DJI's New High Performance Accessories - Tracktenna, Cendence, and CrystalSky

Drone pilots will now be able to unleash the full potential of their DJI products and attain a more personalized flight experience thanks to a stream of recently announced DJI high performance accessories. The new DJI Tracktenna high-gain antenna, the Cendence Remote Controller and the new CyrstalSky monitor are specifically designed to optimize the user experience and take flights to the next level.

New accessories will help users get the most out of their DJI equipment 

New accessories will help users get the most out of their DJI equipment 

For those in professional industries including search and rescue, oil and gas, agriculture, filmmaking and more, these latest DJI accessories give users the opportunity to customize and optimize their equipment for an overall enhanced flight experience.


DJI Tracktenna

Wireless communication equipment needs to have excellent reception, be resistant to interference, and transmit a strong signal over long distances. Typically, the best way to attain a stable bandwidth is to point the remotes antennas towards the drone itself, but in environments with obstacles, movement restrictions, or magnetic interference doing this is not always the most effective way to get the best signal.

Tracktenna can easily extend the transmission signal of DJI Drones including the Inspire 2

Tracktenna can easily extend the transmission signal of DJI Drones including the Inspire 2

Antenna Technology

With the enhanced gain and automatic repositioning of Tracktenna, professional drone operators can now achieve the best signal possible. Tracktenna can attain signals at both 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz frequencies. Signal reception is also 32 times stronger with 100 times less interference, and with the ability to jump between two frequencies Tracktenna can effectively garner the strongest signal possible and compensate for any potential cable power loss. 

Tracktenna

Tracktenna’s full potential is realized when used with DJI’s Cendence remote controller or the Inspire 2, able to transmit data at 10 Mbps within a 2 km range. In situations where long-distance flight is required, Tracktenna has a maximum range of 10 km.

Auto-Tracking and Cendence compatibility

Tracktenna can automatically adjust itself to point in the direction of the user's drone

Tracktenna can automatically adjust itself to point in the direction of the user's drone

Tracktenna can determine the antennas current heading and attitude by using its gyroscope, compass, barometer, accelerometer and GNSS module.

Tracktenna and Cendence

Tracktenna features autonomous repositioning for enhanced signal stability and reduced interference, even if the unit is mounted on a tripod or a vehicle such as a car or boat. When Tracktenna is paired with the data transmitted through a remote controller, it can analyze the positioning of the drone and autonomously point in its direction. 

compatibility and industrial applications

Tracktenna

Tracktenna is compatible with the Cendence remote controller, the Inspire 2 and the Matrice 200 series and can be used to enhance a variety of applications including filmmaking, search and rescue, agriculture, energy and more. 


The DJI Cendence Remote controller

The new Cendence remote controller combines the latest DJI releases including the Inspire 2, Tracktenna, and the CrystalSky monitor into one fully optimized system. With the remotes brand new and innovative design, users can have all the components of their products and controls in one convenient unit. The Cendence controller is compatible with various DJI products but is primarily made to unlock the full potential of the Inspire 2.

The Cendence Remote Controller is optimized for the Inspire 2 system

The Cendence Remote Controller is optimized for the Inspire 2 system

The Cendence controller features five analog control channels and ten customizable buttons to further personalize the user experience with DJI products. The controller features antenna interchangeability so that drone pilots have the option to choose a high-gain antenna or alternatively, DJI's new Tracktenna. 

Complete convenience and customizability

The remote features customizable buttons for more convenient piloting

The remote features customizable buttons for more convenient piloting

Cendence

The Cendence remote controller features two front knobs that can control the gimbal's yaw and pitch. The controllers right and left levers, as well as the Focus Adjustment Knob can fine tune the flight control settings and the gimbal camera unit in real-time. This enables users to conveniently pull the focus or set the aperture. 

Camera Settings and custom control

Users can also make camera adjustments by customizing several buttons for different types of settings or there most frequently used settings. The customizable buttons can be used for a variety of functions including focus peaking, colour waveform, or obstacle avoidance without having to use the app. Users can additionally rotate dials or the toggle of the right or left levers while pressing certain buttons to control camera settings such as shutter speed, ISO, aperture or gimbal roll. 

Dual Operator Controls and Multiple Ports

Cendence dual operator

The Cendence Controller is capable of connecting to a master or slave controller with the Inspire 2's remote or an additional Cendence controller. The Cendence Controller features multiple SDJI and HDMI ports that can stream at 1080p 50fps footage or 720p 60fps footage. With the CAN ports, users can attain a more stable transmission over a long-range by bouncing between both 2.4 and 5.8 GHz frequencies. When Tracketenna is used with the Inspire 2 users can get a maximum transmission speed of 10Mbps within a 2km range. 

Battery Life and compatibility

Cendence can run for up to four hours in ideal conditions

Cendence can run for up to four hours in ideal conditions

Users who operate the Cendence controller can easily detach the battery from the remote and still run the unit for up to four hours. If the user runs out of power they can swap out another battery or charge the controller directly with a power port. The Cendence remote controller uses the same batteries as the CrystalSky Monitors. Cendence is currently only compatible with the Matrice 200 and the Inspire 2. 


the DJI CyrstalSky Monitor

CrystalSky features an ultra-bright screen for easy viewing in bright environments

CrystalSky features an ultra-bright screen for easy viewing in bright environments

The new CrystalSky monitor was specifically designed to be used with the DJI Go App as well as DJI products to give pilots the best view of their footage possible. 

Ultra-Bright Screen

Crystal Sky Ultra-Bright Screen

With the CrystalSky Monitor, users can view their footage even in extremely bright environments. The monitor on Crystal Sky is four times brighter than any other mobile device on the market with a maximum of 2000 cd/m2 brightness. Images are sharp, and colours are rich, so that pilots can have a perfect look at what they are shooting to further fine tune their shots and get the exact footage they envision. The screen additionally features a dedicated Sunlight Readability Enhancement mode which is made to process images in real-time to ensure a better viewing experience in bright conditions. 

Power Supply

The CrystalSky monitor features a two cell 4920 mAh secondary external battery to give the monitor an extended operating time. The monitor can support quick charging and can dependably control its discharge rate even in low temperatures. The 7.85" screen has 4-5 hours of battery life while the 5.5" screen has a max flight time of 5-6 hours. 

CyrstalSky Monitor Power Supply

Extended Storage

Users can extend the storage of their CrystalSky Monitor, or alternatively, footage can be recorded onto the Micro SD Card to be played directly back onto the monitor. The dual Micro SD cards can also serve as reliable footage backups. 

Cyrstal Sky Monitor

More Ports and Networks

The new monitor features HDMI port allows 4K video to be output via FPV goggles or other display devices. The monitor is additionally compatible with 4G dongles and USB storage. 

Weather Resistance

Crystal Sky Monitor

The CrystalSky monitor is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and can operate in temperatures ranging from -4 to +104 degrees Farenheit. The monitor has a battery life of up to 6 hours in ideal conditions with a secondary external battery.

CrystalSky Monitor

Compatibility

The CrystalSky monitor can easily connect to the Phantom 4, Phantom 3, Matrice, Inspire and Osmo series over a Wi-Fi connection or via a remote controller USB Port. It can additionally connect to the Cendence remote controller without a special mounting bracket. 


DJI Announces the New Phantom 4 Advanced

The new DJI Phantom 4 Advanced has just been released, taking the place of the recently discontinued and hugely popular Phantom 4. The latest drone in DJI's iconic Phantom series combines the camera of the Phantom 4 Pro with the obstacle avoidance system of the Phantom 4, offering up a middle ground between the two drones. For those looking to hit the airways with an upgraded camera at a more affordable price point, the Phantom 4 Advanced could be the perfect flying camera to capture your aerial vision. 

The new DJI Phantom 4 Advanced

The new DJI Phantom 4 Advanced


capture stunning video and still footage

Just like the Phantom 4 Pro, the Advanced features a 1-inch, 20-megapixel camera with 12 stops of dynamic range. The Phantom 4 Advanced is capable of recording 4K/60fps vide at 100Mbps at a H.265 compression for amazing slow motion footage. It also features a mechanical shutter to eliminate rolling shutter when users are looking to capture fast moving subjects. The camera additionally features an adjustable aperture so that pilots can easily adjust their depth of field to expand the creativity of their shots.

The Phantom 4 Advances camera is upgraded from the discountinued Phantom 4

The Phantom 4 Advances camera is upgraded from the discountinued Phantom 4


Front-facing Obstacle Avoidance System

Like the Phantom 4, the Phantom 4 Advanced features front and bottom facing sensors to autonomously detect obstacles in its path. This is a step down from the Phantom 4 Pro's complete 360 degree obstacle avoidance system. 

Stunning footage can be captured thanks to the Phantom 4 Advances large sensor

Stunning footage can be captured thanks to the Phantom 4 Advances large sensor

The Phantom 4 Advances features 5 total vision sensors as well as dual satellite positioning systems including GPS and GLONASS. The drone additionally features ultrasonic range finders and redundant sensors, enabling Phantom 4 Advanced to fly as precisely as possible or hover in place without GPS. Its dual-forward vision sensors can also reach 30m in front of the aircraft for automatic braking, hovering, or detour functions relating to objects that are within a 15-meter range. 

The drone features 5 sensors for extremely accurate and precise flights

The drone features 5 sensors for extremely accurate and precise flights


Intelligent Flight modes

The Phantom 4 Advanced features flight modes both old and new

The Phantom 4 Advanced features flight modes both old and new

The Phantom 4 Advanced features all the flight modes familiar to the Phantom 4 plus the latest ones to come out with the Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro. The new modes featured in the Phantom 4 Advanced include Tripod, Trace, Profile mode and more.

In Trace Mode users can easily trace a path for their drone to follow autonoumsly

In Trace Mode users can easily trace a path for their drone to follow autonoumsly

With Trace Mode, users can simply draw a path on their display and have the drone carry out the route. In Tripod Mode sensitivity is lowered, so that pilots can shoot smoother footage or fly more confidently in small spaces. The drone additionally includes all of the existing modes of the Phantom 4 like ActiveTrack and TapFly. 

With ActiveTrack users can have their drone autonomously follow an object 

With ActiveTrack users can have their drone autonomously follow an object 


Flight Time and Range

The Phantom 4 Advanced features a maximum flight time of 30 minutes and a range of 7 km just like the Phantom 4 Advanced. The Phantom 4 Advanced is compatible with the regular Phantom 4 batteries or the high capacity batteries.

The P4A is compatible with both regular Phantom 4 and high capacity batteries 

The P4A is compatible with both regular Phantom 4 and high capacity batteries 

The drone like its predecessors has software that is constantly calculating the drones flight time and range. If the minimum amount of battery life is detected to Return to Home, a warning will appear on your screen. The Phantom's batteries will also discharge automatically to maintain health during long-term storage. 


Remote Controller

Both remote controller options are available with the Phantom 4 Advanced

Both remote controller options are available with the Phantom 4 Advanced

The Phantom 4 Advanced, similar to the Phantom 4 Pro, features a plus version that comes with a remote controller with a built-in 5.5 inch HD display. The screen displays key telemetry data and is 2x brighter in direct sunlight compared to any other mobile device. 


Live Frequency

The recently released Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro both feature the option to switch between 2.4 Ghz and 5.8 Ghz for a stronger signal and reduced interference. The Phantom 4 Advanced only supports the 2.4 Ghz bandwidth. 


Ready to launch

A new drone hitting the airways

A new drone hitting the airways

The highlight of the Phantom 4 Advanced is the 1-inch, 20-megapixel camera that delivers footage with incredibly high resolution and rich colour. The Phantom 4 Advanced is a slightly more affordable option for those who want the power of the P4Pro's camera and don't feel the need to have a full 360 obstacle avoidance system. Along with the camera and new intelligent flight modes, drone pilots will appreciate the drone's 30 minute flight time and 7 km range. If you are looking for professional level footage that won't break the bank, the Phantom 4 Advanced is the perfect happy medium that is ready to launch.

How DJI Dominated the Drone World

The consumer drone industry has quickly taken flight around the world and has been forecasted to grow into as much as a $127 billion market by 2020, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In such a fast-paced and competitive field no other company has been able to reach the level of DJI, a Hong-Kong based drone manufacturer that has dominated the market thanks to their smart business strategy and ability to push the limits of innovation.

DJI's streamlined, user-friendly drones have dominated the UAV world. 

DJI's streamlined, user-friendly drones have dominated the UAV world. 

Currently, the company controls approximately 75% of the consumer drone market and just last year, released a flood of new and innovative drones including the Phantom 4, the Inspire 2, the Phantom 4 Pro, and the Mavic Pro. With their ability to consistently release high-quality, user-friendly products while other companies large and small struggle to release just one, DJI has proven that they are their own biggest competition.

DJi's first person view goggles will be released end of May 2017

DJi's first person view goggles will be released end of May 2017


Early Breakthroughs and Constant INnovation

DJI has often been described as the Apple of the drone world due to their sleekly designed, user-friendly products and widespread popularity amongst both recreational and commercial users alike.

DJI's Phantom series is popularly sought after due to their ease-of-use and clean design

DJI's Phantom series is popularly sought after due to their ease-of-use and clean design

Their products have set the standard for UAV technology in industries around the world including film, construction, search and rescue and more, and their success can be attributed to their relentless ambition to push the technology forward unlike any other company in the industry.

DJI announced the new Matrice 200 series, specifically made for those in the commercial sector to conduct aerial inspections and collect data efficiently and effectively

DJI announced the new Matrice 200 series, specifically made for those in the commercial sector to conduct aerial inspections and collect data efficiently and effectively

DJI Lightbridge 1

DJI Lightbridge 1

Lightbridge Technology

One of DJI’s earliest breakthroughs was the creation of their innovative Lightbridge system. This revolutionary technology completely changed the landscape of the drone industry, and made it possible for users today to view a live-stream of their UAV footage.

Before DJI’s Lightbridge technology, there was little hope for aerial video and photography as users could not view what the drone was shooting. A drones video feed did not have the long range that it has today, and without the ability to view footage being shot by the drone the industry was greatly held back.

Users can perfect their shots thanks to DJI's Lightbridge technology 

Users can perfect their shots thanks to DJI's Lightbridge technology 

With DJI’s ground breaking Lightbridge system drone users for the first time could view a live-stream of their footage in high-quality detail in contrast to composite HD video, ultimately giving pilots the ability to perfect their footage during flight.

DJI Lightbridge 2

DJI Lightbridge 2

The system worked by compressing video signals and sending them over radio frequencies while simultaneously jumping between different radio channels. This enabled DJI drones to have a live-stream feed that was far more advanced than any other feed before it, thereby pushing DJI leaps and bounds ahead of the industry. 

Self-Diagnosing Software

Another revolutionary technology created by DJI was its revolutionary self-diagnosing software. In the early days of the drone industry, drones were only able to communicate problems or defects through blinking, flashing or coloured lights. Users would have to memorize these patterns and colours in order to know what was wrong with their drone. This greatly held back the advancement of the technology because pilots would only discover an issue after it was too late to fix or once they unfortunately experienced a crash. 

Self-Diagnosing software ensures safe and reliable flights 

Self-Diagnosing software ensures safe and reliable flights 

Thanks to DJI's self-diagnosing software the DJI Go App was able to automatically test all of the components of the drone and alert the user. Drone pilots know longer had to rely on the memorization of different coloured lights, and could effectively maintain their drone to prevent damage in the future. This technology overall made DJI products much more reliable and user-friendly.  

GPS System

Yet another revolutionary technology that DJI brought to the table was their advanced GPS technology. Before GPS systems were successfully integrated into drones, pilots could only depend on visual tracking to determine their drones position and orientation. Users had to constantly maneuver their controller sticks to maintain the position of their drone. 

 D-RTK is a high precision navigation and positioning system designed for DJI A3 series flight controllers.

 D-RTK is a high precision navigation and positioning system designed for DJI A3 series flight controllers.

Today, most of the advanced and autonomous features of a drone depend on the use of a GPS drone system. These features include flight modes like Return to Home, Waypoints, and any type of autonomous flight. Thanks to DJI's successful integration of GPS in their drones, pilots could better rely on their drones to keep position in the air for a more accurate and precise flight experience.


Savvy Business Strategy

Since DJI’s inception, the company has notoriously been known for smart business decisions that have enabled them to out compete other companies in the market. In its very earliest stages as a start-up in CEO Frank Wang's student dormitory, the aggressive pursuit of innovation and investment in research and development was always emphasized. Today, DJI is estimated to be worth $10 billion, and according to Frost & Sullivan, sales by DJI have either tripled or quadrupled every year since 2009.

Inspire 2

DJI's business strategy from the beginning has been to further advance the technology by heavily investing in research and development to create the highest quality products at a fair price. By consistently releasing the best products available on the market at a fast rate, DJI has managed to sell massive amounts of merchandise and lower their prices, virtually enabling them to reign over the market. 

Matrice 200

One of DJI's greatest strengths is their understanding that to be the best you must hire the best. Throughout the years DJI has placed very high value on hiring the best talent and best engineers they can find. Thanks to this belief, they have managed to create revolutionary products and rise to the top of the pack. DJI has infamously been known to push workers to their limits, a work-ethic that stems from Frank Wang's own personal drive and ambition to always stay one step ahead of his competitors. The company has been known to actively poach talent from other companies.DJI even created a competition called Robomasters, in which engineers design robots to compete head to head, with DJI's main objective of the competition being to scout the top talent of the industry. 

Photo courtesy of The Verge

Photo courtesy of The Verge


Becoming their own biggest competition

In the time that it takes other companies to release a single drone, DJI is able to release more than one at a better price with better technology. With so many other UAV companies today announcing job cuts and even total shutdowns, the dominance of DJI has made the world of drones a tough place to survive in for anyone that isn't DJI. 

DJI has been known to consitantly innovate and improve their own products 

DJI has been known to consitantly innovate and improve their own products 

Many companies large and small have tried to break into the industry and find a place in the UAV market. From large corporate tech giants such as Lockheed Martin, Sony, and GoPro to smaller start-ups, many companies have attempted to grab a slice of the market but none have managed to release a drone at the level of DJI's products. 

One American Company named 3D Robotics, raised over a $100 million in its inception and claimed that they would be the first drone company to truly compete with DJI. With the announcement of their first release, the Solo, 3DR’s first drone was challenged with glitches and delays that ultimately proved to fall short, especially after the release of DJI’s Phantom 3 drone which completely took over the market and became one of the most sought after drones in the industry to date. 

Another drone company named Yuneec also tried to compete, attempting to differentiate themselves from DJI with their Yuneec Typhoon H hexacopter drone. Thought the drone came with a variety of features, the price and drone itself  was not enough to compete with the price and performance of any DJI drones. 

The GoPro Karma

The GoPro Karma

On the other end, camera giant GoPro announced that they too would be releasing a drone that they had been working on for over two years. Their Karma drone was highly anticipated however the release was met with delays and a PR nightmare after their drones began to malfunction and fall out the sky while in flight. This significantly hurt their sales and reputation in the UAV marketplace. 


branching out

Another key component of DJI’s success was their focus on perfecting aerial cameras while also branching out into other sectors of the tech market.

DJI Osmo

While all the other competitors were using GoPro type action cameras in the early days of the industry, DJI realized the importance of  developing their own aerial camera systems that were optimized for their own drones. DJI heavily invested into the research and development of their customized DJI Zenmuse camera series which included aerial cameras for drones as well as handheld gimbal and camera systems called the DJI Osmo series.

Left to Right: The Zenmuse X3, Z3, X5, X5R, XT

Left to Right: The Zenmuse X3, Z3, X5, X5R, XT

They also invested in the 3-Axis stabilized handheld gimbal system called the Ronin series, specifically designed for professional filmmakers. With the cross promotion of their cameras, gimbals and drones DJI was able to push themselves above everyone else in the market and enabled them to be recognized for their potential beyond just drones. 

