Drone technology has become more advanced every year and is increasingly being used in a variety of enterprise fields as they continue to make jobs safer, workflows more efficient, and data more accurate. From 2016-2017 enterprise drone use increased by 58 percent, with industries like mining, agriculture, construction, real estate, and surveying at the head of the pack. The commercial drone market is expected to increase from USD 1 billion in 2017 to USD 31 billion by 2026, according to McKinsey, and is foreseen to become an indispensable part of the economy with even more rapid growth foreseen in 2019.
DJI has focused their attention on expanding their enterprise line up of drones with new entrants to the market including the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and the Phantom 4 RTK, with both drones released at price points that make the technology more accessible than ever to organizations both big and small. With more powerful software, hardware, and easing regulatory frameworks it is now easier for companies to start their own drone programs and take advantage of this innovative technology. Though every DJI drone can, in theory, be used for any task you desire, our guide is based on what we would recommend based on budget and capabilities to help you find the perfect match for your application.
Before buying your drone it is essential to know what you will be using the drone for. You should know exactly what you are looking to accomplish with your drone, as well as what type of environmental conditions you may be flying in. You also want to consider your budget as specs like range, battery life, camera quality, and other advanced features will vary depending on your price point. If you are just starting you may want to start with a more affordable consumer drone, but if you need a more job-specific drone capable of thermal imagery, for example, a higher-end drone would better meet your needs. Another thing to consider is the longevity of your system. Newer drones will have more advanced features and improvements that older models won't. Things like accessories and manufacturer support will also be around for much longer with newer drone models so that you get the most out of your system.
Like any innovative technology, hardware and software continue to improve as prices drop and become more affordable over time. With lower-priced drones being more powerful than ever, anyone can enter the drone world with a high-quality, capable drone. The Mavic 2 series features the Mavic 2 Zoom and the Mavic 2 Pro, both ideal drones for anyone wanting to get their foot in the door with a more affordably priced drone system. Though the series is technically a part of DJI's consumer drone lineup, the drones powerful features make it capable of performing enterprise related tasks like mapping, surveying, and inspections. Both drones feature up to 8 km of range and 31 minutes of flight time for plenty of time in the air to get the job done. The Mavic 2 Zoom features a 4K 12-megapixel camera with two-times optical zoom making it ideal for general surveying and inspection work. The cameras zoom capabilities can easily spot defects in subjects from a far distance keeping the drone, and workers safe from any potential hazards. The Mavic 2 Pro features a 4K 20-megapixel camera with a 1-inch sensor. Equipped with the highest quality camera out of all the consumer drones, the Mavic 2 Pro is ideal for any sort of mapping, inspection, survey, or more traditional film and photography work.
The Mavic 2 Enterprise series is built on the Mavic 2 aircraft but with added enterprise-focused capabilities. The Mavic 2 Enterprise series features both the Mavic 2 Enterprise and the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual. Both drones come with 3 modular accessories including a speaker, beacon, and spotlight. These three accessories can be used for a variety of tasks in fields including surveying, inspections, public safety, and search and rescue. The Mavic 2 Enterprise features a 4K 12-megapixel camera with 2x optical zoom. On the other hand the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual is equipped with a camera that features both a visual 4K 12 megapixel sensor and a 160x120 thermal sensor. The thermal camera made by FLIR systems, provides users with thermal imagery and video that can be used for work in fog, smoke, or at night in a variety of applications including search and rescue, fire fighting, inspections, public safety and more. The Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual retailing at just $3,929 CAN, also makes it the most affordable drone with thermal capabilities ever released by DJI, almost 5x less expensive than any other drone equipped with a thermal camera made by DJI in the past.
For those seeking a drone platform that can collect extremely accurate, centimetre level data for professional 2D or 3D maps and models, the Phantom 4 RTK is the ideal choice. The Phantom 4 RTK was specifically created to give professionals a ready-to-fly drone system that was user-friendly yet still capable of conducting professional inspection, mapping and surveying missions. The Phantom 4 RTK features Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) technology, a 4K 20-megapixel camera with 1-inch sensor, and a D-RTK 2 Mobile Station, so that users have everything they need to start their mapping missions. Its high-quality camera can capture a Ground Sample Distance of 2.74 cm at 100 metres flight altitude. The system also features TimeSync, a system that continuously aligns the drones flight controller, camera and RTK module, matching the positioning data to the center of the camera's sensor for the most optimal and accurate results possible. With its user-friendly, streamlined design and controls and ability to capture highly accurate data, the Phantom 4 RTK is perfect for anyone looking to conduct professional mapping and modeling missions.
The Inspire 2 is DJI's professional aerial filmmaking solution capable of capturing footage that is worthy of the big screen. With its upgraded CineCore 2.1 image processing system, the Inspire 2 can record up to 6K in Cinema DNG/RAW or 5.2K in Apple ProRes. Its onboard FPV camera also enables operators to have more control over the shooting and piloting to help capture the exact shot they envision. The camera can also turn 360-degrees for extremely dynamic and creative shots, while the aircraft features, front, up, and down obstacle avoidance sensors for added accuracy and safety in the air. The Inspire 2 supports both the Zenmuse X5S or Zenmuse X7 cameras. The X5S features a Micro Four Thirds sensor capable of shooting up to 5.2k video, 20.8 megapixel stills, and features 8 different lens options. The X5S features a rolling shutter but is used for a variety of tasks including survey work, inspections, mapping, film and more. On the other hand the Zenmuse X7 features a Super 35mm sensor capable of shooting up to 6K video, 24 megapixel stills, and is compatible with 4 different lens options. There is also the option of shooting with a mechanical shutter using the 24mm, 35, mm and 50mm lenses, which is extremely ideal for mapping applications to eliminate any potential distortion.
For operators seeking the ultimate aerial system capable of handling any difficult enterprise task, the Matrice 200 V2 series is the perfect choice. DJI created the Matrice 200 V2 series specifically for enterprise and commercial use in all sectors including public safety, infrastructure, construction, agriculture, energy and more. The Matrice 200 V2 series is a durable and versatile industrial platform with multiple configuration options. The Matrice 200 Series V2 comes in three versions including the Matrice 200 V2, the Matrice 210 V2, and the Matrice 210 RTK V2. The Matrice 200 V2 is capable of carrying just one downward-facing camera. The Matrice 210 V2 is capable of being equipped with two downward-facing cameras or one upward-facing camera. Finally, the Matrice 210 RTK V2 features the same camera configuration as the M210 V2 but also comes with a RTK system and Ground Station Unit. The M200 V2 series supports multiple camera and sensors and also features universal ports. The drone platform is compatible with the Zenmuse XT2, X4S, X5S, X7, Z30, XT and other third party payloads. The system also features a rugged, compact design and IP43 rating enabling the aircraft to fly in up to 10mm rainfall. Though the system has a higher price tag than the rest of DJI's enterprise line up it gives users the ultimate freedom to build the exact system needed for any application. Its durable design and advanced features including TimeSync, Anti-Collision Beacons, and more make it the most versatile system out of all of DJI's enterprise drone lineup capable of accomplishing any demanding enterprise task.
Every year drones are becoming a more widely used tool in the day to day operations of industries around the world. With new innovations and improvements being developed every day, easing regulatory frameworks, and more operations taking advantage of the technology than ever before, the future of the enterprise drone industry is just taking off. From thermal imaging to mapping there are now more options than ever to help you accomplish any aerial endeavour to ultimately optimize your operations, save on costs, and keep workers safe.