The DJI‘s latest aircraft Matrice 200, unveiled this weekend at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, isn’t designed for artistic pursuits. Instead it’s intended for professional environments—DJI hopes to see it utilized for structural inspections, mapping applications, search and rescue, and other applications where an unmanned aircraft can come in handy.
The Matrice 200 series’ folding body is easy to carry and easy to set up, with a weather- and water-resistant body, ideal for field operations. It offers DJI’s first upward-facing gimbal mount, opening up the undersides of bridges, towers and other structures to inspection. It is compatible with DJI’s powerful X4S and X5S cameras, as well as the high-powered Z30 zoom camera and the XT camera for thermal imaging. It has a forward-facing first-person view camera, allowing a pilot and a camera operator to monitor separate images on dual controllers. Its safety features include obstacle avoidance sensors facing forward, up and down.
The M200 series comes in three versions:
- M200: The standard Matrice 200 is equipped with one downward-facing gimbal mount.
- M210: The M210 opens up for multiple payload configurations – one single downward facing gimbal mount, two parallel downward-facing gimbal mounts or one upward-facing gimbal mount. The M210 features additional connectivity ports to support third party sensors and accessories. The M210 has the capability to support additional sensors in the future and additional payload can be mounted on top of the aircraft.
- M210 RTK: The M210 RTK is available with D-RTK modules for centimeter-precision navigation.
If you opt for the standard Matrice 200 configuration. It supports a number of removable cameras. They include the Zenmuse Z30, which features a 30x zoom lens and 1080p recording, the Zenmuse X4S, which has a 1-inch sensor and supports 4K, the Zenmuse X5S, a Micro Four Thirds shooter that also supports 4K, and the Zenmuse XT, a thermal camera developed in cooperation with Flir.
If you opt for the M210, which uses the same airframe. You can’t use an upward and downward camera simultaneously. If you do opt for the up-facing camera, you’ll need to install an external GPS receiver, as screwing a gimbal onto the top of the aircraft blocks the internal GPS.
A third configuration, the M210 RTK, is almost identical to the M210 in terms of features. It adds a system that allows for navigation with centimeter precision.
All configurations include redundant inertial measurement units (IMUs), barometers, compasses, and GPS systems. In addition to the forward-facing obstacle detection system, the aircraft also features downward obstacle avoidance and a top-mounted infrared sensor. The Matrice is rated IP43, so it can operate in light rain or misty conditions.
The Matrice 200 has sensors on its front, rear, and top that scan for obstacles and work to prevent collisions. It also has an ADS-B receiver built in. ADS-B is the system used by all manned aircraft, so the M200 will be able to detect when a passenger plane is entering its airspace well before the pilot or sensors can see the actual aircraft.
The M200 has two batteries, giving it 35 minutes of flight time. You can also hot swap the batteries, allowing you to quickly replace a depleted unit without turning the aircraft completely off.
The Matrice 200 will be going up against units like Yuneec’s Typhoon H520, SenseFly’s Albris, Freefly Alta 8, and Intel’s Falcon 8. DJI hasn’t released a price on this unit yet, but says it should be available to purchase in the second quarter of 2017.