The new DJI Ronin 2 was specifically designed for professional filmmaking

The new DJI Ronin 2 was specifically designed for professional filmmaking

DJI has made a number of recent power moves to extend their reach beyond the drone industry and into the camera sector. Most recently they have bought out the camera company Hasselblad, and partnered with thermal camera giant FLIR. Their partnership with FLIR has led to the development of their very first fully integrated thermal imaging system. The very first thermal camera system that users could completely control from the ground which has revolutionzed many commercial sectors including search and rescue, law enforcement, agriculture and more. 


Looking Ahead

In recent years, DJI has taken steps to dominate not just the drone industry. With thousands of employees and capital at their disposal, the company has begun to take full advantage of the opportunities in front of them. Their handheld gimbal systems have now risen in popularity in the professional filmmaking sector, and they are now additionally branching out into other spaces including computer vision and artificial intelligence.

DJI recently announced their latest drone in the Phantom series, the Phantom 4 Advanced

DJI recently announced their latest drone in the Phantom series, the Phantom 4 Advanced

Due to DJI’s minimalistic designs, user-friendly controls, innovative technology and ready-to-fly reliable systems, DJI products have grown to become the standard in camera and aerial flight systems around the world. By constantly pushing technology forward, and never settling, DJI has distanced themselves so far from the rest of the pack, that they are now just competing with themselves.

DJI Mavic Pro

Presently, DJI is confident that revenue will hit the $10 billion mark in 2017. With a great business model and the highest quality tech on the market, there is no arguing that DJI has solidified their place as the most dominating force in the UAV market. 

The Future of Commercial Inspections: DJI Matrice 200

With the popularity of drone technology in the commercial sector skyrocketing, DJI has announced the new Matrice 200 drone series (M200) which is specifically made for those in the commercial sector looking to perform aerial inspections and collect data in the most cost-effective, efficient and user-friendly way possible. 

The new M200 series is designed for industrial usage whether it be building and bridge inspections, search and rescue missions, or agricultural surveying and analyzation. It is built to be as easy to use as possible, as well as to be resistant to strong weather conditions. 

The Matrice 200 has been specificalyl designed for professional industrial use

The Matrice 200 has been specificalyl designed for professional industrial use

A big difference between the M200 and the other drones in the Matrice series is its closed-shell foldable body, making the drone extremely easy to transport. The drone is also equipped with multiple payload configurations, something never before seen on any other drone in the market. 

The Matrice 200 series will come in three versions. The first being the M200, which will be equipped with one downward-facing gimbal mount.

The M200 is built to be used for industrial applications

The M200 is built to be used for industrial applications

The M210 will have the ability to be equipped with multiple payloads. With the M210 users can equip their drone with one single downward facing gimbal mount, two parallel downward-facing mounts, or one upward-facing mount. The M210 will also feature more connection ports to support third party sensors or accessories.

Two different cameras can be attached to the Matrice 210

Two different cameras can be attached to the Matrice 210

Finally, the M210 RTK will feature D-RTK modules for extremely accurate, centimeter-precision navigation. 

The Matrice 210 RTK will give users positioning precision accurate to a centimetre

The Matrice 210 RTK will give users positioning precision accurate to a centimetre


Weather Protection

The Matrice 200 series comes with new IP43 classification protection from rain and dust making it a great drone to tackle more extreme weather conditions. The gimbal controllers have also been integrated into the body of the drone for added protection and prevention of drift. 

The new Matrice 200 is graded IP43 for rain and dust protection

The new Matrice 200 is graded IP43 for rain and dust protection

The M200 series is equipped with more than 20 internal sensors for maximum redundancy and reliability. This includes the compass, GPS system, IMU's and three barometers. The drone also features two stereo-vision systems in the front and rear as well as an upward facing infrared sensor for obstacle avoidance. 

Additionally, the M200 series features DJI AirSense, a built-in  ADS-B receiver to keep the drone safe in airspace and to provide users with real-time information on the location of any nearby manned aircraft. 
 


precision, range, and battery life

Flight time has increased on the M200 system thanks to its dual-battery system. With two fully charged batteries, the M200 can fly for up to 35 minutes. Additionally, the batteries are self-heating to better maintain the charge in colder temperatures. The drone can even maintain its flight if one battery fails for added safety. 

A camera can be attached on top of the drone to inspect the underside of bridges 

A camera can be attached on top of the drone to inspect the underside of bridges 

The M200 uses DJI's Lightbridge system and supports a range of up to 7 km depending on environmental conditions. The controller range extends to 328 feet and users can also switch between 2.4 GHz and 5.7 GHz for a clearer signal. 


The Matrice 210

The new M210 can be equipped with two bottom gimbals so users can have the freedom to choose the combination of camera’s they need for any task. One gimbal and camera can also be attached to the top o the drone, for jobs such as inspecting the inside of a bridge. 

The Matrice 210 can support two cameras in the air

The Matrice 210 can support two cameras in the air

Currently, the M200 series can support the Zenmuse X4S, the X5S, XT and Z30 cameras. The left gimbal port of the M210 can support the XT and Z30 cameras, while the right gimbal port can support the X4S, X5S, Z30, and XT cameras. 


complete flight control

For more control the M200 can pilot using the DJI Pilot or DJI GO 4 app. The DJI Pilot app is designed to optimize commercial flight performance. With DJI Pilot operators can control the dual gimbal setup on the M210 and create flight plans. The Pilot app can also enable operators to control the feed of 3 different payloads including the FPV camera and two other additional cameras. 

Flight controls are user-friendly and similar to the controls of other DJI series drones

Flight controls are user-friendly and similar to the controls of other DJI series drones

The DJI Pilot app is also compatible with DJI FlightHub, a web-based software package that enables different groups around the world to share real-time data with outside parties. The software enables users to create flights plans with multiple drones and keep track of each aircrafts's status. The software additionally allows users to plan flights in advance and an offsite control room can monitor live feeds as well as remotely control the gimbal and camera.


cameras and payloads

The Zenmuse X4S

The Zenmuse X4S

The M200 series can accomedate three different payloads including the one downward-facing camera, or the  two downward facing cameras and one upward facing camera for the M210.  

The Zenmuse X4S camera features a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor, 11.6 stops of dynamic range and a 24 mm equivalent focal length. The aperture control of the X4S is between F2.8-11, and the mechanical shutter features 1/2000 shutter speeds which eliminates distortion when taking images of fast-moving subjects or when flying at high speeds. 

The Zenmuse X5S

The Zenmuse X5S

On the other hand the Zenmuse X5S has a Micro Four Thirds sensor with 20.8 megapixels and 12.8 stops of dynamic range. The X5S also supports eight lenses so users can have the freedom to pick and choose the lens that best fits their intended purpose. 

With the Zenmuse XT, users can attain highly sensitive thermal imagery for ideal analytics and telemetry. With the Zenmuse Z30 operators can have a zoom of up to 30x and a digital zoom of 6x. 


Commercial heavyweight

From energy, to construction and search and rescue, the M200 series gives professionals the ability to conduct more accurate, efficient, and safe aerial inspections unlike any other traditional method before it.

DJI Matrice 200

Surveying, mapping and inspections can be conducted in more extreme weather conditions and objects can be easily assessed from all directions. The Matrice 200 is available for pre-order from official DJI dealers and will start shipping in the second quarter of 2017. Pricing information has not yet been announced.

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro: An In-Depth Review

                 The Phantom 4 Pro is the newest drone in the popular series by DJI, that lives up to its namesake as a drone designed with professional usage in mind. With an upgraded camera, obstacle avoidance system, battery life, and range, the Phantom 4 Pro is the perfect drone to pilot through the air whether you are a hobbyist, or a filmmaking and aerial photography Pro. 

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is designed to produce professional quality footage. 

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is designed to produce professional quality footage. 

              The Phantom 4 Pro improves on the Phantom 4’s imaging and video capture capabilities with an upgraded camera that shoots 4K/60fps at a bitrate of 100Mbps and stills up to 20-megapixels. The Phantom 4 Pro also comes with added improvements to its obstacle avoidance system and flight time. The FlightAutonomy system adds dual rear vision sensors and two imaging cameras for a total of 5 directions of obstacle sensing. The Intelligent Flight Battery has also increased capacity by 520 mah for an extended flight time of 30 minutes. There are even brand new ActiveTrack and TapFly functions to capture new and exciting shots. 

       As an extension of the Phantom 4 but with huge improvements in features and camera quality, the Phantom 4 Pro is the perfect drone for pilots looking to shoot cinema-quality imagery from the skies. 


Gimbal and Camera

            Visually the Phantom 4 Pro’s camera looks similar to the one on the Phantom 4, but it has received some major upgrades that separate it from the pack. The Phantom 4 Pro uses a 1-inch CMOS 20-megapixel sensor and has a manually adjustable aperture from F2.8 to F11.

The camera also includes a mechanical shutter and has a focus range from 1m to infinity, which reduces distortion and allows users to take much higher resolution photos. The combination of a larger, better sensor and a mechanical shutter gives the Phantom 4 Pro’s camera the ability to shoot much higher quality photos than any of its predecessors. 

(Left: Phantom 4 Pro Right: Phantom 4) The Phantom 4 Pro has a visibly larger camera 

(Left: Phantom 4 Pro Right: Phantom 4) The Phantom 4 Pro has a visibly larger camera 

              The Phantom 4 Pro is able to record 4K at 60fps, at a maximum bitrate of 100Mbps. The camera also has a much narrower field of view. While the Phantom 4 has a FOV of just 84°, the Phantom 4 Pro has a FOV of 94°, giving users much more cinematic footage. The Pro features a brand new camera lens as well, that is optimized for aerial imaging.

                          The ISO range of the Phantom 4 Pro has been upgraded with a range of up to 6400 in video and 12800 in still images when set in manual mode. Additionally, the bitrate has been improved from 60 Mbps up to 100 Mbps for much higher quality video. The Phantom 4 Pro can allow users to even use a Micro SD card up to 128 g.

            Overall, the Phantom 4 Pro's large sensor enables the drone to capture incredible detail in every shot taken, with much richer colours. The final product being extremely high quality footage and stills worthy of the big screen. 


OBSTACLE AVOIDANCE

The Phantom 4 Pro features a 360 obstacle avoidance system 

The Phantom 4 Pro features a 360 obstacle avoidance system 

                        Avoiding any crashes is now made that much easier thanks to the DJI Phantom 4 Pro's new obstacle avoidance system. The Pro's 360 infrared sensing system now has side, back and front facing sensors. Its high resolution vision sensors can avoid obstacles in a range of up to 98ft or 30m, with a rear sensing system that also shares the same capability.

Sensors can be found on the front, rear, sides, and bottom of the Phantom 4 Pro 

Sensors can be found on the front, rear, sides, and bottom of the Phantom 4 Pro 

                      Additionally, the Phantom 4 Pro features infrared sensors on both sides of the aircraft, precisely detecting the distance between the aircraft and obstacles within a range of up to 23ft or 7m. The system will even tell the user the distance between the drone and an object in its path as it approaches. In Beginner and Tripod Mode only, the sensing system now has a sensing field with a 70° angle horizontally and a 20° angle vertically.


REMOTE CONTROLLER

                 Though the regular Phantom 4 Pro comes with the same remote as the Phantom 4 which requires a mobile device or tablet, the upgraded Pro+ comes with a new built-in screen to give pilots added convenience and a remote that can last 4-5 hours. 

The Phantom 4 Pro+ features a built-in 5.5 inch telemetry screen for maximum convenience

The Phantom 4 Pro+ features a built-in 5.5 inch telemetry screen for maximum convenience

                  The biggest improvements with the remote controller is the newly added 5.8 g link. As many devices use the 2.4 g link frequency bandwidth which can potentially interfere with the wireless communication of the aircraft, the added 5.8 g link makes for a much stronger connection and will ensure that the drone's connection is not as easily interfered. 

The controller features a built-in screen for added convenience and a longer battery life. 

The controller features a built-in screen for added convenience and a longer battery life. 

               The most noticeable difference in the remote controllers is the Phantom 4 Pro+'s new, built-in display. The Pro+ features a 5.5" 1080p and 1000 nits display. Most iPads generally only have 400-700 nits, which means that the new Pro+ display is more than twice as bright as any regular tablet or Smartphone. Due to the higher nits, the screen can easily be seen in direct sunlight and be used in low temperatures.

Both remotes have a similar size 

Both remotes have a similar size 

             Another big plus with the built-in display is that users no longer need to have a mobile device. The new remote controller also features an HDMI port, a Micro SD Slot, a built-in microphone, and a speaker which allows for live streaming and video editing. Additionally, the remote has up to 5 hours of use on a full charge, so users no longer have to drain the battery of their Smart devices. 


FLIGHT MODES

                       The Phantom 4 Pro comes with the previous flight modes of the Phantom 4, along with some new flight modes for capturing new, and exciting shots. 

WIth Waypoints users can create custom flight paths to fit their shooting needs 

WIth Waypoints users can create custom flight paths to fit their shooting needs 

                  The Phantom 4 Pro includes Tap to Fly mode, so the user can tap anywhere on the screen and the drone will fly to that spot. The drone also features Active Track to track objects automatically and get better shots. In Trace Mode, the Pro will track a subject in front of or behind of the drone. In Profile, the drone will fly alongside the object for amazing profile shots. There is also a Spotlight mode where the drone will keep the subject in frame while being able to fly as freely as the user wants.               

                      In the new Draw Waypoints mode, the user can easily trace a route on their screen and the Phantom 4 Pro will move in direction you drew while keepings its altitude locked. This gives the pilot more camera control and more freedom to create complex shots. 

In the new Draw Waypoints mode, uses can trace a custom path for their drone to fly

In the new Draw Waypoints mode, uses can trace a custom path for their drone to fly

                    The Phantom 4 Pro also has an upgraded Return to Home mode, the system records its route as it flies allowing the user to return along the same route and avoid obstacles if the signal is lost. When taking off the Phantom 4 Pro will also get a picture of the scene below and compare the recording with what it sees when it returns for more precise landing. The Pro even detects whether the spot is suitable for landing. For example, if you are landing somewhere with obstacles or stones it will hover and alert the pilot.                         

                      Lastly,  there is a Gesture (Selfie) Mode, which will recognize the subject and keep it in frame. When the user in frame lifts their arm, the drone will automatically capture the subject in frame and then a three second countdown will commence and a selfie will be taken. 


Range and Battery Life

                      The upgraded Lightbridge HD video transmission system offers an extended maximum transmission range of 7km and also enables the user to switch between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz. The Phantom 4 Pro+ can additionally hold an even more reliable transmission thanks to the optional integrated display. 

The Pro features an improved range of 7 km versus the 5 km range of the Phantom 4

The Pro features an improved range of 7 km versus the 5 km range of the Phantom 4

The Phantom 4 Pro is compatible with both the high capacity and regular Phantom 4 battery 

The Phantom 4 Pro is compatible with both the high capacity and regular Phantom 4 battery 

                        The Phantom 4 Pro is compatible with the regular Phantom 4 battery, but comes with the higher capacity battery to give the Pro an even longer battery life than its predecessor. The high capacity battery gives the drone more energy to power the system, making for a much stabler and powerful camera system.

                   The high capacity battery also adds extra power. The Phantom 4 Pro can fly for up to 30 minutes. The battery has a 15.2 voltage and has a 89.2 what with a maximum charging power of 100 watts. The charger gives up to 100 w and a voltage of 17.4.


DESIGN

                          Visually, the Phantom 4 Pro's design is extremely similar to that of the Phantom 4. The body is the exact same proportions as the 4, measuring 350 mm diagonally. The Pro also features the same sleek, clean, white look similar to Apple-designed products. 

Both drones are designed extremely alike thought the Pro does feature a larger camera

Both drones are designed extremely alike thought the Pro does feature a larger camera

                       Due to the 360 obstacle avoidance system, the Phantom 4 Pro does feature new sensors on its sides giving it the ability to avoid obstacles in five directions. The Phantom 4 Pro additionally features rear sensors so any objects coming into its path will be avoided. 


New and improved

The P4Pro is a user-friendly drone that delivers professional quality footage

The P4Pro is a user-friendly drone that delivers professional quality footage

                      Thanks to its upgraded camera, obstacle avoidance system, longer battery life, and longer range, the Phantom 4 Pro is the perfect drone for usage by pilots of any level. The new upgrades optimize the way that it runs, and make the Phantom 4 Pro much more easy and fun to fly.

                      The Phantom 4 Pro is completely optimized for professional usage, and in the hands of any photographer or filmmaker, the Phantom 4 Pro is the perfect drone to capture Hollywood-grade shots for the big screen.  Whether you are a hobbyist or already a solidified drone professional looking to shoot cinema quality footage, the Phantom 4 Pro is the perfect drone to take to the skies. 

 


A Complete Guide to Buying a Drone: Updated

Drones come in all shapes, sizes, models, and price points, and finding the perfect drone for your intended use can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Whether you are looking for a drone to practice your piloting skills on or a drone that is capable of capturing cinema-quality footage, knowing the intended use of your drone is an essential part of narrowing down the search and finding the perfect drone to fit your needs. 
Below is a list of our recommendations when it comes to finding the drone to best fit your intended use. Whether you are a professional aerial photographer or a hobbyist ready to take to the skies. 


The Hobbyist

DJI Mavic Pro

The new DJI Mavic pro features an extremely compact and powerful design

The new DJI Mavic pro features an extremely compact and powerful design

If you're a recreational user who is always on the go, the recently released DJI Mavic Pro is the perfect drone to accompany you on your next aerial adventure. As the most portable drone released by DJI to date, the Mavic Pro features a revolutionary foldable design, enabling it to fold down to roughly the size of a water bottle and fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.

The remote controller can fit any sized Smartphone or iPhone 

The remote controller can fit any sized Smartphone or iPhone 

The Mavic features the same camera specs as the DJI Phantom 4, capable of shooting 4K 1080p video and 12-megapixel stills. The camera is supported by a 3-Axis gimbal to ensure that footage is smooth and steady in the air. Avoiding any potential crashes is also made easier thanks to the Mavic's innovative obstacle avoidance system, featuring both front and bottom facing sensors. The Mavic Pro additionally features a flight range longer than the Phantom 4, with a range of 7 km, and a battery life of approximately 28 minutes. 

The camera can shoot 4K 1080p video and 12 megapixel stills

The camera can shoot 4K 1080p video and 12 megapixel stills

The drone itself is extremely easy to use and features a remote controller that can accommodate any sized Smartphone or iPhone. The remote additionally features a 5.5 inch LCD built-in screen, as well as dedicated buttons for flight modes such as Return-to-Home, and a pause/play button. 
The Mavic's compact size, new intelligent flight features, long range, innovative obstacle avoidance system, and high-quality camera, make the Mavic a powerful drone in a small package that is perfect for any hobbyist.

DJI Phantom 4

The DJI Phantom 4 is designed to be extremely user-friendly 

The DJI Phantom 4 is designed to be extremely user-friendly 

The DJI Phantom 4 is popularly dubbed the drone that anyone can pick up and fly. The drone features a simple, clean design to go along with its simple controls that make it extremely effortless to fly.  

The Phantom 4 was the first entry-level drone released by DJI that featured an obstacle avoidance system with front and bottom facing sensors to enable the drone to automatically stop and avoid obstacles in its path. The Phantom 4's Visual Positioning System (VPS) is also greatly enhanced with built-in, bigger sensors and two additional cameras for overall better depth perception. 

The body of the Phantom 4 is made with high-quality magnesium that reduces vibrations in flight and moves the drones weight to its centre of gravity for additional stability. Its gimbal also features a U-Frame design to keep footage steady and balanced for extremely smooth video and still photos. The Phantom 4 is additionally equipped with an extremely powerful 4K 12-megapixel camera that can easily capture stunning aerial footage. 

DJI Phantom 4

For any hobbyist, the Phantom 4 is the best drone out there in its price range. It's powerful, user-friendly system packed with new features makes it the perfect choice for anyone looking for a reliable, and easy-to-use system that is capable of capturing stunning  footage from the skies. 

