DJI just dropped a massive trove for enterprise-minded drone pilots. The Chinese-based drone company today released a slew of new projects, including an all-new, relatively small drone called the Matrice 30, a new Zenmuse H20N sensor, improved docking and charging systems and more.
Consider it the next generation of enterprise drone systems — or at least that’s what DJI is calling it. And what’s so standout about it? In short, it truly steps up the autonomy factor of drones. While a drone is by definition of autonomous, realistically there is a heavy reliance on humans for functions like transporting them to charges, planning missions and more. And now, this all-in-one solution enterprise setup is a fully remote fleet management system, with an autonomous docking and recharging station.
Here’s everything you need to know about DJI’s big project launch that hit today:
DJI Matrice 30 drone (aka the M30)
The Matrice 30 drone, sometimes referred to as the M30, is a powerful, enterprise-grade drone that’s small and light enough to fit in a backpack. More akin to a Mavic than any other design, the M30 drone is foldable and lightweight, with just a 3.7 kg take-off weight.
Yet while it’s small, it’s mighthy. It can carry a number of sensors that integrate into a single camera payload. And, it’s all designed to operate in harsh environmental conditions like heavy rains, high winds, high altitudes, even in icy and snowy conditions and extreme temperatures from -20° C to 50° C.
It’s sold in two separate configurations, either the DJI M30 or the slightly upgraded M30T1 which targets thermal use cases.
Among the specs on the DJI M30:
- A 48 megapixel, 1/2” CMOS sensor zoom camera
- 5×~16× optical and 200× digital zoom.
- A 12 megapixel wide-angle camera
- 8k photo 4K/30 fps video resolution
- A laser rangefinder which can give the precise coordinates of objects up to 1,200 meters away.
The M30T version features an additional 640×512 px radiometric thermal camera.
There are multiple safety features involved, including:
- Built-in redundancies and backup systems
- Three-propeller emergency landing
- A Health Management System
- Six-way obstacle avoidance sensors
- Four-antenna OcuSync 3 Enterprise transmission
- LTE link backup2
Among its optimized power production specs include a new self-heating TB30 battery that can support at least 400 charge cycles. That allows a 41-minute flight time, akin to DJI’s latest consumer drone, the DJI Mavic 3. Additionally, its smart BS30 charging case allows quick battery charging from 20% to 90% in 30 minutes.
Of course being part of an enterprise system, this drone integrates with the also newly-announced DJI
FlightHub 2 fleet management cloud-based software and the DJI Dock.
How is the DJI M30 handling data privacy?
Data privacy has been a hot issue in the drone industry as of late — especially among enterprise drone pilots. In this launch, DJI is heavily emphasizing data privacy, including DJI’s security-first Matrice 300 V3 firmware.
Among the data privacy features:
- Offline updates: This means you don’t need to be on a Wi-Fi connection to make future firmware updates. To conduct an offline update, download the firmware package from the official DJI website, then save it to an external storage device such a microSD card. From there, upload it into the M30 and update with the DJI Pilot app.
- Local Data Mode: This is effectively the drone equivalent of airplane mode on a phone. By completely disconnecting the DJI M30 from the internet, pilots can ensure all data stays only in the drone.
- SD card AES encryption: This is designed to protect all the photos, videos, and flight logs that get stored on the microSD card by a security code and AES encryption.
DJI RC Plus
It’s being called the new Flagship Enterprise remote controller, and it entails a 7-inch-wide, high-definition, bright screen. Named the DJI RC Plus, it has six physical buttons below the control sticks next to the screen that allow for functions including switching between wide angle, zoom, infrared, and FPV views.
It’s severe-weather proof, and DJI even promises that — because it is IP54 certified (which is a rating that means that your product will be protected against contamination from limited amounts of dust and other particles) — it can be used in heavy rain.
It can run for up to six hours via both an internal battery and a swappable external battery.
For now, the DJI RC Plus is compatible with both the DJI M30 and the M300.
DJI FlightHub 2
This is the ultimate control system, used to facilitate remote planning, flying, mapping and data management for drone fleets.
This fleet management software is an improved version of previously-existing software, with new features, most notable being that it is entirely cloud-based. While you can certainly plan missions from the pilot’s remote controller, you can access the software via any web browser (whether on a computer, tablet or mobile device), so anyone involved with the drone’s operations (whether on the ground or holed up in an office) can log into the same mission and view its data. Among the features supported by DJI FlightHub 2:
- One-Tap Panorama Sync: This creates a 360° overview and uploads it to the cloud. Shared panoramas and their coordinates are placed on your mission’s 2.5D Base Map.
- Cloud Mapping: This lets users highlight an area of interest, enabling the DJI M30 to automatically map the area in 2D.
- Live Annotations: You can draw points, lines, or polygons on your map. Those talk to a laser rangefinder on the DJI M30, where coordinates automatically sync.
The all-new Zenmuse H20N sensor gives starlight vision to the DJI M300 RTK drone. This hybrid sensor combines a starlight-grade night vision camera with a hybrid zoom thermal imaging camera — and
a laser rangefinder.
The key use-case here is being able to capture scenes clearly even in darkness, which is important for operations like search and rescue.
Among its standout specs:
- Starlight-grade night vision.
- Low illumination to 0.0001 Lux.
- A 20x hybrid optical zoom.
- 640×512 resolution thermal imaging.
- 2x\8x optical zoom.
- A laser rangefinder with 1200m range.
This is a nifty tool for storing, launching, receiving and recharging drones automatically. With it, your DJI Matrice 30 series drone is capable of truly autonomous takeoff, landing and charging anywhere within a 7 km radius.
This hub is where drones should land after their mission, as they’ll automatically recharge on it via a fast charging and battery cooling system. DJI says your drone can take off again only 25 minutes after it landed.
Like many other features of this new enterprise package, the DJI has a high emphasis on durability. The Dock is rated at IP55 and the core internal components are IP67, making it waterproof and dustproof even when open. It’s capable of charging in extreme temperatures ranging from -35 to 50 degrees Celsius.
As far as the dock’s size? It is heavy, weighing a massive 90 kg (which is about 200 lbs). Though, for what it’s worth, that’s a lot light than what you would otherwise expect for the sum of the weight of specialized equipment for operating in remote locations to perform inspections. Within the infrastructure and public safety industries, many consider 90 kg to be light. If you can lift it, it’s pretty small, covering just 1 square meter (so it can fit in small spaces like an elevator).
DJI Dock is currently being tested with selected users. It won’t be available for general purchase until Q4 2022.
Who the DJI Matrice 30 and its accompanying systems are for
The DJI Matrice 30 drone and accompanying integrated solution is designed for pretty much anyone seeking enterprise drone functionality, such as public safety agencies conducting emergency rescue missions, infrastructure inspectors and energy operators. Other use cases could include environmental protection and the digitization and preservation of cultural heritage.
It also comes at an interesting time given the headway made in the realm of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone flights. Just this month, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) published its final report. That 400-page report establishes a basis for scaling uncrewed flight in the national airspace and includes a proposed new 14 CFR Part 108.
“(DJI customers) will be able to enter the autonomous solutions space, creating possibilities to fly beyond visual line of sight with the appropriate regulatory permissions in place,” Christina Zhang, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy at DJI, said in a prepared statement.
To get your hands on a DJI Matrice 30, it won’t be as easy as heading to your local Best Buy. You’ll have to go through a specific DJI Enterprise Dealer. Those include popular camera and tech retailers including Adorama and B&H Photo.