William Hunt MBE
DJI Matrice 300 Arrives
DJI has launched its latest commercial drone platform and its first hybrid camera series, the Matrice 300 RTK (M300 RTK) and the Zenmuse H20 system. The M300 RTK and Zenmuse H20 are both packed with features designed specifically for enterprise use-cases, the systems feature a number of pioneering technologies and features that will inevitably cascade down to consumer drones in the future.
The M300 RTK 's unconventional design has a top-mounted body and bottom-mounted blades, the opposite of all other DJI drones. This design feature allows the DJI advanced AI-powered technologies to observe a wider overview of the environment for less obstructed viewing. The bulky body protruding from the top the drone features a six directional sensing and positioning system that offers a maximum object-detection range of up to 40m (130ft) horizontally, as well as a visual Anti-Collision Beacon for making the drone more visible in low-light environments. DJI has also included its AirSense (ADS-B) technology that will alert pilots of manned aircraft or drones nearby.
DJI has included an upgraded its OcuSync Enterprise technology to enable triple-channel 1080p video transmission up to 15km (9.32m) thanks to its 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz connections, which will switch in real-time based on what offers the clearest connection. Together these systems work together to power the Primary Flight Display (PFD) that ‘merges real-time flight and navigation data into one integrated display.’ Aside from the usual flight telemetry, the pilot will also see obstacle data and other details to ensure a proper flight path in tricky conditions.
The M300 RTK version features DJI’s new Advanced Dual Operator Mode, which gives two separate pilots equal access to flight controls, telemetry and other data. If one pilot becomes compromised or their controller loses battery or connection, the other pilot gains full control over the M300 RTK and its payloads. This feature can also be used for training new pilots, but is a major safety feature that will strenghten Operating Safety Cases (OSC). When paired with the new Zenmuse H20 camera system, the M300 RTK will also offer two new means of syncing the drone’s location with objects of interest for more precise location tracking in coordinated missions, such as search-and-rescue operations and critical infrastructure repairs. The first is PinPoint, ‘a function that allows users to mark the subject of interest and instantly share the precise location data to a second operator or if necessary to ground teams via DJI FlightHub.’ The second method is Smart Track, ‘which allows users to automatically detect and track a moving object, even at extreme distances, while synchronizing the subject’s dynamic location in real time.’ The M300 RTK is capable of carrying up to three payloads—two on the bottom of the drone and one on the top. Below are a few product photos, including a trio of images showing one-, two- and three-camera setups.
DJI avise that the M300 RTK offers up to 55-minutes of flight time on a single battery, offers AES-256 Encryption of its data between the drone and its connected controllers, has IP45 Protection with an operating temperature window of -20 to 50° C (-4 to 120° F) and a self-heating battery when running in the lower temperatures.
While the M300 RTK can be used with other payloads, including previous camera systems from DJI, the Zenmuse H20 series is designed to make the most of the new technologies inside DJI’s latest drone. The H20 series comes in two versions: the H20 and the H20T. The H20 is a triple-sensor unit with a 20MP, 23x Hybrid Optical Zoom Camera, a 12MP Wide Camera and a Laser Range Finder that covers distances from 3–1200 meters (3–1312 yards). The H20T, on the other hand, adds an additional Radiometric Thermal Camera (640 x 512 pixels), that ‘allows operators to see what is invisible to the human eye thanks to high thermal sensitivity.’
DJI has also updated its Pilot app to make it easier to switch between the various sensors onboard the H20 series payloads and added a few new modes to make the most of the multi-camera array. One-Click Capture will capture photos or video from all three cameras simultaneously without having to switch between cameras mid-flight, as well as a Night Scene mode that will capture better low-light images when lighting conditions are less than ideal.
Both the M300 RTK and Zenmuse H20 series payloads are available to pre-order from authorized DJI Enterprise dealers. the first units are expected to ship before the end of June.