  


Professional Photography

DJI Phantom 4 Pro 

The Phantom 4 Pro features a 360 obstacle avoidance system and 20 megapixel camera

The Phantom 4 Pro features a 360 obstacle avoidance system and 20 megapixel camera

The recently released Phantom 4 Pro is the latest drone in the extremely popular DJI Phantom series that features brand new upgrades and a state of the art 360 obstacle avoidance system. 

When it comes to the Phantom 4 Pro, the camera is where the drone really shines. The Pro is equipped with a 1-inch CMOS sensor capable of shooting 20-megapixel still with up to 11.6 stops of dynamic range. The camera can even shoot 14 photos per second in burst mode as well as capture slow motion video at 60 frames per second. The Phantom 4 Pro's 20 megapixel camera and 24 mm focal length ensure any footage captured is of extremely high image quality. The upgraded 360 obstacle avoidance system also ensures that the drone can avoid obstacles coming in at any direction, keeping pilots safe in the skies. 

DJI also released the DJI Phantom 4 Pro+, which features a remote controller with a built-in 5.5 inch touch display that is brighter than any other Smartphone, iPhone, Tablet or iPad . The brighter screen enables drone pilots to view their display in direct sunlight without using up the battery power of their own personal device. 

Overall, the Phantom 4 Pro is a huge step forward in the area of drone photography and will provide any professional photographer with a state of the art camera that can capture stunning images from a brand new perspective.


Professional Filmmaking

DJI Matrice 600

The Matrice 600 features 6 batteries and is capable of flying up to 45 minutes

The Matrice 600 features 6 batteries and is capable of flying up to 45 minutes

With the DJI Matrice 600, any professional filmmaker will be able to capture movie-quality footage worthy of the big screen. Able to lift up to 15 kilos in the air and be customized to fit the operator's exact needs, the Matrice 600 gives pilots the freedom to build a drone that fits their exact qualifications. The M600 is able to be equipped with any camera or accessory to allow pilots to capture the exact shot they envision. The Matrice 600 is additionally compatible with the full DJI X series of gimbals. 

DJI Matrice 600

Designed with an aluminum body, retractable landing gear, and folding carbon fibre arms, the M600 is extremely durable and stable in the air to ensure camera footage is stabilized and smooth. Six propellors and motors also provide additional safety in the air. If one or two motors fail while in flight, the drone will automatically recover and safely land. 

The M600 is compatible with the entire line of DJI Zenmuse cameras and gimbals and can fly for around 35 minutes with the Zenmuse X5 or Xt, and up to 16 minutes with a heavier camera like the RED EPIC. 

The Matrice 600 features 6 propellers and motors for added safety and power in flight

The Matrice 600 features 6 propellers and motors for added safety and power in flight

Paired with the Ronin-MX, the Matrice 600 can provide filmmakers with extremely stable, smooth footage from the air while being able to rotate a full 360 degrees. The Ronin-MX can also be connected to the M600's GPS and Lightbridge 2 system and be equipped with almost any camera.  

Overall the Matrice 600 is a powerful system in the hands of a professional filmmaker, that can enable users to capture professional-grade footage for any Hollywood-level production. 

DJI Inspire 2

The Inspire 2 features a dual operator system, and self-heating batteries 

The Inspire 2 features a dual operator system, and self-heating batteries 

The recently released DJI Inspire 2 was specifically designed with professional filmmakers and photographers in mind. Able to shoot 5.2K video at a 4.2 Gbps bitrate, and fly up to 90 km per hour, the Inspire 2 is a definite force to be reckon with. 

Consumers can buy the Inspire 2 with either the Zenmuse X4S or the X5S camera. Additionally, there is a DNG RAW mode for photographers, that can capture 30-megapixel stills. The remote also features a new dual-band Lightbridge HD video transmission system that has a maximum transmission distance of 7km. 

Inspire 2

A stand-out feature of the Inspire 2 is its two camera, dual operator system, allowing one person to pilot the drone while the other captures and controls the footage being shot. The Inspire 2 also features a dual battery systems that extends flight time to 27 minutes with the X4S camera, while self-heating technology give the drone the ability to fly in low temperatures. 

Overall, the Inspire 2 is poised to be the new go-to drone for all professional aerial filmmaker enthusiasts. Its stand-out camera specs and powerful system make it the perfect choice for any operator looking to create their next big motion picture project. 


Industrial Inspections

DJI Matrice 100 

The Matrice 100 is an open system giving users unlimited opportunity for customization

The Matrice 100 is an open system giving users unlimited opportunity for customization

The DJI Matrice 100 is one of the most customizable drones on the market today, making it a great choice for any type of industrial application including mining, construction, agriculture or search and rescue. Made of lightweight carbon fibre, the Matrice 100 is able to stay extremely steady in the air and is equipped with dual batteries to give operators approximately 40 minutes of flight time.

DJI Matrice 100

The obstacle avoidance system named Guidance gives the M100 the ability to avoid any obstacles in its path in all directions at a range of up to 65 feet. The system can even scan its environment in real-time to provide accuracy within one centimetre.

DJI Matrice 100

The Matrice 100 is the perfect drone for inspections because of its unique ability ot be customized and programmed for any task. The M100 features expansion bays that allow operators to create the drone that matches their exact specifications. Any accessories can be added to the drone including sensors, cameras (including the DJI X3, X5, XT, and X5R,) or computing boards. With DJI SDK users can develop customized programs and apps to fit their exact needs, while the Matrice 100 as a system is fully expandable and designed with a wide range of power and data ports. 

For any developer, researcher, or surveyor. the Matrice is a powerful, customizable system that will give any pilot the ability to carry out any job they need at half the price of any other aerial alternative. 


The Beginner

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is a well-rounded entry-level drone

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is a well-rounded entry-level drone

When purchasing your first drone, a new flyer will want to buy something that isn't too pricey but also doesn't sacrifice quality. That is why the DJI Phantom 3 Standard is the perfect choice for someone just beginning to get the handle on piloting a drone.

The Phantom 3 Standard is simple to learn on and still includes a wide array of intelligent features. The Standard provides users with a 2.7K 720p real-time HD view. Even though the drone only has 2.7k video, the camera is still of high quality and perfect for someone just starting out. Additionally, with approximately 25 minutes of flight time, beginners will have a good amount of time to practice their flying. 

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

For beginners, a big advantage of the Phantom 3 Standard is its built-in flight simulator in the DJI Go App, which can help users learn how to operate the drone and controls. The app is easy to use and gives new pilots a chance to practice flying there drone without the risk. 

For any operator at the beginning of their drone journey, the Phantom 3 Standard is a great training drone that is easy to pick up and fly. With a well-rounded system and a fair price point, the Phantom 3 Standard is the perfect drone for anyone getting ready for take-off. 


Ready to Take Flight

Looking for the perfect drone to match your needs can no doubt be an overwhelming process. As drone technology continues to rapidly advance the selection of drones to choose from will only grow, but with proper research the hunt can be easily narrowed. With our recommendations we hope users will have the best flying experience possible, whether they are shooting aerials for the next Hollywood blockbuster or just beginning to test their piloting skills. 

Drones: What Happened in 2016?

The year of 2016 was jam packed with brand new releases and innovative technological advancements that revolutionized the consumer drone market. Within just a year drone enthusiasts saw the release of the DJI Phantom 4, the first entry-level drone to feature an obstacle avoidance system, and more compactly designed drones such as the DJI Mavic Pro and GoPro's Karma. Huge advancements in camera quality also took flight in 2016, with the recent unveiling of the DJI Inspire 2 featuring a camera capable of shooting 5.2K video at up to 4.2 Gbps bitrate. 

According to a report by Goldman Sachs, there is a $100 billion market opportunity for drones between now and 2020, and according to the study, the consumer market has significant room for rapid growth. With so many new drones and innovations hitting the airways in 2016, 2017 is quickly shaping up to be another big year for drone pilots all over the world. 

Left to Right: DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Inspire 2, DJI Phantom 4, Yuneec Typhoon H

Left to Right: DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Inspire 2, DJI Phantom 4, Yuneec Typhoon H


New drones, new heights

In the year of 2016 drone manufacturer DJI dominated the market with consistent new releases including the Phantom 4, the Mavic Pro, the Phantom 4 Pro, and the Inspire 2. GoPro also entered the consumer drone arena with their own release, the Karma, a portable drone equipped with a GoPro camera and detachable handheld gimbal. With the release of drones of all shapes and sizes, 2016 was a year that gave drone pilots of every level, a perfect option for every need and price point. 

The DJI Phantom 4 was the first drone to feature an obstacle avoidance system 

The DJI Phantom 4 was the first drone to feature an obstacle avoidance system 

At the start of the year, DJI released the DJI Phantom 4, a drone designed to be as user-friendly as possible, and that quickly garnered major popularity upon its release. The Phantom 4 featured a refined, Apple-like design, a new obstacle avoidance system with front and bottom facing sensors, and new intelligent flight modes including Tap to Fly and ActiveTrack. The Phantom 4 also featured a 4K 1080p camera, and the ability to fly 72 km per hour in Sports Mode. With all its new features, the Phantom 4 became the go-to drone for both hobbyist and professional flyers and garnered major acclaim for its ease-of-use and powerful system that made it the most effortless drone to take to the skies yet.

The DJI Mavic Pro can fold down to roughly the size of a water bottle

The DJI Mavic Pro can fold down to roughly the size of a water bottle

The DJI Mavic Pro was another drone released by DJI that garnered major hype upon its release. The Mavic Pro features an innovative foldable design that enables the drone to fold down to roughly the size of a water bottle, making it the perfect drone for pilots on the go. For its small size, the Mavic has a powerful system and features a 4K 12-megapixel camera on a stabilized 3-Axis gimbal, an obstacle avoidance system, 27-minute battery life, and an incredible 7 km flight range. On top of it all, the Mavic features brand new intelligent flight modes including Trace, Profile, Tripod, and Spotlight. 

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro features a 360 obstacle avoidance system and 20 MP camera

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro features a 360 obstacle avoidance system and 20 MP camera

The recently released Phantom 4 Pro, once again manufactured by DJI, was the latest drone to be released in the extremely popular DJI Phantom series. The Phantom 4 Pro is equipped with a 1-inch CMOS sensor, capable of shooting 20-megapixel stills with up 11.6 stops of dynamic range. The camera can additionally shoot 14 photos per second in burst mode and can capture slow motion video at 60 frames per second. 

DJI also upgraded the Phantom 4 Pro's obstacle avoidance system to sense and avoid objects in every direction. The 360 obstacle avoidance system ensures that pilots stay safe in the skies, and avoid costly crashes that could halt their flying experience.

DJI additionally delivered the step-up from the Phantom 4 Pro, the Phantom 4 Pro+, which features a remote controller with a built-in 5.5-inch touch display. The new remote is brighter than any other Smartphone, Tablet, or iPhone and allows pilots to fly their drone without using up the battery power of their own personal device.  

 

The DJI Inspire 2 is the latest drone to come out of the DJI Inspire series 

The DJI Inspire 2 is the latest drone to come out of the DJI Inspire series 

DJI ended the year on a high note with the release of the DJI Inspire 2, designed specifically for professional filmmakers. The Inspire 2 is designed with a magnesium-aluminum body that increases stiffness in the air, while also decreasing weight. The Inspire 2 is also equipped with a camera capable of capturing 5.2K video at a 4.2 Gbps bitrate. The drone is even able to fly up to approximately 90 km per hour while the remote controller features a new dual-band Lightbridge HD video transmission system that has a maximum transmission distance of 7 km. 

Consumers can buy the Inspire 2 with either the Zenmuse X4S or the X5S camera. Additionally, there is a DNG RAW mode for photographers, that can capture 30-megapixel stills. Another stand-out feature of the Inspire 2 is its two camera, dual operator system, allowing one person to pilot the drone while the other captures and controls the footage being shot. 

 

The GoPro Karma features a detachable gimbal for handheld use 

The GoPro Karma features a detachable gimbal for handheld use 

Two other notable releases to come out of 2016 included GoPro's Karma, and Yuneec's Typhoon H. Each drone came with its unique strong points and flaws, though neither were able to make as strong as an impact on the market as competing drones released by drone heavyweight DJI. 

The GoPro Karma was a compactly designed drone featuring a detachable gimbal and camera system that was set up to rival DJI's Mavic Pro. The maximum speed of the Karma was approximately 56 km per hour, with a maximum range of 3 km. Though the drone caused major hype in the drone world, the system was quickly recalled less than a month after its launch after reports of the drone losing power and falling out of the sky. 

The Yuneec Typhoon H features retractable landing gear 

The Yuneec Typhoon H features retractable landing gear 

On another note, the Yuneec Typhoon H was another drone released in 2016 that closely rivaled the DJI Phantom 4. The Typhoon H is a hexacopter designed with six rotors to make flying smoother and steadier in the air. The camera can turn 360 degrees, and the drone itself features retractable landing gear to ensure the legs won't show up in any footage. While the Typhoon H was a big step up for Yuneec, the Phantom 4 overall still trumped the drone in terms of usability, design, and functionality. 


Obstacle Avoidance

The release of the DJI Phantom 4 showcased the first entry-level drone with a comprehensive obstacle avoidance system, a huge leap forward in the consumer drone market. The Phantom 4's innovative obstacle avoidance system enabled the drone to avoid objects in its path autonomously, with two forward-facing cameras, two bottom facing cameras, as well as downward facing ultrasonic sensors. Its system was designed to have the drone dodge obstacles on its own by analyzing its surroundings, sensing an object, and intelligently flying around it - making it an especially beneficial feature for new pilots just learning to fly.

An obstacle avoidance system helps the drone detect and avoid objects 

An obstacle avoidance system helps the drone detect and avoid objects 

DJI additionally stepped up their game at the end of the year with the release of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, which features a full 360-degree obstacle avoidance system, giving the Pro the ability to detect objects in all 5 directions with a range of up to 30 metres in every direction. The Pro is designed with infrared sensors on both sides, to more accurately detect the distance between the aircraft and any obstacles within a range of up to 23 feet. Whereas the Phantom 4 only featured front-facing and downward-facing sensors, the Pro now includes sensors on its back and sides. With the ability to detect sensors on all four sides, the Phantom 4 Pro showcased just how far obstacle avoidance technology has come. 

DJI's innovative obstacle avoidance system used image processing that allowed the to introduce additional intelligent flight modes like Active Track and Tap to Fly, which tied into the drones image processing system. While the Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro were limited in speed when it came to flying with their obstacle avoidance systems activated, DJI released the Mavic which could fly faster in obstacle avoidance mode. In 2017 we could see obstacle avoidance systems become better and faster, with more drones being released with complete 360 obstacle avoidance systems. 


Camera Upgrades

camera dji phantom 4

Camera footage soared to new heights in 2016 with major upgrades in quality hitting the consumer drone market. Up until the release of the DJI Mavic Pro, most entry-level cameras had a similar image and video quality, including similar sensors. With the introduction of the Phantom 4 Pro, the entry-level market saw the release of a drone equipped with a 20-megapixel camera, mechanical shutter, and a larger sensor. Within the upcoming year, we could see camera optics be changed to make camera quality sharper, and reduce any distortion from the lens, though lenses will most likely remain the same.


DJI Dominance and More INnovation

Left to Right: Phantom 3 Standard, Phantom 3 Advanced, Phantom 3 Professional, Phantom 4

Left to Right: Phantom 3 Standard, Phantom 3 Advanced, Phantom 3 Professional, Phantom 4

In 2016, DJI solidified their spot as the market leader in both commercial and consumer drone technology thanks to their innovation and quality products. In just one year DJI released game-changing drones such as the Phantom 4, the Mavic Pro, the Inspire 2, and the Phantom 4 Pro, giving drone enthusiasts a wide selection of drones to fit any price point. 


What's Next for 2017

graph from goldman sachs

With such quickly evolving technology, we will continue to see drone technology improve and continue to discover more ways we can utilize the technology. Drone usage will see huge continued growth in business sectors across the board, especially in the agriculture and construction industries. Regulations could also evolve in 2017, allowing drones to be used more freely in the business world as their usage is made safer, and more companies discover the cost and efficiency benefits drones can provide. 

In 2017 we could see drones become even safer, easier to use, and of course, more fun to fly than ever before. Virtual and FPV goggles will see a rise in popularity, with DJI recently announcing that they will release their own set of goggles in the year to come. We also foresee 360-degree cameras becoming a huge trend in the year of 2017 as well. 2016 was a year full of innovations and new drones that transformed the way we fly. There is no doubt that in 2017 we will continue to see drone tech evolve, and take-off on a larger scale than ever before. 

 

 

 

 

How Drones Can Save Wildlife and Protect the Environment

Drones are protecting the environment and revolutionizing the way conservation research is conducted all around the world. From monitoring the activity of illegal Japanese whale hunting, to giving researchers a never before seen look at wild orcas, the ways in which drones can be used to assist in the protection of our environment is just beginning to take-off.

Drones are increasingly being used to help researchers protect the environment

Drones are increasingly being used to help researchers protect the environment

According to Tonya Wimmer, director of the Marine Animal Response Society, based on the East Coast of Canada, though drones are a brand new technology, they hold a wide variety of advantages to those looking to aid in the protection and conservation of the environment and its wildlife.

"Drones are allowing people to ask questions and look at things that they may not have been able to look at before," said Wimmer. "Now we are finding that there is a lot more conversation about the use of drones for research, what types of things you can study, and what kind of rules should be in place."

Drones can monitor the migration of animals and conduct population counts

Drones can monitor the migration of animals and conduct population counts

Drone technology gives users the valuable ability to bridge the gap between helicopters in the sky, and workers on the ground. With a drone, conservationists and environmental researchers can obtain information, data, and imagery that was previously too hard to access, at half of the cost. "The big advantage of using a drone is that they are more cost-effective, as opposed to throwing up a plane or putting up a helicopter," said Wimmer. "Drones are generally cheaper than most alternatives out there." 

Another large benefit of using a drone over alternative methods is the added safety value they can provide. "People who work in remote or more dangerous locations don't have to be put in harms way if they have to do aerial surveys over parts of the jungle, or in the Arctic," added Wimmer.

Environmental researchers and conservationists are putting drones to work in the field

Environmental researchers and conservationists are putting drones to work in the field

With the high-quality data and imagery collected by a drone, users can obtain information critical to their research. Causing minimal disturbance to the surrounding environment and wildlife, a drone in the air can perform surveys, collect data and imagery, monitor wildlife and varying landscapes, and even track or count animal populations. 


Timely, Efficient, and Cost-Effective

Drones can observe wildlife with minimal disturbance and noise

Drones can observe wildlife with minimal disturbance and noise

A drone in the air can collect data in a fast and efficient way that greatly benefits projects that could be time sensitive, or that must monitor locations at regular intervals. Launching a drone requires a minimal amount of workers and can help overcome obstacles such as dense vegetation and canopy coverage, or areas that are too dangerous for workers to access.

Drones can give scientists and researchers a new perspective on the wildlife they study

Drones can give scientists and researchers a new perspective on the wildlife they study

Another added bonus is that a drone makes minimal noise so that the wildlife and surrounding nature can be monitored undisturbed. Additionally a drone can be purchased just once, and used repeatedly over a long period of time, cutting expenses in half in contrast to using manned aerial vehicles. 


Protecting Wildlife and Nature Monitoring

A drone in the air can closely monitor migration patterns

A drone in the air can closely monitor migration patterns

Today, drones are being used to monitor and inspect a wide range of research projects including the monitoring of rainforest restoration plans, and the tracking of melting glaciers in the Arctic. Drone technology makes it easy to gather highly accurate data and footage of a region over time to easily examine changes and track findings, to ultimately help researchers make more accurate observations.

A drone in the air can closely track migration movements, monitor the health of animals, and even identify different animal species. Drones are even being used to track poachers to aid in the prevention of illegal slaughter. 


Plant Conservation

plant conservation with drones

Thick bush and vegetation can make it extremely difficult to survey different environments, but with a drone access to areas with dense coverage can be easily uncovered. With just one drone users can conduct plant and tree counts, monitor plant growth and coverage, assess plant health, and map forests.

