range from hundreds of Intel Shooting Star drones or even more in the future.

What’s next for drones as aerial entertainment? We’ll just have to wait and see.


GoPro Karma Back on the Market

While things may not be looking so great for GoPro, especially as far as drones are concerned, it seems this hasn’t dampened their spirits as the infamous Karma is now back on the market. The original launch was widely considered to be a PR nightmare for the company as their drones fell from the sky due to an easily avoidable power coupling failure.

GoProKarmaRelaunch

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman

Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman said:

“We’re a little bit embarrassed that it was something as basic as a battery retention issue but at the same time we’re relieved that we can show the world that we do understand drones, we do understand the technology, and that it was an unfortunate mechanical engineering slip-up that led to the recall of Karma.”

After these candid admissions, they seem keen to try and put this in the past, even going so far as to refer to the Karma as part of a future ‘line’ of drone products.

GoPro is currently offering the Karma Core (which is essentially a replacement aircraft) for £349. However, if you want any peripherals (or propellers for that matter) you’re looking at additional costs.

It will be interesting to see how the re-launch goes and we’ll be covering any developments as they occur.


Using UAVs to Monitor Weather Patterns

NASA’s scientists are in the primary stages of developing a UAV capable of high altitude flights which they predict will be able to gather greater volumes of accurate weather data than methods currently in use.

Aside from the obvious benefits for the scientific community, NASA is hoping to leverage this data as a saleable asset – netting themselves a tidy profit from companies looking to purchase this data from them. This is yet another example of innovative use cases for drones in a commercial setting and one which has the potential to improve our understanding of weather patterns.

NasaWeatherDrone

With access to this information, NASA will be able to more accurately determine the optimum conditions to launch satellites, air traffic controllers could make more detailed weather assessments to improve the safety of planes in the air and there’s also the scope to make TV weather forecasts more precise and, therefore, useful.

As these plans have now become public knowledge, it will be interesting to see if this kickstarts a race in the UAV industry with rival companies vying for dominance over this nascent market which, in the world of Big Data, could be very profitable indeed.

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more of the latest news from the drone industry.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/02/07/news-drones-for-nasa-gopro-re-launch-and-the-super-bowl/

Heliguy’s Guide To Drone ND Filters

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ND (Neutral Density) Filters are used to reduce the amount of light which enters the camera to enable a longer duration of exposure. Think of them as a pair of shades for your drone’s lens.

They are commonly used to highlight movement (i.e. taking shots of a waterfall) or to give busy images a softer more surrealist appearance. These filters can also be used to support larger apertures, producing sharper images or a shallower depth of field.

Easy to use and able to produce beautiful imagery, ND Filters are a popular addition to any aerial photographer or videographer’s kit.


ND FILTERS EXPLAINED

In the most basic terms, ND Filters are sheets of semi-transparent glass to be placed over a camera lens to limit exposure. However, they’re a bit smarter than they seem, uniformly obstructing only an exact designation of light which means that the contrast and sharpness remain unchanged. ND Filters have also been designed for equality across the visible spectrum which ensures, for the most part, that unnecessary colour cast isn’t introduced – retaining a neutral feel – hence their name.


CHECK OUT OUR RANGE OF ND FILTERS


Despite their almost opaque appearance to the naked eye, this isn’t an indication of how the photo or video will turn out. Working in tandem with the filters, your camera will compensate and let in more light to bring the image in line with the ND’s stated lighting level.

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PolarPro ND Filters For DJI’s Phantom Series

ND Filters operate on differing levels of ‘f-stop’ reduction which correlate to the amount of light they let into the sensor. This combats excessive exposure and allows you to frame the perfect shot, even in challenging lighting conditions.

 

“The ‘f-stop’ of an optical system is the ratio of the lens’s focal length to the diameter of the entrance pupil.” – Modern Optical Engineering, 4th Ed: The Design of Optical Systems

 

In basic terms, the larger the number of ‘f-stops’ the less light that will enter the lens allowing you greater control over the exposure of the image or footage you’re trying to capture.

To see how the various ND Filter models relate to the level of ‘stops’, see the table below.

 

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When you’re getting up the table towards 16 stops – you’re really looking for something that captures artful long exposures and highly stylised imagery (think ethereal black and white structure portraits or desert vistas).  For capturing the type of footage most associated with aerial cameras, the standard ND Filters you’ll encounter from the main manufacturers are ND4, ND8 and ND16, although there are further options available to up the f-stops which can be especially useful when flying top-line cameras such as the X5S for the Inspire 2.


