Night flights and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations are coming and DJI is preparing the ground. Today the Chinese manufacturer launched an upgrade to their most popular enterprise drone and improvements to FlightHub, the company’s operation management platform.
The Matrice 200 series is getting a serious revamp (and is now the Matrice 200 Series V2), while FlightHub is receiving a number of security and operational enhancements.
Both moves are being made at a time when organizations are scaling drone programs with a view to laying the technical foundations for (BVLOS) and nighttime operations.
”From routine mapping missions to sensitive industrial inspections, organizations around the world rely on DJI to provide more robust, secure and scalable solutions,” said Jan Gasparic, DJI’s director of strategic partnerships.
“As leading organizations have increased their drone fleets into the hundreds and thousands, they have asked for better ways to centrally manage drone operations and are using drones for applications that demand safer and more reliable drone technology. Our updated Matrice 200 Series drones are now better equipped for complex life-saving missions, flights over sensitive locations, and flights at night, while enhancements to DJI FlightHub give organizations more control over their drone fleets and the data they generate.”
Introducing the Matrice 200 Series V2
The Matrice 200 Series V2 is bringing a number of improvements to DJI’s go-to drone for commercial and industrial tasks. According to DJI, the 2nd generation M200 series retains its rugged all-weather design, simple setup and easy configuration. Upgrades have been to key systems to provide safer, more reliable and more secure operation.
The Matrice 200 Series V2 is built for construction, infrastructure inspection, public safety and search and rescue. Notable improvements from the original version include:
- Reliable Transmission – Equipped with OcuSync 2.0, the drones now support automatic dual frequency band switching between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz for up to 8 km maximum transmission range, delivering reliable, high-resolution, low-latency digital video transmission back to the pilot.
- Data Security – All data transmitted through OcuSync 2.0 is encrypted using the leading AES-256 standard, ensuring critical mission information is protected and can only be accessed by authorized parties.
- Flight Safety – Designed with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Night Waiver standards in mind, anti-collision beacons have been added on the top and bottom of the drone to improve flight safety during low-light conditions and at night. The drone is also equipped with DJI’s AirSense system using an ADS-B receiver to provide drone pilots with awareness of approaching air traffic that may pose a collision risk.
- Flight Performance – Pilots using multiple drone payloads during their operations can now calibrate the drone’s new center of gravity with ease from the DJI Pilot app for better flight performance.
- Data Accuracy – A new TimeSync system continuously aligns the flight controller, cameras, GPS module and RTK module, as well as any third-party payloads or onboard accessories, fixing the position data to the center of the image frame to achieve improved data accuracy.
The headline is that these improvements lay the technical foundations for the more advanced drone operations on the horizon. This begins with the inclusion of night flight-enabling anti-collision beacons – also seen on the Mavic 2 Enterprise.
The introduction of the new beacons and improved transmission range, alongside DJI’s pre-existing AirSense ADS-B receiver system and FlightAutonomy system, means the Matrice 200 Series V2 has everything in place for BVLOS operations.
”DJI is leading the industry in incorporating new safety features that support the growth of nighttime and BVLOS flights in the United States and around the world,” said Brendan Schulman, Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs at DJI.
“These innovations will open countless opportunities for organizations and the general public to benefit from the life-saving uses of drone technology, and DJI is proud to help pave the way for regulators to create clear pathways for operators to receive approval to conduct advanced drone operations.”
Read more: Drones, Data and Security: DJI’s Mario Rebello Meets the Issue Head On at InterDrone
FlightHub gets an upgrade
DJI FlightHub software allows organizations using drones to manage all aspects of their operations through a single platform. The web-based service, which comes in Basic and Advanced, enables supervisors to oversee operations live, manage flight data, fleets and pilots, and effectively plan operations.
Now FlightHub is getting an upgrade. The new FlightHub Enterprise has additional features with a focus on data security:
- Private Cloud Hosting – Organizations can now choose to host FlightHub Enterprise within their private cloud or on-premise IT infrastructure, utilizing their existing organizational resources and security protocols, and enabling the capability to build streamlined workflows for their drone fleets.
- Dedicated DJI Pilot app – Exclusively compatible with FlightHub Enterprise, the new DJI Pilot PE app is a customized version of DJI’s flight control app designed for users with high data security requirements. By default, DJI Pilot PE will not transmit any data to public networks and will only connect directly to an organization’s FlightHub Enterprise platform hosted on their private IT infrastructure.
- Firmware Management – Centrally manage and deploy drone firmware updates, allowing organizations to certify and update drone fleets at their own pace, ensuring security compliance and avoiding unforseen delays during critical missions.
- Mission Planning – Schedule and oversee drone operations with the ability to send automated waypoint or mapping missions to individual pilots.
- Device Maintenance – Track equipment usage, including aircraft and battery usage time, to ensure your drone equipment is functioning properly and aircraft maintenance is performed on schedule.
Read more: DJI Releases Results of Data Security Study
The intention here appears to remove any lingering uncertainty surrounding DJI’s data security practices. As the drone industry leader is increasingly seeing its technology adopted by organizations working on sensitive projects, government agencies and law enforcement, data security is clearly a priority.
The topic is perhaps the one area DJI has suffered significant reputation damage in recent times.