A drone also gives users the ability to view environments from a new perspective previously to difficult to reach. According to Wimmer, some researchers have used drone technology to fly over the high canopy of rainforests to observe orangutang nests that were previously to difficult to obtain a clear view of.


Natural disaster relief and weather monitoring

In the event of a natural disaster, or even a human-made disaster such as an oil spill, a drone can fly in to aid in relief efforts, assess damages, spot victims, carry out surveys, and even monitor weather changes. A drone can be deployed quickly in the event of a disaster to effectively gather data and footage to help workers make more informed decisions in order to save lives, and reduce potential damages.

A drone can monitor the melting of glaciers in the Arctic

A drone can monitor the melting of glaciers in the Arctic

Equipped with a thermal camera, a drone can easily spot victims still trapped in a disasters aftermath or create 3D maps and models to plan and monitor reconstruction efforts. Today, scientists and researchers are even conducting inspections with drones to map out the path of present or future oil spills to prevent damage to surrounding wildlife and ecosystems. As pipelines are required to follow strict guidelines and standards, drones can additionally be used to effectively monitor oil and gas infrastructures to reduce the risk of potential leaks. 

Monitoring weather and environmental changes overtime is another way drones can be used to further assist conservation efforts. A drone can be used to capture and identify glacial features, track coastal erosions, and can even be sent out into hard to access areas of the atmosphere to collect data used to better predict the weather.


protecting the planet

Researchers can gain a never before possible perspective on wildlife

Researchers can gain a never before possible perspective on wildlife


A drones capability to be sent out quickly and easily, and at a low-cost, is what pushes drones ahead of the pack when it comes to carrying out aerial inspections and surveys. Their valuable ability to reach areas that were before too hard or dangerous to access, while also generating minimal disturbance and noise to the surrounding wildlife and environment, make drones a powerful tool that can give researchers the freedom to gather information like never before. 

"In the beginning people were looking at drones as just another way to get pretty pictures or video, but now these people are starting to realize that these have an immense power for doing research from perspectives that we never thought we could get," said Wimmer. "Now we are getting information on habitat use, population counts, the health of animals, and much more."

Since drone technology is still in its early stages, their impact on the environment and what regulations need to be in place is still up in the air. "There are obviously issues surrounding the use of drones, the same you would have with any new vehicle," said Wimmer. "Drones are accessible to a lot of people, and there are questions such as if they disturb the animals and how they may impact them that still need to be researched."

drones protecting the environment and wildlife

As drone technology continues to improve, drones will become more affordable and capable. Though regulations need to catch up to the technology, and more research needs to be done to see the potential effects drones could have on wildlife, there is no denying the many advantages drones have over traditional manned aerial vehicle methods. As the list of applications a drone can be used for continues to expand, more ways to save the planet via a drone in the sky will arise, revolutionizing the way conservation and environmental projects are conducted. 

 

Special thanks to Brinton Photography for the cover photo.

DJI Mavic Pro vs DJI Phantom 4: Which Drone Reigns Supreme?

Before the highly hyped DJI Mavic Pro hit the airways, the Phantom 4 reigned supreme as the best-selling consumer drone on the market. However, with the release of the new Mavic Pro, DJI has designed themselves a worthy competitor that could finally take the Phantom 4's place as the most dominant drone in the skies. 

Both the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 were designed with ease-of-use in mind. Each drone comes equipped with a stabilized 3-Axis gimbal for maximum steadiness in the air, as well as a high-quality 4k 1080p camera. 

The major advantage of the Mavic Pro is its revolutionary foldable design that allows the drone to be easily stored in any bag or pocket for maximum portability. This is in contrast to the Phantom 4's much larger size that requires a special case or bag to transport. The Mavic comes with a revamped obstacle avoidance system, brand new flight modes, and a more aerodynamic design that even for its size, makes the drone more stable in the air compared to the Phantom 4. 

WIth its portable design and powerful system, the Mavic Pro could be the drone that could finally take the Phantom 4's place as the most popular and sought after drone for pilots of every level. 


Design

The Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 each feature a unique build and design that focus on quality, power, and ease-of-use. On sight, the Phantom 4 features a clean, Apple-like look, in contrast to the Mavic's darker more subdued appearance. 

According to DJI, the Mavic has been designed to withstand 5000 folds

According to DJI, the Mavic has been designed to withstand 5000 folds

The highlight of the Mavic Pro is its fold-down design that enables the drone to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. The Mavic's portability factor is a huge strength of the drones design, allowing users to easily take their drone wherever their next adventure may take place. The Mavic features quick-release foldable propellers, and motors that are very quiet in flight. The drone also features an extremely aerodynamic design that reduces air resistance. 

The Phantom 4 features a sleek, glossy finish

The Phantom 4 features a sleek, glossy finish

The Phantom 4 is made of high-quality magnesium that reduces vibrations in the air, and moves the drones weight to its centre of gravity for more stability. The Phantom 4 also features raised motors so the propellers show up less in camera footage. 

The Phantom 4 weighs in at 1380 grams, in contrast to the Mavic Pro which weighs only 742 grams. The Mavic's smaller size makes it a much more attractive drone for users who travel or who are always on the go. As a drone that is half the size and weight of any other drone released by DJI, the Mavic Pro is the most lightweight and powerful drone on the market that can ensure that every minute in the air counts. 


stability and performance

In windy conditions the Mavic Pro is extremely stable, and keeps just as steady, if not more steady, than the Phantom 4. When tested, the Phantom 4 tended to drift off much more than the Mavic. Since the Mavic is much smaller than the Phantom 4, it was much less likely to yield to windy conditions. 

Both drones differ in size and functionality

Both drones differ in size and functionality

When it comes to racing through the skies at high speeds, the Phantom 4 can slightly outpace the Mavic Pro.  In Sports Mode, the Phantom 4 can reach 72 km/h at full tilt, while the Mavic can reach an impressive but slightly slower speed of approximately 64 km/h.


obstacle avoidance

With the releases of both the Phantom 4 and the Mavic Pro, DJI stepped up their game when it came to creating sophisticated obstacle avoidance systems that could avoid potential crashes before they happened. 

The Phantom 4's obstacle avoidance system features front-facing and bottom sensors, as well as two additional cameras for better depth perception. The system is limited to only being able to sense objects in front of the drone, and struggles during higher speeds or when trying to avoid smaller objects. 

Both drones feature powerful obstacle avoidance systems

Both drones feature powerful obstacle avoidance systems

The Mavic Pro is made with an extremely well-rounded obstacle avoidance system, that not only stops the drone from hitting any nearby objects, but also gives pilots information through the remote controller to alert them if the drone is flying to near an object. The Mavic uses a front-facing obstacle avoidance system that can spot objects up to 50 feet in front of its path. The Mavic's obstacle avoidance system also combines the information of different elements including 2 cameras on the top and bottom of its body, the main camera dual-bad satellite posititiong (GPS and GLONASS,) 2 ultrasonic sensors, redundant sensors and 24 computing cores to make a 3D map to better detect obstacles in its path. 

The Mavic Pro's obstacle avoidance system is overall a much more powerful, comprehensive, and effective system in comparison than the Phantom 4's, equipped with a larger range of technological advancements to better avoid accidents in the air. The Mavic's 24 computing cores also help the Mavic better detect and react to obstacles faster, even when flying at higher speeds in comparison to the Phantom 4. 


remote and range  

The controls of the Mavic and Phantom 4 differ in big ways both in size and functionality. At first glance the big difference between both controllers is size. The Mavic Pro's remote is significantly smaller than the Phantom 4's in both size and weight. In fact, the Phantom 4's controller is roughly the size of the Mavic Pro itself, while the Mavic's controller is about the size of a soda can.

The Mavic Pro's controller is roughly the size of a soda can

The Mavic Pro's controller is roughly the size of a soda can

The Mavic Pro's controller features a built-in LCD telemetry screen display as well as 5-way directional analog sticks, and dedicated buttons such as Return-To-Home, and pause/play. The Phantom 4's controller requires a smart device or iPad in order to fly the drone, while the Mavic Pro requires a Smartphone between 6.5-8.5mm thick and up to 160mm long without a phone case. 

The Phantom 4's controller features camera control functions such as photo and video preview or controlling gimbal motion. There is also a battery level indicator shown with LED indicators on the front of the controller. The Phantom 4 has a longer battery life than the Mavic Pro, as the Mavic's batteries are much smaller. 

In addition to its small size, the Mavic's controller has a much longer range than the Phantom 4. According to DJI, the Mavic's OcuSync video transmission gives the Mavic a range of up to 7 km with an increased resistance to interference. The Phantom 4 only has a range of up to 5 km with its dedicated Lightbridge system, as stated by DJI.  


camera quality and gimbal

Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro camera

The Mavic and Phantom 4 are equipped with the same camera expect that the Mavic Pro's is significantly smaller in size and holds a few key differences. The lens on the Mavic is much smaller than the Phantom 4's and holds a much narrower field of view. The Mavic also lacks a fixed focus, which means uses have to tap areas on their display that they want to focus on. The Phantom 4's camera in contrast has auto focus. When shooting in full auto focus with the Mavic, pilots will notice the limitations of the Mavic's smaller sensor. 

Low light photo taken by the Mavic Pro 

Low light photo taken by the Mavic Pro 

The Phantom 4 can shoot 4k video at 30 fps and 1080p at 120 fps. The Mavic Pro can shoot 4k video at 30 fps as well, but a lower fps at 1080p with 96 fps. When testing low light performance, the Mavic when tested performed extremely well in low light, with less noise at a higher ISO than the Phantom 4.  

Both drones are designed with stabilized 3-Axis gimbal to eliminate shakiness and make footage as smooth as possible. The Phantom 4 features a U-Frame esign to keep footage balanced while the Mavic's gimbal and camera system are attached. 


batter life and performance

The Phantom 4 features a slightly longer flight time 

The Phantom 4 features a slightly longer flight time 

The Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4 are both capable of carrying out long flights at high speeds. The Mavic can fly for up to 27 minutes and can reach up to 40 mph in Sports Mode. The Phantom 4 has a slightly longer flight time of up to 28 minutes, and can fly even faster at 27 km/h. 

The Mavic's Intelligent Flight Battery can support quick charging at approximately 2x, with a maximum charging power of 100w.


price

The Mavic's main advantage when deciding buyers are in the market for a drone is its portability factor and price. While both drones qualify as top-of-the-line consumer drones, and both come with great designs and specifications, the Mavic has more to offer for a lower price. Hobbyists and travellers will appreciate the Mavic's price range and added features. The Phantom 4 clocks in at $1,649.00, while the Mavic Pro retails for slightly less at $1,349.00. 


Which Is Better? 

Mavic Pro vs Phantom 4

With an array of new features and the ability to fit comfortably in your pocket or bag, the Mavic Pro is set to be the new consumer drone that dominates the market. Though both drones are of high-quality and build, the Mavic's range, stability, camera quality, and obstacle avoidance system have all been improved to virtually make the Phantom 4 obsolete. There is no denying that both drones have revolutionized the consumer drone market in their own way, but the Mavic Pro's revolutionary foldable design will make it every pilots go-to choice to capture aerial footage anytime, anywhere. 

 

DJI Mavic Pro Review: Portability Meets Power

The DJI Mavic Pro is DJI's most innovative drone ever released

Powerful, compact, and able to fit in your pocket, the Mavic Pro is DJI's latest, highly anticipated release that can be taken anywhere your journey leads you.

The DJI Mavic Pro features an innovative foldable design that allows the drone to easily fold down to roughly the size of a water bottle. The Mavic also features a 4K camera stabilized by a 3-Axis gimbal, 4 vision sensors, and an incredible 7 km flight range. On top of it all, the Mavic Pro comes with both familiar and brand new intelligent flight modes including Trace, Profile, Spotlight, Tripod, and Gesture. 

As a drone designed to be more compact and powerful than any other drone before it, the DJI Mavic Pro has set the bar as the most advanced consumer drone released on the market to date. 


compact Design

The Mavic Pro features foldable arms that make the drone extremely portable

The Mavic Pro features foldable arms that make the drone extremely portable

The Mavic Pro is designed with ease of use and portability in mind. The drone is built with foldable arms that can be moved into the Mavic's body. Two of the arms can fold towards the sides of the drone, while the other two can fold underneath. According to DJI, the Mavic has been tested to withstand at least 5000 folds. Once the Mavic is completely folded, the drone can be easily stored in a bag or pocket to ensure maximum mobility. 

The Mavic can be folded down to fit in the palm of your hand 

The Mavic can be folded down to fit in the palm of your hand 

The Mavic features quick-release 8.3 inch foldable propellers and motors that are extremely quiet while in flight. The drone is also made with an aerodynamic design in its front and back to reduce air resistance. Additionally, the Mavic's ultralight airframe make the drone weigh in at just 742 grams, or 1.62 lbs. At half the size and weight of any drone released before it, the Mavic Pro is designed to be as transport-friendly as possible to make flying a breeze for pilots of all levels. 


REMOTE CONTROLLER AND TRANSMISSION RANGE

The Mavic Pro comes with an extremely powerful, long-range remote controller that enables the user to easily attach their mobile device for easy set-up and precision control. The remote controller can fit any mobile device between 6.5-8.5mm thick and up to 160mm long without a phone case. 

A Smartphone can attach to the remote to give the user total control of the Mavic

A Smartphone can attach to the remote to give the user total control of the Mavic

The controller is designed to give operators the most user-friendly experience possibly when flying their drone. The remote features a built-in LCD telemetry screen display, as well as dedicated buttons for flight modes such as Return-to-Home, and a pause/play button. 

The OcuSync video transmission system gives the Mavic Pro a range of up to 7 km with an increased resistance to any interference. At a short range, the Mavic can stream live footage at a resolution of 1080p, and can allow photo and video downloads at 40 MB/s. Users can also easily switch between 1080p and 720p manually. 

Both the Mavic and its controller are designed to be extremely compact

Both the Mavic and its controller are designed to be extremely compact

The Mavic is also equipped with dual-band Wi-Fi, making the drone less likely to experience any interference, and to enable users to download content directly from the Mavic to their mobile device. When using a smartphone through a Wi-Fi connection, the controllable range is 80m with a maximum altitude of 50m. 


a first-class CAMERA

Capturing your vision from the sky has never looked so good. DJI's advanced 3-Axis gimbal and camera unit is the company's smallest built system to date. The camera can take 12 megapixel stills, and 4K video at 30fps, or 1080p video at 96fps. 

The Mavic's 4K camera features a high precision 3-axis gimbal  

The Mavic's 4K camera features a high precision 3-axis gimbal  

The Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro are both equipped with the same cameras, but the Mavic's holds a smaller field of view. The focal range of the Mavic is 0.5m to infinite, and can support a 2x digital zoom, but not optical zoom. The camera can also be turned 90 degrees to portrait mode, to capture high resolution panoramas, vertical selfies, or video. When shooting in full auto, users will notice the limitations of the Mavic's smaller sensor, but considering the overall size of the unit, the camera is perfectly built. The camera also performs extremely well in low light, with less noise at a higher ISO. 

The glass dome protects the camera and gimbal system while the Mavic is in transit

The glass dome protects the camera and gimbal system while the Mavic is in transit

The Mavic's 3-Axis gimbal  system ensures that footage is ultra-smooth and shake-free. The gimbal has a controllable range of -90 degree to +30 degrees. Additionally, the Mavic comes with a small, clear dome that can protect the camera and gimbal while the drone is in transit, not to be used during flight. 


PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE

With testing we concluded that the Mavic could fly for up to 27 minutes. The Mavic’s Intelligent Flight Battery can support quick charging at approximately 2C, with a maximum charging power of 100W. As well, the Mavic can fly up to an incredible 40 mph in Sports mode, and can fly up to 500 metres high. 


maximum STABILITY

The Mavic  features forward and downward facing sensors

The Mavic  features forward and downward facing sensors

Even while flying through windy conditions, the Mavic Pro is surprisingly stable for its size. Compared to the Phantom 4, the Mavic Pro is just as steady, if not more steady, in light to moderate windy conditions. Camera footage is also very stable in light to moderate wind. All of the sensors on the Mavic including the GPS, vision, and ultrasonic sensors work together to collect information of the Mavic's surroundings and hold it in place. According to DJI, the Mavic Pro will fly smoothly and remain stable in winds up to 40 mph. 


OBSTACLE AVOIDANCE

Avoiding any potential crashes with your drone is made easy thanks to the Mavic's comprehensive obstacle avoidance system. Not only does the Mavic's obstacle avoidance system stop the drone from hitting any objects, the system also provides users with information via the controller if the drone is flying to close to an object.

DJI MAVIC PRO

The Mavic uses a front-facing obstacle avoidance system that can spot and avoid objects 50 feet in front of its path at a maximum speed of 30 km/h. The Mavic's system combines information collected by 2 cameras on the top and bottom of its body, as well as the main camera, dual-band satellite positioning (GPS and GLONASS,) 2 ultrasonic sensors, redundant sensors, and 24 powerful computing cores to make a 3D map that can tell the drone exactly where obstacles may be in its environment. The 24 computing cores also give the Mavic system the ability to detect and react to obstacles faster, even when flying at higher speeds. 


INTELLIGENT FLIGHT MODES

MAVIC PRO FLIGHT MODES

All the familiar intelligent flight modes DJI is known for come with the Mavic Pro including Waypoints, Course Lock, Home Lock, Sports Mode, and Point of Interest.

In addition, the Return-To-Home mode has been enhanced. The Mavic will now automatically scan and match up the terrain it detected as its Home Point, and land to achieve precision landing. In testing, we found that Return-To-Home was more precise than the Phantom 4.

The Mavic Pro also comes with brand new flight modes; Trance, Profile, Gesture, Tripod, Spotlight, and Terrain Follow.

In Trace Mode, the drone will follow behind or in front of the users subject, or circle around the object as it moves. In Profile, the Mavic will fly alongside the subject. With Gesture Mode, the Mavic's Vision System will recognize the gestures of the user like a hand wave, and automatically follow the user or take selfies. In Tripod Mode, the Mavic's speed will lower to just 2.2 mph (3.6 km/h) and the controllers stick sensitivity will be tuned down to give operators extra precision and accuracy for framing a shot. According to DJI this mode is good for flying indoors or in tight spaces as the speed is lowered and control is amplified. When flying over varying terrain in Terrain Follow mode, the Mavic will use height information gathered by its ultrasonic system and its downward facing camera to allow users to fly at a consistent height even if the ground levels change. Finally, in Spotlight Mode, the Mavic will keep the camera trained on the subject while the user flies in any direction they choose. 


THE DRONE YOU CAN TAKE ANYWHERE

For its size, the Mavic Pro packs a powerful punch. The Mavic's ability to fold down into such a compact size, combined with all of its new intelligent flight features, long transmission range, comprehensive obstacle avoidance system, stability in the air, and high quality camera, make the Mavic the most advanced drone to ever hit the market. For the price, the Mavic Pro is well worth the investment. Small, capable, and able to be easily transported in your bag or pocket, the DJI Mavic Pro is the perfect drone for anyone looking to take their next aerial shot to new heights. 

Drones in Construction: How Drones are Building the Future

Drones could soon be as commonly seen on construction sites as trucks and excavators, thanks to the many ways they can be used to help workers better monitor and capture the construction of a project from inception to completion.

Drone users can collect elevation data, volumetric measurements, and create 3D maps for georeferencing

Drone users can collect elevation data, volumetric measurements, and create 3D maps for georeferencing

Construction sites around the world depend on inspections and surveys to obtain a comprehensive look of a builds progress, and to ensure that strict safety standards are being met in the process. With cutting-edge drone technology, operators can now easily and quickly perform inspections in a cost-effective and efficient way, while also keeping employees away from dangerous environments or situations. 

Drones give an aerial view of job sites large and small. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

Drones give an aerial view of job sites large and small. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

With data and imagery collected via a drone in the air, users can create 2D and 3D maps, orthomosaics, collect elevation data, and gather volumetric measurements to better plan for, build, and develop projects.