WHY USE AN ND FILTER?

This section looks at the basic uses for ND Filters, giving you an idea of what benefits (aside from limiting the amount of harsh light to the sensor) they can bring to your aerial photography and videography.

We’ll start with the benefits of ND Filters on a longer exposure which is often used to create a variety of aesthetic effects such as softening, blurring or accentuating motion in your images. For the best results, multi-second exposures are the way to go.

Naturally, this is dependent on the level of magnification, the type of motion you want to highlight and, of course, the effect you’re looking to emphasise. The use of ND Filters will vary from image to image so you’ll want to spend some time getting to grips with the settings and finding the result that works for you.

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Mavic Pro ND Filters

ND Filters can also be used to improve shots with a shallow depth of field in a well-lit environment prone to overexposure. When used correctly you will see a massive improvement in subject isolation and also gain the ability to create a strikingly artistic background blur.

You’ll want to keep in mind that the higher the level of stops (think 9 or above), the better the ND Filter will perform and capture your desired effect in both bright daylight and well-lit areas.


Using An ND Filter

When using an ND filter, ensure that your drone’s camera is set to manual via the DJI GO app and that your desired specifications (i.e. ISO & Shutter Speed) have been applied. Setting the camera to manual ensures that it doesn’t digitally correct the exposure level and, in doing so, reduce the capture quality.

DJI GO App Display ND

Once this is done, you should see a scale at the bottom of the options panel which displays the image’s exposure. As you can see, in the above example it is reading +2.0 which indicates that using an ND Filter (in this case, a 2 stop ND4) would help to level the image lighting.

From here it’s simply a case of choosing the correct filter and playing around with the aircraft’s camera settings until you’re happy with the image transmitted onto your device and ready to capture perfectly levelled footage.

The interface on DJI’s products makes it easy to choose the right ND Filter to minimise overexposure which is inextricably linked with shutter speed, frame rate and ISO. This means that you can use these filters to gauge the correct camera settings and ensure optimum quality for every shoot regardless of the lighting conditions.

It is worth mentioning that they aren’t foolproof solutions and you must take care not to use an ND with too many stops or you’ll end up with underexposed, dingy footage which is as much of an issue as too much light entering the sensor.

Consider taking some time getting to grips with the manual settings on your drone’s camera, with or without the ND (as high shutter speeds can benefit drone photography), and you will be rewarded with a superior end result.

Note: Always power down the aircraft before making any changes to the camera’s lens to avoid damaging the gimbal.

 

Aerial Filming with an ND Filter

Using ND Filters when filming on your drone essentially manipulates the shutter speed allowing you to retain the optimum shutter angle and in turn affect motion blur.

If you’re looking to get cinematic quality from your drone’s camera it’s worth maintaining a shutter angle of 180°. This means you’ll be getting a shutter speed of around 1/50 of a second at 25fps. This strikes a fine balance of footage quality, negating the common issues of jitter and overt blurring to provide truly impressive results.

If the angle is any larger (i.e. 360°), you’ll notice that a strong blur effect carries over between frames making footage of moving subjects appear smudged in places and if it is smaller (i.e. 45°), your video will turn out jerky and stuttery with no blur to smooth the transition of frames often giving the appearance of images stitched together like a flipbook.

ND Filters are popular with aerial filmmakers as they grant you greater control over these settings – allowing you to capture smooth, professional quality footage that makes the most of the unique perspectives offered by drones.


HOW TO GET HOLD OF THEM

Here at Heliguy, we stock a range of ND Filters from both DJI and PolarPro compatible with a wide range of drones and designed specifically for aerial photography and videography.

Mavic Pro Filters Mavic Pro Filters

From £33.00

Phantom 4 FiltersPhantom 4 Filters

From £21.00

Inspire 1 Camera Filters Inspire 1 Filters

From £21.00


LEARN MORE

Our team are available from Monday to Friday 9am-5pm to help you with any queries you may have whether it’s regarding ND Filters, drones or the commercial potential of unmanned aerial systems.

Got a question? Don’t hesitate to contact us via the details below.

Email

info@heliguy.com

Call

0191 296 1024

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider blog for more information on aerial photography, useful peripherals and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2017/02/02/heliguys-guide-to-drone-nd-filters/