The high-quality information collected by a drone also give users the opportunity to view a site in real-time as it progresses, to better manage resources and keep projects on schedule. Additionally, drone technology gives those in the industry the valuable ability to view a project from the comfort of their office without having to physically step foot on a site. This way, many different parties can work together to easily track development and collaborate to improve decision-making.


CUTTING COSTS AND IMPROVING SAFETY

Drones are working alongside more traditional machines in the construction industry.

Drones are working alongside more traditional machines in the construction industry.

Before drone technology, gathering aerial data and imagery was a difficult and expensive task in comparison to traditional on-foot or manned aerial vehicle methods. Now, a drone can quickly and easily perform an inspection of a job site in less time and at a lower cost than ever before. Additionally, with less time wasted on inspections, operators can maximize efficiencies and review projects without disrupting work, while also keeping extra personnel away from situations that could pose potential safety risks. 

Users can create 3D models of a project. Courtesy of Pix4D

Users can create 3D models of a project. Courtesy of Pix4D

With pre-programmed flight paths that can be repeated on a daily basis, operators can view real-time imagery of projects as they are built to better monitor sites, optimize efficiencies, and quickly identify any problems before they develop. Ultimately saving on expenses, avoiding wasted resources, and maintaining safety standards. 


SURVEYS AND INSPECTIONS

Drones are increasingly being used as a survey and inspection tool, to help operators record conditions of a job site from beginning to end. With a drone the amount of time spent collecting data can be cut in half, and the information collected can be generated into orthomosaics and geo-referenced digital images accurate to 1.5 cm per pixel. 

Elevation data, volumetric measurements and more can all be created to optimize the efficiency of job sites. Courtesy of Pix4D

Elevation data, volumetric measurements and more can all be created to optimize the efficiency of job sites. Courtesy of Pix4D

A quick drone survey can benefit every stage of the construction process. Before construction begins, a drone can fly over a site to gather data and 3D maps of an area to better plan out a build. Once construction starts, daily or weekly autonomous drone flights can monitor the different stages of a build and help operators better manage their resources. Finally at the end of a build, a drones imagery of the final product can be compared to original plans, or shared with clients for review or marketing purposes. 

Users can analyze the movement and volume of stockpiles on site. Courtesy of Pix4D. 

Users can analyze the movement and volume of stockpiles on site. Courtesy of Pix4D. 

A drone can give users a clear picture to compare a projects current conditions versus the original plans. With a drone users can also collect data to assess reference points, elevation models, break lines and contour lines, or even to calculate volumes of stockpiles. 


REAL-TIME PROGRESS AND MONITORING

Users can get up-to-date maps of job sites. Courtesy of Pix4D

Users can get up-to-date maps of job sites. Courtesy of Pix4D

With the information collected by a drone, clients, managers, and investors can easily observe a timeline of a sites progress to keep track of work being done. The data and imagery collected can be run through software that can then create models to compare original plans with construction work, to show users how a site is progressing, and what parts of a project may be falling behind. All of the information can then be reviewed from any office around the world, without anyone having to physically step foot on a job site.

Imagery collected by a drone can create orthomosaics of potential developments. Courtesy of Pix4D

Imagery collected by a drone can create orthomosaics of potential developments. Courtesy of Pix4D

3D maps, elevation data, volumetric measurements or orthomosaics can continuously be updated on interactive maps to give users better control over work progress and keep investors and clients in the know. By closely monitoring and analyzing up-to-date imagery and data, construction projects can save large amounts of time and money, while also improving communication and collaboration between different parties to enhance planning as a site grows, and improve decision making. 


PUTTING DRONES TO WORK

Drone technology is quickly advancing, and everyday more uses for these flying robots are being discovered. Particularly in the construction industry, drones can give users the ability to monitor and track construction progress in a way never before possible. 

DRONES IN CONSTRUCTION

When it comes to the future of drone technology automation will be a key advancement. A drone will be able to automatically deploy, fly a pre-set route, and land all on its own. This way, 2D and 3D images of a job site can be collected and reviewed everyday, allowing users to easily analyze and cross-reference progress.

Courtesy of AeroVision Canada.

Courtesy of AeroVision Canada.

The applications for drone usage in the construction industry are endless, and more and more, the industry is discovering the many ways the technology can be used to reduce expenses, save time, and prevent safety hazards. With drone technology continuing to rapidly advance, usage in the construction industry is projected to skyrocket as they help to reduce expenses, improve safety, and maximize efficiency. 

 

The DJI Zenmuse Series: Taking Footage to New Heights

Stunning aerial imagery in a compact and powerful camera is the best way to describe DJI's Zenmuse line of cameras, a series designed to capture cinema-quality footage that can be taken to the skies, or held in the palm of your hand.

Left to Right: The Zenmuse X3, Z3, X5, X5R, XT

Left to Right: The Zenmuse X3, Z3, X5, X5R, XT

Zenmuse cameras are specially designed to be attached to a drone to capture stunning footage from the air, as well as shoot stabilized handheld footage via the DJI Osmo series. Stand-outs in the series include the Zenmuse X3, Z3, X5, X5R, and XT, each built with unique features to fit a wide range of usages from photography to professional industrial inspections.


The DJI ZENMUSE X3

The DJI Zenmuse X3 

The DJI Zenmuse X3 

The Zenmuse X3 was the first aerial camera released in the DJI Zenmuse line, capable of shooting high-quality HD 4K video and 12 megapixel stills to provide users with clear and crisp footage from the air. 

The X3 camera is able to record video at 4096 x 2160 (25 Frames Per Second) or 1920 x 1080 (60fps) in MP4/MOV format. Video footage shot by the X3 is stored on a Micro SD card. Users can also shoot smooth and stable footage in any direction thanks to the X3's 3-Axis 360 degree turning gimbal. 

The sensor on the camera can determine how much light the camera uses to create an image, therefore the larger the sensor is, the more details the camera will be able to collect. The X3 features a 1/2.3" CMOS sensor that is 6.17 x 4.55 in size with a 94 degree field of view. The X3 additionally comes with a 100-3200 ISO Range. 

The Zenmuse X3 can record in 4k and 1080p

The Zenmuse X3 can record in 4k and 1080p

The type of lens you use is important to the overall quality and outcome of the shot you are looking to achieve. The X3 features a rectilinear, curved 9-layer lens design to eliminate distortion, and its 20mm focal length gives shots a wider shooting angle that avoids the fish-eye look. The lens has a distortion of 0.90% compared to the X5 and X5R cameras which only have a distortion of 0.40% and features a f/2.8 focus. 

The Zenmuse X3 features a 9-layer lens

The Zenmuse X3 features a 9-layer lens

The X3 is compatible with all three versions of the Inspire 1, the Matrice 100, the Matrice 600 and the Osmo series.  Flight times with the Zenmuse X3 camera attached will vary depending on which drone the X3 is attached to.


The DJI ZENMUSE Z3

The DJI Zenmuse Z3

The DJI Zenmuse Z3

The Zenmuse Z3 is DJI's first ever aerial zoom camera that is optimized for still photography and capable of shooting 7x zoom without sacrificing image quality. 

The camera is capable of shooting at 3.5x optical zoom and 2x digital lossless zoom to create a combined zoom range of 7x. The Z3 has a focal range of 22mm to 77mm. Additionally, an adjustable field of view and adjustable focal point making it the ideal camera for industrial applications.

The Z3 features the same sensor as the Sony 1/2.3 inch sensor. The camera can shoot 30 frames per second in 4K resolution as well as shoot 12 megapixel stills. Adobe DNG Raw additionally supports advanced image editing in post-production. The camera also has a maximum aperture of F2.8 and F5.2.

The Zenmuse Z3 can record 7x lossless footage

The Zenmuse Z3 can record 7x lossless footage

The Z3 camera is compatible withe the DJI Inspire 1, the Matrice 100 and the Matrice 600. Flight times will vary depending on which drone the camera is attached to. With the Z3 the Inspire 1 can fly for 19 minutes, equipped with dual batteries the Matrice 100 can fly for approximately 30 minutes, and approximately 40 minutes attached to the Matrice 600. 


The DJI Zenmuse X5

The DJI Zenmuse X5

The DJI Zenmuse X5

As one of the most powerful cameras in the Zenmuse line, the X5 camera is powerful, compact and the first aerial Micro Four Thirds cinematic camera specifically designed for aerial photography. 

The Zenmuse X5 is capable of shooting professional, high-quality video footage. The X5 camera can shoot 4K (3840 x 2160) at up to 30fps, 2.7k (2704x1520) at up to 30fps, and Full HD (1920x 1080) at up to 60fps in MP4/MOV format. Footage can be captured directly to a Micro SD Card to enable users to easily edit and colour grade footage. 

DJI MFT Lens

DJI MFT Lens

As a Micro Four Thirds camera, the X5 functions without a focusing screen, mirror, or prism to create a comprehensive camera system that is small and compact. The MFT sensor is eight times larger then the Zenmuse X3. 

The X5 also features a MFT mount to give users the ability to easily change lenses. The X5 comes with a 15mm f1/1.7 lens but is also currently compatible with a large range of lenses to provide users with the freedom to choose the exact lens that fits the job. Currently, there are three Micro Four Thirds lenses that are compatible with the Zenmuse X5 including the Panasonic Lumix 15mm, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12mm and DJI MFT 15mm. 

All Micro Four Thirds lenses are interchangeable between other MFT camera systems

All Micro Four Thirds lenses are interchangeable between other MFT camera systems

The X5 comes with a 4/3-inch CMOS sensor of the X5 and has an ISO range of 100-25600 enabling the camera to capture highly detailed video and still footage. 

The distortion of the camera is only 0.40% compared to the X3. On the Inspire 1 Pro the X5 can stay in flight for approximately 15-18 minutes.  Lastly, the X5 features SRGB, colour looks, log, and Cine-D modes. 


 The DJI ZENMUSE X5R

The DJI Zenmuse X5R is a top of the line aerial camera capable of shooting RAW footage

The DJI Zenmuse X5R is a top of the line aerial camera capable of shooting RAW footage

The Zenmuse X5R is a Micro Four Thirds camera designed for aerial photography that can shoot 16 megapixel stills, 4K footage, all in a RAW lossless format to preserve detail and give users ultimate creative control in post-production.

The X5R camera is capable of recording 3840 x 2160 video in RAW at 30fps, keeping all of the original information recorded to give the user complete control when it comes to editing. For capturing stills the large Micro Four Thirds sensor enables the X5R to capture 16 MP stills in both JPEG and RAW. The extra pixels give operators highly detailed images, with 25% more pixels than the Zenmuse X3. The X5R also has a maximum  bitrate of 2.4Gbps. 

RAW footage gives users the freedom to edit their footage to fit their exact vision

RAW footage gives users the freedom to edit their footage to fit their exact vision

With the option of interchangeable lenses, the X5R itself comes with a 15mm f/1.7 lens. With the MFT mount, the X5R can be changed to a variety of major lens manufacturers. The X5R also features a CMOS 17.3 x 13 size sensor and has an ISO range of 100-25600.

Since the Zenmuse X5R captures footage that is lossless and uncompressed, the camera requires an SSD card for a large amount of memory storage. There is only a 0.40% distortion with the X5R and the camera shoots in SRGB, Colour Looks, CIne-D, and D-Log for extra adjustability and full control of colour grading.

The X5R can be attached to the Inspire 1, the Matrice 100, and the Matrice 600. Flight times will vary depending on which drone the X5R is attached to. 


The DJI Zenmuse XT

The DJI Zenmuse XT

The DJI Zenmuse XT

DJI partnered with leading thermal imagery company FLIR to revolutionize aerial thermal imaging. The Zenmuse XT combines DJI's advanced camera stabilization system with FLIR's state of the art thermal imagery technology. The XT camera can provide highly sensitive 50mK infrared scanning  for extremely precise footage. 

The camera can provide users with infrared scanning at 640/30fps or 335/fps depending on the camera modes. Each model comes with a choice of four lenses including 7.5mm, 9mm, 13mm, and 19mm. With the XT, there are also two different models to choose from with two different resolutions including 640 x 512 and 336 x 256. 

Thermal imagery can be used to carry out inspections more efficiently than ever before

Thermal imagery can be used to carry out inspections more efficiently than ever before

With the XT thermal camera users can detect information unseen by the naked eye. Through the technology, many different industries can utilized the data collected by a thermal camera including search and rescue, agriculture, firefighting, power line inspections and surveying. With the technology users can better detect damaged equipment, assess plant health, or spot the location of a lost victim. 

zenmuse xt industrial inspections

The Zenmuse XT can be attached to both the Inspire 1 Pro and the Matrice 100. The Inspire 1 Pro can keep the XT in the air for 22 minutes, and with the Matrice 100 for 35 minutes.


REady To Shoot

When it comes to the DJI Zenmuse line of cameras, there is no doubt that DJI rules the skies of aerial imaging.  Each camera comes with different features to ensure anyone can capture the shot they envision at the right price point. Whether your aim is to shoot professional quality RAW footage or if you are preparing to inspect a wind farm, there is a Zenmuse camera that can take your footage to new heights. 

The DJI Osmo Series: The Future of Filmmaking

DJI OSMO

With the DJI Osmo anyone can have the power to create high-quality, cinematic footage in the palm of their hands. The Osmo series, a line of combined handheld gimbal and camera units, gives users the ability to create footage that is big screen quality, in an easy-to-use portable device. 

The 3-Axis gimbal system works to actively eliminate any unwanted movement, therefore giving the camera an extremely smooth and stable range of motion. The Osmo's smooth-track technology is designed to anticipate exactly how the camera is moving and will automatically adjust to any movement in the environment. 

With a Smartphone users can monitor and record their footage via the DJI Go app and control camera settings including ISO, shutter speed and focus. The Osmo also includes many different shooting modes including long exposure, timelapse, and panorama. The system is even fully customizable and upgradeable as the line comes with a wide range of accessories to change the system depending on what you are looking to shoot.

The full line of Osmo's to date include the original DJI Osmo, Osmo Pro, Osmo+, Osmo RAW, and the Osmo Mobile, each eliminating shakiness and making it easier than ever for anyone to capture professional, Hollywood-level footage. 

The DJI OSMO

DJI Osmo

The DJI Osmo is the original Osmo that combines a fully stabilized 4K camera with a 3-Axis gimbal. The Osmo comes with the Zenmuse X3 camera, a camera that has 4K 12 megapixel quality, and an optical zoom lens. This version of the Osmo also features different shooting modes including slow motion, timelapse, and panorama. 

the DJI Osmo

With a mobile device operators can use their phone as a monitor or controller to handle the camera and its settings including ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and focus via a Wi-Fi connection. Users will also have plenty of time to shoot as the Osmo has approximately an hour of shooting time. 

The 3-Axis gimbal makes footage extremely smooth and stabilized and has a range of 320 degrees, a tilt of 35, and can pan or tilt at a rate of 120 degrees per second.

For what the system delivers in quality and control, the DJI Osmo is a well-rounded filmmaking tool that eliminates shakiness at a fair price point. 

The DJI OSMO PRO

DJI Osmo Pro

The DJI Osmo Pro comes with the same handheld gimbal system, but with a major upgrade. The Pro is equipped with the Zenmuse X5 camera, the same camera that comes with the Inspire 1 Pro. 

The Zenmuse X5 is a Micro Four Thirds camera that comes with a 15 mm f1.7 lens that is also interchangeable. The camera can shoot fully stabilized 4K 1080p video and 16 megapixel stills. 

The Osmo Pro features remote camera control through a Smartphone connected through Wi-Fi, and users can control setting via the DJI Go App. Through the app, camera setting including shutter speed, ISO, focus and aperture can be adjusted as well as movement of the camera. With the handle operators can also control the motor speed and tilt of the camera. The Osmo also features approximately 1 hour of shooting time and can automatically enter sleep mode after a set time has passed to save battery life. 

Overall the Osmo 1 Pro comes with one of the best cameras currently available on the market, and paired with the 3-Axis gimbal, the Osmo 1 Pro system is a great choice for any hobbyist or professional

The DJI Osmo+

OSMO PLUS

The DJI Osmo+ is DJI's first handheld camera system with an integrated zoom camera to give users even more freedom to capture the shot they envision. 

The Osmo+ is equipped with the Zenmuse Z3 camera and comes with the 3-Axis gimbal for ultra-smooth shooting.  The camera has a 7x zoom capability when shooting in 1080p, and 3.5x zoom when shooting in all other resolutions. The Osmo+ can also shoot in 4k HD quality, and shoot 12 megapixel stills. 

Like the other Osmos, the Osmo+'s camera settings can be controlled via a mobile device as well as used as a monitor. The system also features a wide range of camera settings including timelapse, panorama, slow motion, and long exposure. 

All together, the Osmo+ is a camera system that can get up-close and personal to the subject without sacrificing quality or stability. 

The DJI OSMO MOBILE

The DJI Osmo Mobile features DJI's innovative handheld stabilization technology, but substitutes the DJI camera for the users personal mobile device to turn any phone into a professional filmmaking tool. 

DJI OSMO MOBILE

The Osmo Mobile features a 3-Axis gimbal to eliminate any shakiness or active movement for extremely smooth and steady footage compared to holding the phone by hand. 

Any phone between 6.2 (L) x 3.1 (W) inches can be attached to the Osmo Mobile. Once a phone is attached the phone can be connected via the DJI Go app through a Wi-Fi connection.

DJI MOBILE

The handle gives users full control of the gimbal so while you are walking you can control the direction your phone is shooting. Users can also switch between front and forward facing camera positions, and the system comes with various shooting modes including timelapse, panorama and slow motion.

The Osmo Mobile can shoot for 4 and a half hours, giving shooters plenty of time to get the shot they want, and overall the Osmo Mobile is an innovative system that can turn anyones Smartphone into a filmmaking powerhouse. 

 

the DJI OSMO RAW

The DJI Osmo Raw combines the innovative Osmo stabilization system with the Zenmuse X5R camera to make a camera system that is capable of creating movie-quality footage. 

DJI OSMO RAW

The camera itself is a Micro Four Thirds camera that features uncompressed 4K video footage, 16 megapixel stills and a 15mm f.1.7 lens that is interchangeable. The X5R records CinemaDNG files and offers a D-Log mode for extra colour correction options. 

DJI  Osmo Raw

The Zenmuse X5R camera is fully stabilized thanks to the Osmo's 3-Axis gimbal, and comes with a variety of shooting modes including timelapse and slow motion. Through the handle users can pan and tilt the camera, and through the DJI Go App, camera settings can also be adjusted. 

The Osmo Raw only has under 30 minutes of shooting time, but its battery life can be extended with extra batteries or a battery charging hub. 

If you are looking for a system that can deliver the highest quality, fully stabilized footage in the palm of your hand, the Osmo Raw is the perfect piece of equipment to add to your tool kit. 


Accessories

Osmo Accessories

DJI enables users to customize their Osmo with a variety of tools and accessories to make the system one of the most flexible filmmaking tools on the market. Each accessory can expand the functionality of the Osmo, and users can choose from a wide variety of different products including, extension rods, filters, tripods and mounts. 

Microphones

The DJI FlexiMic

The DJI FlexiMic

For those looking to up their audio game, DJI has designed microphones that can be plugged into the front of the gimbal handle. The DJI FlexiMic can be plugged into the Osmo's external microphone input to give users high quality, clear audio. Another option is the Rode VideoMicro On-Camera HyperCardioid Microphone, designed to reduce surrounding sounds and focus on the audio that is being picked up in front of the camera. Additionally, users can plug in any other microphones of their choosing outside of the DJI line.  

MOUNTS

DJI Bike Mount

DJI Bike Mount

The Osmo can come along for the ride when equipped with DJI's range of mounts that can keep the camera steady whether on a surface, mounted on a car, or attached to a bike. The DJI Triple Mount Base features three powerful suction cups on its base to securely mount the Osmo to any smooth surface including the roof of a car. The Osmo Bike Mount can securely attach the Osmo to a bike for stable moving footage. There is even a mount that can enable users to add an extra microphone or light to their Osmo, called the Universal Mount.   

Lighting

The Manfrotto Lumie Art LED Light

The Manfrotto Lumie Art LED Light

Users can achieve the exact lighting they are aiming for thanks to an attachable light that can be added to the Osmo system. The Manfrotto Lumie Art LED Light is a compact, easy to attach light that can improve lighting in a variety of situations whether you are conducting an interview or taking a still photo. 

 

Batteries

Osmo Intelligent Battery

Osmo Intelligent Battery

If approximately an hour of shooting time isn't enough time to get the shot, DJI offers different intelligent batteries that can extend the Osmo's battery life. The Osmo Intelligent Battery is a battery designed specifically for the Osmo to give users more shooting time. The Osmo External Battery Extender is another useful add-on to expand the life of the Osmo and is ideal when shooting a timelapse. 

                                 EXTENSION ROD

The Osmo Extension Rod

The Osmo Extension Rod

When trying to extend the distance your camera can reach, an extension rod can easily be attached to the Osmo to give users a farther reach. The Osmo Extension Rod can be attached to the Osmo to give operators more freedom to shoot from higher reaching angles.  Attached to the Tripod the extension rod can have a stable base to hold the Osmo system in place to capture shots at a higher vantage point.

EXTRA STABILITY

DJI Z-Axis

DJI Z-Axis

If the Osmo's 3-Axis stability isn't enough, the Osmo Z-Axis can significantly reduce vertical shaking from arm movement while walking or running, and make video footage even smoother than it was before. The Z-Axis features a shock-absorber, a knob that can control the spring tension, and a tilt angle adjust button. 

TRIPOD

The Osmo Tripod 

The Osmo Tripod 

To turn the Osmo into a sedentary filmmaking tool that is secure on almost any surface, the Osmo Tripod is the perfect tool. As an added bonus the tripod is easily portible and cam be combined with the extension rod for easy timelapses.


a powerful filmmaking tool

DJI OSMO

The DJI Osmo series is the perfect handheld camera that offers highly stabilized 4K HD video in the palm of your hands. The system gives operators many options to upgrade and customize the system as well, to capture the exact shot you want. With shooting modes including timelapse and panorama, the Osmo is the ultimate go-to camera system that can be easily thrown in a bag and taken wherever the action may be.

 

 

 

 

A Complete Guide to Buying A Drone

If you're in the market for a drone its essential to know what purpose your drone will serve. Will it be a drone you intend to learn on? Or a drone that will be used on the set of a major Hollywood production? Drones can come in all shapes, sizes, brands, and models, and the sheer amount of UAV's to choose from can quickly become overwhelming. Depending on the intended use however, the choice can be easily narrowed. Whether you are a professional aerial photographer or just looking to explore the skies, here are some of our recommendations on which drone will best match your intended purpose. 


professional Filmmaking

the DJI Matrice 600

DJI Matrice 600

If you are looking to shoot aerial footage worthy of the big screen look no further than the DJI Matrice 600, a drone that DJI claims is designed specifically for Hollywood level filmmaking. The Matrice 600 is built to allow filmmakers the freedom of virtually unlimited customizability. Almost any camera or accessory can be attached to the drone to give users complete control over what equipment they choose to capture the perfect shot. The M600 is also compatible with the full DJI X series of gimbals. 

The Matrice 600 features an aluminum body, retractable landing gear, and folding carbon fibre arms. The drone is built with six propellors and motors to keep footage steady and smooth in the air. The six motors also give the drone added safety. If two motors fails the drone can still recover and safely land. 

DJI Matrice 600

A key advantage of the Matrice 600, especially in the world of professional filmmaking is its ability to be fully customized to fit the operators needs. The M600 is compatible with the entire line of DJI Zenmuse cameras, gimbals, and any other outside cameras. It is also capable of carrying a payload of up to 13.2 lbs while still maintaining stability in flight. The M600 can fly for approximately 35 minutes with the Zenmuse X5 or XT camera, and up to 16 minutes with a heavier camera such as the RED EPIC. 

The A3 Flight Controller

The A3 Flight Controller

The M600 is fully compatible with the A3 and A3 Pro flight controller which includes 3 GPS units, 3 compasses. and 3 IMUS, adding extra accuracy, reliability, and precision to the system. The M600 also comes with the Lightbridge 2 system, which can stream a long range 1080p live feed. With a dual operator option, users can additionally gain more control over their shot by having one person focus on flying while the other focus on camera control. 

Paired with the Ronin-MX, the Matrice 600 becomes an unstoppable force in aerial filmmaking. The Ronin-MX gives filmmakers extremely stable, smooth footage from the air and can spin a full 360 degrees while maintaining flight for approximately 15 minutes. The Ronin-MX can also be connected to the M600's GPS and Lightbridge 2 system and be equipped with almost any camera. 

DJI Matrice 600

Overall the Matrice 600, for $6,209.00, or $8,099.00 with the Ronin-MX, is a powerful system that is built to make shooting aerial scenes as easy as possible. With the M600 it's guaranteed that serious professional filmmakers will be completely satisfied with their end product. 

The DJI Inspire 1 RAW 

The Inspire 1 Pro RAW is made for professional filmmakers

The Inspire 1 RAW is a ready-to-fly professional filmmaking system that will elevate the quality of your footage. The key component that makes the Inspire 1 RAW perfect for filmmaking is the Zenmuse X5R, a Micro Four Thirds camera that was made specifically for professional aerial imaging. The camera can shoot in high definition 4K RAW video and comes with a 15mm f/1.7 lens. 

The DJI Go App also features a comprehensive system  that gives operators the ability to control camera setting while in flight mode, as well as features such as auto take-off and land. In manual mode users can adjust settings such as ISO , white balance, focus, shutter speed and aperture

The Inspire 1 RAW gives users up to 18 minutes of flight time to capture that perfect shot. It also has the option of dual operator control, that way one person can control the camera and completely focus on getting the right shot, while someone else concentrates on flying.

The Inspire 1 RAW features the DJI Zenmuse X5R, a 4K MFT Camera

The Inspire 1 RAW features the DJI Zenmuse X5R, a 4K MFT Camera

The gimbal works to automatically stabilize the camera while in flight by constantly communicating with the aircraft system to respond to any slight movement. The system also features Lightbridge technology which can send operators real-time 720p HD footage at a range of up to 2 kilometres. 

The RAW content gives users unlimited freedom as to how they want to work with the footage captured and will deliver quality footage on any set. At $7,289.00, the Inspire 1 RAW is a solid choice for any serious filmmaker. 


for Industrial inspections

The DJI Matrice 100

matrice 100

Designed with industrial usage in mind, the Matrice 100 is a drone that can be customized for a wide variety of industrial applications including search and rescue, mining, construction, and agriculture. Lightweight carbon fibre material gives the Matrice 100 extremely smooth, stable flights and reduces vibrations in the air. Equipped with dual batteries, the M100 also gives operators up to 40 minutes of flight time, plenty of time to carry out any task at hand.

The obstacle avoidance system called Guidance allows the drone to avoid any obstacles in its path, with sensors that reach all directions at a range of up to 65 feet. The Guidance system can also scan its surroundings in real-time and provide an accuracy within one centimetre. 

The DJI Matrice 100

What makes the DJI Matrice 100 perfect for carrying out inspections is that it can be fully customized and programmed to fit any task. The Matrice's expansion bays allow users to design the drone to their exact specifications as well as move any components around. The extra expansion bays allow users to add any accessories including sensors, cameras (including the DJI X3, X5, XT, and X5R,) or computing boards. The drone is also fully expandable, coming with a wide range of power and data ports. With DJI SDK, users can even develop customized programs and apps to fit their exact needs. 

The Matrice 100 expansion bays

The Matrice 100 expansion bays

The DJI Matrice 100 at $4,454.00, is the drone made to be built the way you want. Fully customizable and programmable, the DJI Matrice 100 is the perfect drone for any researcher and developer looking to tackle the next major inspection in their industry. 


The Hobbyist

the DJI Phantom 4

The DJI Phantom 4 features a clean, streamlined designed. 

The DJI Phantom 4 features a clean, streamlined designed. 

The Phantom 4 is popularly dubbed the drone that anyone can fly. The drone features a streamlined design that focuses on being as user-friendly as possible. With a fresh design, new obstacle avoidance system, and flight modes, the Phantom 4 is the perfect choice for any drone pilot looking for an effortless flying experience. 

DJI Phantom 4

The body of the Phantom 4 is made with high quality magnesium material that reduces vibrations in flight and moves the drones weight to its centre of gravity for added stability. The Phantom 4 also features a longer battery life than its predecessor with a flight time of up to 28 minutes, giving pilots more time to enjoy the views. The gimbal on the Phantom 4 even features a new U-Frame design to keep footage balanced and steady for extremely level footage. When it comes to the camera, the Phantom 4 can capture 4k video footage and 12 megapixel RAW photos. 

Front-facing obstacle avoidance sensors

Front-facing obstacle avoidance sensors

Any pilot looking to fly drones as a hobby will be thankful for the Phantom 4's effective obstacle avoidance system which is made to intelligently avoid or stop in place if an object is seen in its path. The system features 2 front facing cameras, as well as two on the bottom. A downside is that the system is limited to only being able to sense objects in front of the drone so pilots should not completely depend on it. 

Phantom 4 ActiveTrack

An added bonus is that the Phantom 4 holds two brand new intelligent modes called Tap to Fly , Sports Mode and ActiveTrack. In Tap to Fly users can tap any spot on their screen and have the drone automatically fly to that specific place, and automatically capture certain shots while maintaining the same speed. In Sports Mode the Phantom 4 can reach an incredible 72 kilometres per hour at full tilt. In ActiveTrack, operators can tap on any object on their screen and actively follow the object while keeping it in the centre of the shot. 

For any hobbyist the Phantom 4 which retails at $1,620.00, is the best drone out there in its price range. Its user-friendly system and new features make it a great choice for anyone looking for a dependable, powerful, and easy-to-use system.

The Yuneec Typhoon H

Yuneec Typhoon H

The Yuneec Typhoon H is an extremely powerful drone that is the first drone to rise to level of the DJI dominated market. The Typhoon H is a hexacopter with six rotors, which means that the drone can continue to fly even if it loses a propeller or motor. The six rotors also mean that the drone is extremely safe and smooth in flight, especially when it comes to shooting pan shots. 

Yuneec Typhoon H

The Typhoon H features a solid plastic body and carbon fibre arms which help keep the drone lightweight but still sturdy in the air. The drone is also designed to be extremely compact, with foldable arms making it easy to pack up and transport. The foldable arms give the drone an added safety feature, as the arms will collapse on compact if the drone collides with an object. The propellors are also small, flexible, and use a quick disconnect system to easily allow the user to attach and detach their props. 

The Typhoon H features folding arms and 6 propellers

The Typhoon H features folding arms and 6 propellers

The Typhoon H can fly up to 35 kilometres per hour and reach a height of up to 1.6 kilometres. Users will get plenty of air time with the Typhoon H as it can fly for up to 25 minutes. The drone also features a built-in obstacle avoidance system that uses front-facing ultrasonic sensors avoid collisions in the air, even if flying in the dark. 

For hobbyists looking to use their drone primarily for shooting purposes, the Typhoon H comes with a 12 megapixel, 4k camera that can turn 360 degrees. The 3-axis CGO3+ gimbal is also steady when turning, and provides extremely smooth footage. 

A battery,  Typhoon H, secondary Wizard remote, and built-in touch screen controller. 

A battery,  Typhoon H, secondary Wizard remote, and built-in touch screen controller. 

A key difference between the Typhoon H and other drones in the market is that it comes with its own dedicated controller with a built-in 7=inch touchscreen, so users do not have to go out and buy a tablet or Smartphone to start flying their drone at additional cost. The controller can even function with two operators, as the package comes with a secondary Wizard controller that can take-off, fly, and land the drone. This way, one person can fly the drone as the other shoots. 

For the price of $1,754.99, the Typhoon H is an extremely powerful and sophisticated system. It is the most compact hexacopter there is, and with six rotors, the Typhoon H gives pilots an added safety factor so hobbyists can focus on the fun. 


The Beginner 

The Phantom 3 Standard

Phantom 3 Standard

When purchasing your first drone, a new flyer will want to buy something that isn't too pricey but also doesn't sacrifice in quality. That is why the DJI Phantom 3 Standard is the perfect choice for someone just starting out.

The Phantom 3 Standard is simple to learn on and still includes a wide array of intelligent features. With up to 25 minutes of flight time beginners will have a good amount of time to practise their flying. 

Phantom 3 Standard

The Standard provides users with a 2.7K 720p real-time HD view. Even though the drone only has 2.7k video, the camera is still of high quality and perfect for someone just starting out. 

For beginners, a big advantage of the Phantom 3 Standard is its built-in flight simulator in the DJI Go App, which can help users learn how to operate the drone and controls. The app is easy to use and gives new pilots a chance to practise flying there drone without the risk. 

For anyone at the beginning of their drone journey, the Phantom 3 Standard is a great training drone that is easy to pick up and fly. With a well-rounded system, and a fair price point at $679.00, the Phantom 3 Standard is the perfect drone for any beginner. 


professional Photography

The DJI Inspire 1 Pro

For any professional photographer, the DJI Inspire 1 Pro delivers a ready-to-fly system that won't disappoint when it comes to capturing the highest quality footage possible. The Inspire 1 Pro is extremely stable and smooth in the air, and features carbon fibre arms and retractable landing gear. The system is also built with a dual operator set-up, and can stay in the air for approximately 19 minutes, giving photographers plenty of time to perfect their shot.  

The Inspire 1 Pro was built to capture professional aerial photos

The Inspire 1 Pro was built to capture professional aerial photos

What makes the Inspire 1 Pro the perfect companion for any serious photographer is its camera. The Pro comes equipped with the Zenmuse X5 camera, a Micro Four Thirds camera with a large sensor which can also turn a full 360 degrees. The package also includes a 15 mm 7/1.5 lens and features a 3-Axis gimbal. The drone even comes with 4k video and can capture photo stills at 16 megapixel resolution. 

The DJI Zenmuse X5 camera

The DJI Zenmuse X5 camera

Via the DJI Go App operators can have full control over the camera settings while in the air. Straight from the controller, users can adjust shutter speed, ISO, white balance, focus, and exposure without having to land the drone.  The Inspire 1 Pro also comes with the DJI Lightbridge system and can provide operators with a live  HD feed.

The Inspire 1 Pro is DJI's self-proclaimed drone designed with professionals in mind. At $4,500, photographers will have a powerful system that is easy to pick up and fly, and a camera that won't disappoint when it comes to delivering the highest quality imagery possible. 


Ready for take-off

Looking for the perfect drone to match your needs can no doubt be an overwhelming process. As drone technology continues to rapidly advance the selection of drones to choose from will only grow, but with proper research the hunt can be easily narrowed. With our recommendations we hope users will have the best flying experience possible, whether they are shooting aerials for the next Hollywood blockbuster or just beginning to test their piloting skills. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Drones are Taking Over Hollywood

From Spectre, to The Wolf of Wall Street, Hollywood is quickly turning to drone technology to give audiences a new perspective on the action. Aerial shots that were once reserved for big budget productions are now accessible to anyone from hobbyists to independent filmmakers.  With their maneuverability in the air, filmmakers now have more freedom to create fresh and innovative shots at a fraction of the cost and time spent shooting. It is clear that as more productions begin adding drones to their filmmaking toolkits, drone technology will soon become a permanent fixture in the industry. 

A New Vantage Point

Darryl Duzak, aerial cinematographer and pilot at Skyline Studio, a company specializing in cinema quality aerial cinematography and video production, currently working on the upcoming television series The Mist,  says he recognized the value drones brought to a set thanks to their ease of use, agility, and low cost. After seeing the technological hole in the market, Duzak decided to take advantage of the emerging new platform. 

Courtesy of Skyline Studio

A drone in the air can push the creative boundaries of filmmakers as they open up new opportunities to capture shots that were never before possible due to the limitations of a helicopter or a crane. With a drone, many innovative shots can be captured to ultimately allow for more artistic flexibility. 

"Drones are bridging the gap between camera cranes on the ground and helicopters in the air," said Duzak. "It allows that level between 40 and 400 feet to be filled unlike anything before it, and enables me to add a needed new perspective in modern day film and television." 

Safety and Savings

On a set, safety is the number one focus, and in the past aerial shots were traditionally shot by either a crane or a helicopter. Not only were helicopters more technically limited in the shots they could capture, they also posed more risk to human safety. With a drones, many of those safety risks are eliminated and any potential risks are made much smaller in scale and impact. 

Courtesy of DJI

Courtesy of DJI

In comparison to a manned vehicle, aerial shots with a drone are cheaper and easier to execute. Productions no longer need to spend large amounts of their budget on a helicopter rental which can save thousands of dollars. According to Duzak, renting a helicopter can cost approximately $10,000 a day. In contrast, renting a drone for an 8 hour day is substantially less. "You can rent a drone and keep it on set all day," said Duzak. "That way you can get the shots that you want, pick up any other shots you may envision along the way, and finish with time to spare. You get much more bang for your buck." 

Another advantage of using a drone is that you can drastically reduce the amount of time needed to set up and shoot footage. A drone only requires 3 operators to work on set including a pilot, a camera operator, and a ground observer. "A drone leaves a small footprint and provides optimal efficiency on set," said Duzak. "You can work very fast to get in, get the shots you want, and than move on to the next scene. This can drastically reduce filming days and cut down on the amount of time needed to set up a shot."

Film and Television 

Drones are quickly becoming the go to tool of filmmakers around the world. Many modern day Hollywood blockbusters are taking advantage of what they have to offer. Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street used a drone to film an aerial shot of a party scene set at a lavish mansion, and the The Expendables 3 used drone technology to film various action sequences throughout the movie. 

In television, the HBO hit series Game of Thrones used drones to capture aerials in a closed indoor set, something that would not have been possible with a helicopter or a crane. Even some music videos are now utilizing drone technology including Mary J. Blige's Doubt and OK Go's video I Won't Let You Down.  

WORLD WIDE WEB

The cinematic footage shot by drones is beginning to take the web by storm. Professional photographers, filmographers, and hobbyists alike are using drone footage to reinvigorate their work in the viral market. Many creators in the online world such as YouTuber Casey Neistat, are using drones to give their content a more cinematic feel. 

A drone video shot by Gary Brinton, owner and photographer of Brinton Photography, recently went viral after Brinton was able to capture the rare site of a pod of humpback whales while on a whale watching trip with his wife. The whales rarely appear near boats, but on this occasion stayed by the boat for approximately an hour. "They seemed to be curious, rolling and swimming under the boat and really interacting with us," said Brinton. 

When the whales appeared, Brinton used his DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, as well as the DJI Osmo, to capture hours of stunning footage. Brinton says the drone gave him the ability to view the whales from a point of view that fully captured their scale. "With the drone we were able to see those whales at their full size right up against the boat," he said. "It gave me the ability to get the type of shots someone would never be able to get otherwise." 

DOCUMENTARIES

Big budget film and television productions are not the only ones taking advantage of drone technology. Their affordability, portability, and ability to capture high quality footage makes them especially valuable to documentary filmmakers. 

Many documentaries tell stories in settings that can be extremely difficult to film in, but it is in those environments that drone technology can really shine. A drones ability to quietly shoot footage in a far less invasive and disruptive way in contrast to traditional methods make it the perfect tool for filming subjects such as animals or wildlife. Many recently released documentaries on the topics of wildlife and nature including the Planet Earth series, and the David Attenborough narrated 3D nature series Conquest of the Skies have used drones to film their aerial shots. 

LIVE EVENTS

Drone footage can record live sports for future analyzation. Courtesy of DJI

Drone footage can record live sports for future analyzation. Courtesy of DJI

Sports organizations are beginning to use drones to film live sports events including surfing, snowboarding, and football to give audiences a front row seat. Drone footage is even being collected to be further analyzed for future games. During the 2016 Rio Olympics, drones were used to film the opening ceremony as well as various sports events. Drones have also been used to film the X Games and Formula One races. 

Many music festivals and concerts are also starting to use drones to capture the full scale of their events. This year, the Burning Man festival used a Phantom 3 Pro to create a stunning video that captured the full scope and energy of the event. 

Forging a new cinematic frontier 

The film and television industry is quickly taking notice of what drones are capable of achieving, but their full potential has still not been realized. Regulations around the world still need to catch up to this fast advancing technology. "To work at a professional level one definitely needs to uphold regulations, attain proper insurance, and receive proper training," said Duzak. 

The New York City Drone Film Festival, recognizes those in the film community who use drone technology in their work with categories including; News and Documentary, Architecture, Landscape, as well as a Showreel Category. 

Though drones are quickly solidifying there place as an essential piece of equipment on set, improvements can still be made. While carrying a larger payload with a limited battery life, filmmakers are restricted when it comes to shooting lengthier shots. According to Duzak, longer flight times and battery life would be key features to improve on in the future. 

As time goes on drones will continue to wow audiences with stunning and dynamic footage from the air, but the real benefactors will be those behind the camera who now have a tool to shoot footage in new and creative ways. With a drones capability to get as close or as far away from the action as possible, directors have more opportunity to expand their vision of a shot and heighten the production value of filmmaking.

Why Drones are the Future of Search and Rescue

Drones can be easily deployed to assist crews in emergency response scenerios. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

Drones can be easily deployed to assist crews in emergency response scenerios. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

Drones are flying to the rescue in the emergency response sector, helping police record and analyze crime scenes, and assisting search and rescue teams in identifying victims lost in the wilderness. Not only can a drone collect precise, detailed footage and data from the air, it can also help crews cut down on expenses, keep workers safe, and ultimately speed up efforts in a sector where every second counts. 

First response crews can better react and respond to emergency situations with an extra set of eyes in the sky. With the correct equipment, a drone can provide crews with footage that gives them an aerial advantage, without having to spend resources on expensive manned aerial flights. An infrared camera can detect heat signatures to help search and rescue crews quickly identify victims, as well as map out and monitor areas in need of response. A thermal camera can also be attached to a drone to help crews see through thick canopy coverage in the wilderness and as a night vision tool so missions can carry on once the sun sets. 

According to Mike Johnson, regional emergency management coordinator for Cumberland County NS, utilizing drones in the emergency response sector is extremely advantageous due to their ability to view hard to areas and keep workers out of harm's way. Not only do drones provide information that can better protect rescue teams, Johnson says they are also a much more cost-effective way to carry out searches versus traditional methods such as manned flights or on-foot scouting. "Helicopters can be several hundred dollars an hour, whereas a drone can be bought outright and used over and over again," he said. "Aerial searches for lost persons can be very costly, drones aid support in search and rescue efforts for a fraction of the cost, risk and resources." 

Search and Rescue

The wilderness can attract many of those who love the outdoors, but that also means that there is a greater chance that something could go wrong. When something does, search and rescue workers face extreme challenges including weather, difficult terrain, and remote locations. 

Courtesy of Flikr

"Drones can give us the ability to assess and plan missions in search areas that could have potential safety issues," said Johnson. "With a drone we can gain the ability to access areas that are covered in canopy, or collect data and put together updated trail locations that don't even exist on Google Earth." 

Courtesy of DJI

Courtesy of DJI

A drone can carry out extensive searches over large plots of land in minutes, in contrast to on-foot searches which can take hours to complete. With the ability to fly at low levels usually limited by a helicopter, a drone can provide crews with a high definition live-video feed that can be replayed in order to increase the chances of finding a victim. A thermal camera can also give crews the ability to search at night, and detect the heat signature of victims through areas of low visibility. 

Drones can even be used to drop in medical supplies, food, and water to keep victims in the best possible condition before rescue crews are able to save them. New technology is also being developed to give drones the ability to assess the trajectory of victims lost in the wilderness, better detect and recognize faces, and memorize trails. 

Natural Disasters

Drone technology saw widespread usage throughout many of the most modern natural disasters, including most recently by news organizations using drones to film and report on the Louisiana flooding disaster in the United States . During natural disasters, drones can be used to assess structural damage on buildings, analyze environmental damage, create 3D models, and to spot victims potentially still trapped in a disasters aftermath.

According to Johnson, a big advantage of using drones in natural disaster scenarios is the easy to attain new perspective from above the ground. "Drones give us the ability to see into an area where there is an issue going on and give us a bigger picture view," he said. "The ability to view a larger picture of a situation so crews can shorten the amount of time it takes to assess a situation is invaluable." 

The AeroVision team in Ecuador. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

The AeroVision team in Ecuador. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

Trevor Bergmann, general manager of AeroVision Canada, a Halifax-based company that specializes in commercial asset inspection, says drones are a valuable tool to help search and rescue teams make more informed decisions on how to respond to emergency situations. Just this year, the AeroVision Canada team travelled to the coast of Ecuador after a major earthquake. Working alongside local government authorities, AeroVision used the DJI Inspire 1 Pro to assess structural damage made to buildings as well as look out for victims still potentially trapped in the earthquakes aftermath. 

The AeroVision team assessing structural damage. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

The AeroVision team assessing structural damage. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

According to Bergmann, the information collected by a drone can be used in numerous ways to improve the efficiency of response crews. "A drone can be used for visual reference and inspection, thermal scanning, and airborne laser scanning to check structural integrity," he said. Ultimately, Bergmann says drones are a tool that can help authorities find quick solutions in the wake of a natural disaster. "You can get data faster, make decisions faster, and ultimately respond faster."

A drone can be deployed to create 3D models to regularly monitor areas prone to natural disasters such as landslides, hurricanes or floods so that emergency response crews can better plan for, and respond to disasters. With real-time thermal imagery a drone can also be sent into a natural disaster event such as a hurricane to collect data for researchers to study in order to better understand their behaviours. 

 Fire Rescue 

Courtesy of Flikr

Courtesy of Flikr

Within minutes of arrival, a drone can scan over a fire to help firefighters extinguish flames faster and safer than ever before.  Equipped with an HD camera, a drone can capture a live video feed to provide firefighters with a real-time overview of the scope of a fire and whether or not it is spreading. "Not only does a drone give them a different perspective, you can carry out live fire monitoring, thermal hot spot detection, as well as the initial survey of a major structure before they send people in," said Bergmann.

Courtesy of DJI

Courtesy of DJI

A drone attached with a thermal camera can detect temperatures so firefighting crews can obtain clear information on the environment they are being sent into. "With a drone, firefighters can detect hot spots and measure the temperature inside of a structure to help crews make smarter decisions and efficiently put out the fire," said Bergmann. A thermal camera can additionally track the path of flames and quickly scan over large areas of ground for missing victims who could still be trapped. Images collected can also be geo-tagged and sent back to crews so that they can better monitor a fire and and plan out how they will extinguish it. 

Data and footage collected by a drone can also serve as an important asset when it comes to future investigation. "The information you can collect with a drone is information that you can have forever," said Bergmann. "The data is usable in court, for further regulatory experiments of where they want to change regulations, or for insurance purposes." 

Future advancements in drone technology will have them working more autonomously to put out flames. Further research is currently being conducted to have drones carry in water to remote locations in the event of a wildfire and even act as flying fire extinguishers to help firefighters put out flames in hard to reach areas. 

Law Enforcement

Courtesy of FLIR

Courtesy of FLIR

A drone can serve and protect by providing police with an extra set of eyes in the sky to keep law enforcement and the public safer. With a drone in the air, police can better detect unseen danger without putting anyone in harm's way. According to Bergmann, a drone can act as a pre-flight to an event so police can better plan and respond to events such as terrorist, hostage, or chase situations. 

Courtesy of FLIR

Courtesy of FLIR

With the right equipment attached, a drone can help investigators record, analyze and assess crime scenes. "It's extremely important that police get the right amount of information and detail to paint a perfect visual presentation of what happened at a crime scene," said Bergmann. A drone's capability to create highly accurate 3D models and surveys of an area means that authorities can attain data to be used in court, or for further investigation and analyzation.

A thermal camera attached to a drone can even assist police in pinpointing grow ops. By analyzing temperatures of suspected grow ups, police can determine whether or not to further pursue an investigation. "Police can read the heat signature of a home," said Bergmann. "If it's the middle of the summer and there is a house that is 40 degrees' that is clear indicator to police to investigate further." 

Flying to the Rescue 

Drones could soon be as essential as ambulances when it comes to the future of emergency response missions. "Drone usage is becoming more and more popular simply because of the costs and time saved," said Johnson. "In contrast to putting a helicopter in the air they are a lot less expensive, and you can attach equipment to a drone that can better server your needs at a fraction of the cost." 

Future advancements will increase the length of time in which a drone can fly as well as allow drones to carry a heavier payload to send in fresh water, food, and medicine to help victims survive emergency events. Image recognition and mapping algorithms will also play an increased part in the role drones play in emergency response scenarios. 

Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

Though drones can never replace a rescuer it will be one more tool in a crew's arsenal to collect information to better assess dangerous situations and save lives.  "We are seeing the prices coming down, the technology getting better, and increasingly more user-friendly," said Bergmann. With all of the quick evolving advancements in drone technology, the potential for drones in the emergency response sector is only going to reach new heights.  

How Drones Are Revolutionizing the Energy Industry

Energy industry sectors like solar, wind, oil and gas, rely on inspections to maintain safety standards to effectively power the world, but those inspections can take large amounts of time and money to carry out. With drones flying overhead utility sites, damage on everything from wind turbines to solar panels can quickly be identified, preventing potential problems before they grow. With information collected by a drone, abnormalities and damage can be quickly pinpointed, progress can be monitored,  and everything from orthomosaics, to elevation data, and 3D maps can be created. 

According to Andrew Deakin, president of Hawkeye Drone Services, a company that specializes in aerial inspections, mapping monitoring, and data collection, infrastrucutre operators are quickly realizing the benefits drones can provide. “As people get more educated on the technology of drones they are starting to realize that drones are a much faster and safer method of inspecting,” he said.

drone solar inspection

More Efficiency Than Ever

Traditionally, operations such as gas facilities, solar farms, and remote oil fields were inspected by planes, helicopters and professional climbers. 

“When it came to inspections it used to be that consultants would take up large amounts of time to create a safety document and then send specialized personel out to look at a bridge, windmill, or turbine," said Deakin. "With a drone these safety risks are virtually eliminated."

A drones ability to inspect areas that are hard to reach, as well as save on expenses and insurance can help companies better manage their properties and gather more accurate information than ever before at the push of a button. “With reduced inspection times, operators can focus more on the information at hand and get a better picture of their operations. They don’t need to spend a bunch of money, time, and days looking at something that can be done in a couple of hours with a drone."

Wind Energy

wind farm

When it comes to drone inspections in the wind energy sector, the market is driven by the large amount of blades that need to be regularly monitored for deterioration and damage. According to a report by Navigant Research, by the beginning of last year there were nearly 270,000 individual wind turbines operating around the world.

Courtesy of Pix4D

Courtesy of Pix4D

Deakin says he expects the demand of drones for wind turbine inspections to increase significantly in the future. “Industrial climbers can’t safely get out to the blades to look at them, and when it comes to blade inspections, industrial climbers put themselves in very dangerous working conditions,"said Deakin. “Depending on what the drone is equipped with, you can get a really detailed 1 mm per pixel quality image to record assets and pinpoint damage. That is a huge safety factor because workers don't have to be sent out to dangerous places and operators can receive data quickly and efficiently." 

A drone in the air above a wind turbine site can gather information and images to be used for monitoring, mapping, planning, and structural analysis. With a thermal camera attached to a drone visual inspections can be carried out to detect conductor hot spots or broken insulators. Corona discharge, fluid being ionized around an electrically charged conductor, can also be spotted with a UV camera, to indicate broken hardware such as insulators or conductors. As well, a drone can be used to map out and create 3D images so that engineers and operators can get a more detailed view of damage such as cracks or erosion without having to stop turbines from spinning.

Solar Energy

Courtesy of Pix4D

Courtesy of Pix4D

The life span of solar panels depend on regular and efficient maintenance, and because solar farms run over expansive areas of land, inspections can take large amounts of time and money. With a drone survey, inspections costs can be cut in half so companies can increase their efficiencies and better stay on top of operation maintenance. 

Traditionally, when it came to solar inspections, operators would rely on long and tedious on-foot surveys in which inspectors would walk through farms carrying handheld infrared cameras. "With a solar inspection people would have to inspect and record information on the ground which can take lots of time and money, A drone speeds up that process at half the cost," said Deakin.

Another traditional method would have operators use manned aerial flights at low levels to survey solar farms with a thermal camera. Not only would this method take a lot of time and money, it would place employees in unsafe conditions. "Today, solar farm, operators can have drone technology quickly and easily take picture and video footage of installations and analyze up-to-date timelines of farms as they are maintained, without putting anyone in a risky situation," said Deakin.

solar farm

Solar panels can easily be damaged, and their efficiency hindered, due to effects of weather, moisture intrusion or dust. With programmed waypoints, drone surveys can be performed and replicated to pinpoint damage and provide operators with up-to-date imagery of damage, cracks, or shading. Not only can a drone detect damage on a solar panel, it can also monitor the panels efficiency as well. "The best way to utilize a drone for inspecting solar panels is to attach a thermal camera for hot spot detection," said Deakin. With an infrared camera, defects and temperature imbalances on solar panels can be easily identified to allow operators to quickly order repairs, and keep operations running at maximum efficiency. In contrast to traditional inspections methods, drone surveys are a fast and economical way to stay on top of maintenance, and keep solar farms running at optimal efficiency. 

Oil and Gas 

Courtesy of Pix4D

Courtesy of Pix4D

The oil and gas industry relies heavily on inspecting its infrastructure to meet strict government standards. With all of the advantages drones can provide the industry, these mini flying machines could soon be seen on almost every oil rig and pipeline site around the world.  

The industry is already taking advantage of the technology as they currently use drones to detect damage, corrosion, and any other potential maintenance problems on their properties. A drone can collect footage to create a  georeferenced orthomosaic of entire gas plant sites, produce up-to-date timelines and high resolution maps, and do it all in just a few hours while keeping operations running and keeping costs down.  “Drones can be used in a number of ways for surveying when it comes to the oil and gas industry,” said Deakin. “A drone can be flown to monitor installations, track resources, assess safety requirements, and coordinate activities of a job site, as the project continues giving operators an up-to-date timeline.”

Courtesy of Pix4D

Courtesy of Pix4D

Drone usage in the oil and gas sector is especially advantageous due to the added safety factor of not having to send employees into dangerous locations typically associated with the oil and gas sector. Previous to drones, inspecting hard to reach areas would pose extreme risk and difficulty to employees. "A climber used to have to physically climb inside of a holding tank. Now a drone services operator can go in with a drone, create maps, take pictures, and even create a 3D model," said Deakin. By flying a drone, oil and gas operators can easily attain images of flare stack heads to identify structural damage and abnormalities without having to send an industrial climber into risky situations. 

Courtesy of AeroVision

Courtesy of AeroVision

Pipelines are another operation that must be constantly monitored to search for potential leaks. A drone flying overhead pipelines can save on expenses and cut inspection times in half.  And with a thermal camera, temperature differences between soil and fluid can be detected so oil and gas leaks can be identified. Deakin advised, “With thermal images you can even use the data to detect tank levels of oil or any leaks." With the use of a drone and specialized software, oil and gas operators can have 3D maps and surveys done to compare where a pipeline is going versus where the engineers originally planned it.

Inspecting Power Lines

Drones are also poised to improve inspections on power lines at less cost and less risk. A survey with a drone can easily pinpoint storm damage or overgrown vegetation to restore power as quickly as possible.  "A drone can fly out to survey effortlessly, and then a power company can look at that footage and see what sections need to be cleared of trees ," said Deakin.

power lines

Previous to drone technology, helicopters or industrial climbers would have to perform inspections on power lines. Not only would this pose a risk to employees, it was also a much slower and costly process. Industrial climbers would have to climb posts to access power lines, and helicopters would be extremely expensive and intrusive. In contrast to manned aerial vehicles or placing people in dangerous situations, drones are a much safer, quieter, and environmentally friendly alternative. 

With high quality imagery, operators can assess the condition of power lines, to prevent damage and potential outages from occurring. A drone performing routine and regular inspections with pre-programmed waypoints can also provide high quality imagery from optimal perspectives, and give operators a detailed analysis of any malfunctions.  

Prepare for Take-off

Laws and regulations relating to the usage of drones will play a key role in the advancement of drone technology, especially when it comes to performing industry inspections. Currently, laws in some European countries allow drones to go beyond the line of site, and other countries like Canada currently have more open policies when it comes to their own drone regulations. With more safety improvements, strict regulations on where drones are able to fly will ease up, but in order for drones to truly take-off, regulations will need to catch up.

When it comes to the future of drone technology, automation is going to be a key advancement in the years to come. Drones can already take-off, fly, and land with pre-programmed waypoints, but they could soon also recharge themselves by automatically landing on a charging pad.  

With all of the benefits drones can provide, it is in the utilities sector where we could see the most growth in the adoption of drone technology, and Deakin hopes that industries across the board continue to move toward the technology in the future. "My hope is that industries realize that drones are cost-effective, faster than standard practices, and much safer," he said.  As clean energy continues to increase, innovative drone technologies will help to improve onsite efficiency, extend equipment lifetimes, and prevent damage before it grows,  all from a single flying machine in the air.

 

 

 

 

 

DJI Matrice 600: Review

The DJI Matrice 600 is made for filmmakers and industry professionals.

The DJI Matrice 600 is made for filmmakers and industry professionals.

If you're looking to capture professional cinema grade aerial shots, DJI's self-proclaimed first heavy lifter, the Matrice 600, could be the next drone on your radar. Newly released earlier this year, the M600 is a hexacopter made for filmmakers and other industry professionals looking to shoot the next cinematic masterpiece. Though the Matrice 600 trumps other drones in terms of size, it is designed to be just as easy to set up and fly.

The Matrice 600 is designed with six rotors for extra redundancy and stability. It also comes with six batteries for an extended flight time and extra safety in the air. With the Zenmuse X5 or XT camera, the M600 has a flight time of up to 35 minutes, and with the Ronin-MX or a heavier payload, a flight time of approximately 16 minutes. 

The Matrice is capable of carrying a payload of up to 13.2 lbs, and is compatible with all of the DJI Zenmuse line of cameras and gimbals. The M600 also comes with the A3 flight control system, which is upgradable to the A3 Pro flight controller. Fully customizable and designed with all of the latest technologies, the Matrice 600 is a powerful system that delivers when it comes to shooting footage worthy of the big screen. 

Design and Performance

The DJI Matrice 600 with Ronin MX carrying the Sony α6300

The DJI Matrice 600 with Ronin MX carrying the Sony α6300

Ready to set up and use in minutes, the Matrice 600 is designed for maximum durability and easy maintenance. The M600 features an aluminum body, manually retractable landing gear, and foldable carbon fibre arms. The retractable landing gear ensures that the legs won't show up in footage, while the foldable carbon fibre arms provide extra stability and portability. The Matrice's six propellers are also carbon fibre reinforced to help keep them extra stiff. 

DJI Matrice 600 with Arms Folded

DJI Matrice 600 with Arms Folded

With six actively cooled motors, flights are smooth and stable.  The Matrice 600 is equipped with the E2000 Tuned Propulsion System that includes the 6010 Motors and 2170 Propellers. Due to the large motors and propellers the Matrice can lift a heavy payload and still stay quiet in the air. The six motors also make flying much safer. If a motor fails the drone can recover itself and safely land. 

DJI E2000 Tuned Propulsion System

DJI E2000 Tuned Propulsion System

Another key advantage of the Matrice 600's design is its limitless customization options. All of DJI's line of gimbals and cameras are supported by the M600 system. This gives operators the ultimate freedom to customize the Matrice to fit their exact needs. 

When it comes to cruising through the air the M600 is very steady yet agile, especially for its size. The maximum speed of the Matrice 600 is 64.8 kilometres per hour.  The M600 can fly at a maximum altitude of 2500 metres above sea level. The M600 also has a maximum ascent time of 8 kilometres per hour and a maximum descent time of 4.8 kilometres per hour. 

Flight Controller and App Control

Complete and accurate control is what you will get with the Matrice 600. The M600 comes with the revolutionary A3 flight controller as well as the Lightbridge 2 system. The Lightbridge 2 system can stream long range 1080p live feed and supports dual video input and dual operator setups, one for flight and one for camera control. 

The A3 Flight Controller

The A3 Flight Controller

A3 GPS Compass Pro

A3 GPS Compass Pro

The A3 flight controller has built-in failsafe measures for loss of signal, low power and even propulsion failure of upto three motors. In the event of a propulsion failure, the aircraft yaws continuously and the A3 automatically switches to Home-lock for landing the aircraft safely in an emergency. Operators can also choose to upgrade to the A3 Pro version which can be enhanced with 2 additional IMUs and GPS units for triple redundancy and even more accuracy.

In addition, users can purchase the D-RTK GNSS system, which possesses centimetre level position accuracy and can withstand interference from metal. 

DJI Lightbridge 2

DJI Lightbridge 2

The Matrice 600 supports the DJI Go app and the DJI Assistant 2. The app gives users a built-in flight simulator, HD view, battery level status, redundancy status, transmission strength, and more. With the app and the simplified Lightbridge 2 Remote Controller, flying a big, heavy lifting drone has never been easier. Operators can also control camera settings including shutter speed, ISO, aperture and focus. The DJI Assistant 2 makes firmware updates and configuration a breeze and also has a built-in flight simulator. There is also a new Ground Station app in the works for collaborative tasks with multiple Matrice 600 aircrafts.

DJI Matrice 600 Remote Controller

DJI Matrice 600 Remote Controller

Battery Life

The Matrice 600 TB47S 

The Matrice 600 TB47S 

A long battery life is a huge benefit for any filmmaker looking to perfect and capture their vision on camera. The Matrice 600 functions with six DJI Intelligent Batteries, giving it the power to lift heavy weight and keep the system running. Additionally, the six batteries give the Matrice 600 extra safety in the air. If a battery fails mid-flight, the M600 will be able to recalculate its remaining capacity, then hover in position or land automatically. 

The M600 will only take-off if all six batteries are installed on the drone. All of the batteries can be turned on and off with the push of one button. The Matrice 600's battery life varies depending on the payload and environmental conditions. It can fly for approximately 35 minutes with a Zenmuse X5 or XT camera, and up to 16 minutes with a heavier camera such as the RED EPIC.

Gimbal Selection

Though the Matrice 600 doesn't come with a gimbal itself, it gives operators the opportunity to select the exact gimbal they want for their drone. The M600 is compatible with DJI's full Zenmuse gimbal line, allowing for a wide range of cameras to be used including the Zenmuse X3, X5, XT, and any other third party cameras. 

DJI Ronin MX Camera Mount with Sony α 6300

DJI Ronin MX Camera Mount with Sony α 6300

Combined, the Matrice 600 and the Ronin-MX make an unstoppable pairing. The Ronin-MX is made with aluminum, can turn 360 degrees, and can support any camera. The Ronin-MX is also capable of connecting to the Matrice 600's GPS system as well as the Lightbridge 2 system.

Customizability

There is plenty of room for customization when it comes to the M600. DJI provides users with SDK support to create their own custom mobile apps. The Matrice 600 also features multiple expansion ports to give users complete flexibility and control when it comes to customizing their drone. The M600 features dual parallel CAN and API ports for connecting DJI devices such as the Guidance system, the D-RTK GNSS units, or any other third party components. 

The M600 also allows operators to pick and choose their perfect gimbal or camera. The Matrice is compatible with the full Zenmuse line as well as any other third party cameras. 

Payload

A stand-out feature of the Matrice 600 is its ability to carry a large payload.  The M600 can lift up to 13.2 lbs while still maintaining stability and redundancy in the air. For filmmakers and other professionals, the benefit of being able to carry a heavy payload is a huge advantage of the Matrice 600, as it provides more opportunity for users to customize their drone with different gimbals, cameras, and accessories. 

Unlimited Camera Options

The Ronin-MX gimbal can be handheld or attached to the Matrice 600, and can hold any type of camera.

The Ronin-MX gimbal can be handheld or attached to the Matrice 600, and can hold any type of camera.

The Matrice 600 does not come with a camera, but with its heavy lifting capabilities, users can select from a wider range of cameras to shoot with. The M600 is compatible with the entire Zenmuse line, including the RED EPIC. With the Zenmuse XT and X5 the M600 can fly for approximately 35 minutes. With any other larger camera the Matrice can stay in the air for approximately 16 minutes. The Matrice 600 is also compatible with any other third party cameras.

Conclusion

The Matrice 600 is designed to give the operator freedom to choose exactly what kind of gimbal, camera, and accessories they want to use for the footage they envision, without being restricted to one camera or one system. 

The big advantage of the M600 is its capability to carry heavy cameras and accessories while still maintaining stability and steadiness in the air. Another bonus is that the Matrice 600's system can seamlessly integrate with DJI's full range of Zenmuse gimbals and cameras. The Matrice 600's six rotors and batteries are a highlight of its design, giving users added safety in flight along with an extended flight time. The upgradable A3 system is also a never before seen feature adding extra accuracy, reliability, and precision to the system. 

DJI Matrice 600

Overall, the DJI Matrice 600 is a worthy upgrade from the Spreading Wings series and DJI has once again showcased why they outpace the competition. Starting at $6,209. 00 CDN, the Matrice 600 is a game-changer for any industry professional looking to create the next Hollywood blockbuster.  

Drones In Agriculture

agriculture drone usage

Farms around the world could soon see drones become as commonly used on their fields as tractors.  Drone usage in the agriculture sector is a budding industry, providing farmers with a more affordable way to increase profits and production while also decreasing their environmental impact. 

With the multispectral images and data collected from a drone, operators can attain a bird's eye view of their crops and livestock. The information can then be used to create comprehensive action plans and solutions in order to boost yields and profits. Drone usage in the agriculture industry can assist farmers and operators in the monitoring of crop conditions, soil quality, irrigation levels, and more. As the agriculture industry embraces the technology increasingly, we could soon see drones quickly become farmers' best friend.

Inspections From the Air

Drones today are being used in the agriculture industry as a tool that can provide precise data previously unattainable by way of traditional crop scouting methods. Previously, crop scouting on farms small and large depended on either on-foot field scouting, manned aircraft, or satellite imagery.

A normalized vegetation index. The most common vegetation index, widely used for satellite monitoring and airborne monitoring. Recommended as part of a multiple date monitoring program to assess a wide range of conditions from leaf area values to plant vigor. PrecisionHawk

A normalized vegetation index. The most common vegetation index, widely used for satellite monitoring and airborne monitoring. Recommended as part of a multiple date monitoring program to assess a wide range of conditions from leaf area values to plant vigor. PrecisionHawk

According to John Frost president of AerHyve Aerial Technologies, a company specializing in the capturing and analyzation of data from UAV's, farmers or professional crop scouts would traditionally walk in a W pattern through fields to get a sample of the conditions of their crops. "This was the most traditional and common way, but now things are starting to shift," said Frost.

With the ability to see crops from the air, drones can quickly assess and reveal patterns that can expose everything from irrigation problems, to soil variations, and fungal infestations not apparent at eye level. "Agricultural drones are becoming a tool like any other consumer device, and we're starting to talk about the potential of what we can do with them," said Frost. 

Early Detection and Collecting information

Drones are gaining momentum in the agriculture sector thanks to their ability to help farmers track and monitor crops to detect problems before they arise. Multispectral or infrared cameras can be used in a number of ways to help farmers better understand the condition of their crops. Airborne cameras can be used to capture multispectral images to analyze data from the infrared and visual spectrum. The combined data can then create a view of the crops that highlights the differences between healthy or distressed plants unseen to the naked eye. By using multispectral cameras and data analysis software that can analyze wavelengths and chlorophyll levels, researchers can identify problems in crops to prevent crop failure.

Green normalized difference vegetation index. Sensitive to chlorophyll concentration. Good indicator of plant stress and late growth stages before harvest. PrecisionHawk

Green normalized difference vegetation index. Sensitive to chlorophyll concentration. Good indicator of plant stress and late growth stages before harvest. PrecisionHawk

When it comes to using drones to detect plant failure, it is all about the way the information is processed, said Frost. "Plants reflect and absorb light differently under different conditions. A multispectral or infrared camera can tell if a plant is stressed due to water shortage or pests before you or I can see it." With these methods, farmers can attain invaluable information for any small or large scale farm and detect potential plant stress far in advance, ultimately saving yields and expenses. "By using this technology one can detect plant stress 10 days before the plant even display the stress. It is a tremendous advantage," said Frost.

Cost and Time Advantage

Drone inspections are economical and quick to perform. 

Drone inspections are economical and quick to perform. 

Not only do drones provide the benefit of collecting highly accurate data from the skies, they also hold the valuable advantage of time and cost efficiency. A drone inspection is much cheaper than traditional methods like on-ground field scouting, or paying thousands of dollars an hour for a manned aircraft inspection, said Frost. A drone can be purchased outright and save users large sums of money in the long run.

Not only are drones more cost effective, they also offer the benefit of saved time. With a drone, an operator can quickly analyze their crops from the air on their own time as they see fit. "Compared with satellite imagery and other methods, using a drone is much cheaper, and offers higher resolution, quality data. The images are unobstructed, cheaper to attain, and available anytime," said Frost.

Reduce Waste and Create Timelines

A quick drone inspection can assist farmers in promptly identifying what types of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to use along with how much to use, based on data provided. Operators can reduce waste on things like water, seeds, and other chemicals. By choosing where to place fertilizer based on plant health, farmers can save on costs and boost their crop yields.

Top: Green Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. Sensitive to chlorophyll levels, a good indicator of plant stress and late growth stages before a harvest. 

Below: Orthomosaic. Made by the process of orthorectifying raw imagery and combining them into a single image. PrecisionHawk

According to Frost, another large advantage of drone technology, is the ability to create orthomosaics or 2D and 3D timelines every hour, day, week, or month of the year to showcase changes in plant health, reveal potential problem areas, and find opportunities for better crop management.

Crop Spraying

The popularity of using drones as crop sprayers is growing quickly. Last year, DJI designed a drone named the DJI Agras MG-1. According to DJI, using a drone as a crop sprayer is 40 times more efficient than manual spraying. The Agras MG-1 is an octocopter that can spray crops and cover between seven and ten acres of land an hour. The tanks can also hold up to 10 liters of liquid.  

The DJI Agras MG-1 is DJI's first agriculture drone. 

The DJI Agras MG-1 is DJI's first agriculture drone. 

With drone technology the Agras MG-1 can scan the ground and maintain a perfect distance between crops to spray just the right amount of product. Another convenience is that a crop spraying drone can be flown automatically, or manually and is designed to be water resistant, is dust proof, and designed with anti-corrosive material.

PrecisionHawk and DJI

As drone usage in the agriculture industry is beginning to take flight, PrecisionHawk and DJI have partnered to give the market an easy-to-use and cost-effective agriculture analytics solution by combining DJI's commercial drone hardware with PrecisionHawk's software platform called DataMapper.

The partnership between DJI and PrecisionHawk provides consumers with a pre-assembled package that includes either the Matrice 100 or the Matrice 600.

The partnership between DJI and PrecisionHawk provides consumers with a pre-assembled package that includes either the Matrice 100 or the Matrice 600.

The package comes with either DJI's customizable Matrice 100 or 600 drones, and PrecisionHawk's flight and analytics software already integrated. With either the Matrice 100 or 600, farmers can create flight plans using the DataMapper program, gather and transfer data to a Cloud in the field, and have the software autonomously analyze data collected to ultimately increase yields and identify crop stress.

The partnership gives consumers a user-friendly way to collect, manage, and monitor data while also providing the analysis algorithms built-in to perform analysis on any decision a farmer may need to make, such as estimating yields or identifying potential threats to plant health.

The package includes a 1 year subscription to the inflight app Datamapper which includes the Algorithm Marketplace - a library of on-demand analysis tools. PrecisionHawk

The package includes a 1 year subscription to the inflight app Datamapper which includes the Algorithm Marketplace - a library of on-demand analysis tools. PrecisionHawk

The DataMapper app also comes with the "Algorithm Marketplace." It is a user-friendly app store for drone information where users can run their data through automated systems. The systems cater to a wide variety of industries but for the agriculture sector in particular, they can identify areas of water and nitrogen intake, diagnose plant health, assess plant height and growth, conduct row-based plant counting, and quantify leaf and canopy cover.

 Flying Forward

Japan was one of the first countries to embrace drone technology in their own agricultural sector by their wide usage of crop spraying drones and now the rest of the world is starting to follow suit. According to Frost, the United States, China, and South America will be the next countries in line to focus their investments in drone technology for their own agricultural industries. 

As for where the technology is heading, totally autonomy is on the horizon. Drones could soon be completely automatic and need little to no human interference.  According to Frost, in the future we may soon see multiple drones working in tandem or even carrying out different jobs at the same time. Drones will be able to take-off, complete survey work, and land on pre-programmed cycle. Inductive charging may also be another advancement. A drone could soon be able to automatically land on a charging pad and recharge itself.

The agriculture industry is quickly recognizing the advantages of control, time efficiency, and affordability drones provide to ultimately help assist in boosting crop yields and profits. With all of the rapid advancements in drone technology being made, it is clear that the future of drones in the agriculture sector is just beginning to take-off.

 

 

Yuneec Typhoon H: Review

As the latest model in the Typhoon series by Yuneec, the Typhoon H could finally be the drone that gives the enormously popular DJI Phantom series a run for its money.  

The Typhoon H is a hexacopter designed with 6 rotors to make flying smoother, steadier, and safer in the air. The drone features a camera that can turn 360 degrees, a big bonus for filmmakers looking to capture an attention grabbing shot. The landing gear on the Typhoon H is also designed to retract so that it won't potentially show up in any footage. Finally, the drone boasts a wide range of autonomous flight features including Orbit Me, Point of Interest, Follow Me, Curved Cable Cam, Dynamic Return to Home, and Journey.

With all of its advantageous features at just $1,754.00 CAN, the Typhoon H is a big step up for Yuneec and  may finally be the drone that levels the DJI dominated playing field. 

Design  

Typhoon H, plastic frame, motor, folding arms, and camera

Overall, the grey and black Typhoon H has a very industrial look. The drone is made with a solid plastic body and carbon fibre arms which help to keep the drone lightweight and stiff while in the air.  The propellers also use a quick disconnect system to easily allow the user to attach and detach their props.

The Typhoon H features retractable landing gear and folding arms. Pilots will find that the landing gear and folding arms make the Typhoon H extremely portable and durable. The arms function well, are built sturdy, and make storing and carrying the drone a breeze.

Typhoon H retractable arms and propellers

Typhoon H retractable arms and propellers

The six rotors on the Typhoon H are a huge highlight of its design. The rotors work to make the Typhoon H quieter and smoother while in flight. The six rotors provide a huge safety advantage as well, as the drone can automatically adjust and operate in the air if a rotor fails.

PERFORMANCE  

The Typhoon H can fly up to 35 kilometres per hour and reach a height of up to 1.6 kilometres. The Typhoon H is also extremely stable and quiet in the air. Furthermore, the drone can make extremely smooth turns while in flight, which is a huge bonus for those who want to use the drone for primarily video production purposes.

REMOTE CONTROLLER

The centrepiece of the Typhoon H's remote controller is the high resolution 7' built-in touchscreen. The screen is easily viewable in direct sunlight, although the interface isn't as user-friendly, organized, or as streamlined as the Apple-like DJI Phantom series.   

Typhoon H, Wizard Remote, and Main Controller

Typhoon H, Wizard Remote, and Main Controller

The Typhoon H can function with two operators. The ability to connect to more than one controller and use the secondary Wizard controller to take-off, fly, and land the drone is a great option for filmmakers and casual users alike. One person can solely focus on the flying as the other focuses on the shooting. The Wizard controller works well, though operating it can potentially be a big learning curve for a beginner. As the Wizard is designed with buttons instead of traditional sticks, users may feel like they don't have as much control. 

CAMERA

The Typhoon H is a great choice for pilots who want to use their drone primarily for shooting. The Typhoon H uses a 12 megapixel 4K camera that can turn 360 degrees.  The 3-axis CGO3+ gimbal is steady and when turning the camera, footage is smooth and stable. The drone even has a mode where the camera can continuously spin while capturing footage for filmmakers looking to capture unique shots.

Typhoon H by Yuneec

INTELLIGENT FEATURES

The Typhoon H comes with 6 intelligent flight modes. Each flight mode performs as described, but the instructions on how to run them are not as clear as the Phantom series. 

In Orbit Me, the drone can fly in a circle around the user. One thing to note is that if the user is moving in a circle with objects around, the drone could potentially collide into the obstacles within the perimeter of the circle. In Point of Interest, the operator can have the Typhoon H orbit around an object autonomously. The intelligent flight mode Journey functions as a kind of aerial selfie capturer. Users can make their drone fly in and away from them up to 150 feet. In Follow Me mode, the Typhoon H can follow along with the pilot as they move around. With Curve Cable Cam, pilots can program an invisible route for their drone to follow. Finally, in Dynamic Return to Home mode, operators can have the drone land within 26 feet of wherever they are. 

OVERALL PACKAGE  

Typhoon H Package

Typhoon H Package

The Typhoon H functions as a two operator system and includes a remote controller, the secondary Wizard remote controller, a charger, a battery, and 10 propellers. The downside is that the package does not come with a case, however the purchaser does not need to buy a tablet since the controller comes with the built-in touchscreen.  Another economical bonus is that the package comes with the team mode option, as well as the secondary controller. 

RANGe

The flight controls of the Typhoon H are transmitted over a separate link with a 1.6 kilometres range while the video feed is transmitted over a Wi-Fi connection. Since the video feed  is transmitted over a Wi-Fi connection the signal is susceptible to some interference. 

OBSTACLE AVOIDANCE  

Front Facing Ultrasonic Sensors

Front Facing Ultrasonic Sensors

When it comes to avoiding collisions, the Typhoon H is equipped with a built-in obstacle avoidance system that uses front-facing ultrasonic sensors to avoid objects in its path. The two sonar sensors on the front of the drone work well at detecting obstacles, and can even avoid objects in the dark. When tested, as the drone was flying straight towards a goal post, the drone successfully detected the obstacle and avoided a collision.

In the future, Yuneec is also planning to release a high performance obstacle avoidance system in partnership with Intel, called RealSense. The RealSense system will be able to intelligently avoid and navigate itself around obstacles, as well as build a 3D model of its environment.

BATTERY LIFE

The flight time of the Typhoon H is slightly longer than its predecessor the Typhoon Q500. The Typhoon H can fly for a maximum time of 25 minutes. Though the flight time of the Typhoon H is quite lengthy, it does not measure up to the slightly longer flight time of the Phantom 4. The battery itself is a basic design but does lack a battery life indicator. 

Conclusion

For the very first time the Phantom 4 has finally found a worthy competitor in the Typhoon H. The Typhoon H's six rotors, retractable landing gear, 360 degree turning camera, and team mode option, make it one of the rare drones that can truly rival the DJI Phantom series that has thus far dominated the playing field.

Typhoon H with propellers and Wizard remote

The Typhoon H's hexa-rotor design provides flyers with better stability and control in the sky while also significantly increasing safety if a motor fails. The retractable landing gear ensures that the legs won't obstruct footage, especially when using the 360 degree camera. The autonomous flight features work great, and design-wise the Typhoon H is durable, lightweight, and sturdy. Lastly, the remote controller with a built-in touchscreen and secondary Wizard remote is a big bonus when it comes to the Typhoon H's overall package.

Though the Yuneec's last few releases didn't come close to competing with the DJI Phantom series, the Typhoon H is a drone that can finally fly in the same arena. Just last year, technology giant Intel invested a colossal $60 million into Yuneec, showcasing just how much potential Yuneec has to release a future drone that could usurp DJI's throne. Their next release could finally be the drone that soars past the competition.