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DJI Drones for LiDAR mapping

Oct 1, 2020

Which DJI drone for LiDAR mapping?

 

DA Jiang Innovation, more known under DJI name is the number 1 drones manufacturer in the world. DJI drones are drones you must consider for professional applications, using photogrammetry or LiDAR.

DJI M600

The DJI Matrice 600 is definitely the most widespread UAV on the professional market. This 9kg UAV is an hexacopter multirotor, equipped with 6 intelligent LiPo 6S 4500 mAh batteries. These batteries can be either TB46S, TB47S or better, TB48S batteries.

One of the reason why DJI M600 Pro  is often the right solution for professional LiDAR surveys is because of its payload capacity. This drone can lift up to 6kg: DJI payloads such as Ronin (3-axis stabilization gimbal that can hold a wide variety of cameras for filmmaking professional), Zenmuse cameras or specific payloads provided mounting is compatible (thermal cameras, LiDAR systems….). It can carry cameras such as Sony A-6000, Sony A7R and LiDAR systems at the same time (LiDAR + dual camera setup).

DJI M600 pro is  equipped with a dust-resistant propulsion system and self-cooling motors that ensure very good reliability for long duration data acquisitions.

DJI M600 has 2 D-RTK GNSS antennas receiving the GPS L1/L2 and GLONASS F1/F2  constellations, which are resistant to strong magnetic interference and allow centimeter-level positioning.

 

Its retractable landing gear allows vertical measurements to be taken without any shadow zone. Flight programming is based on the DJI Go application.

This UAV is not so recent, as it launched in April 2016. You can watch DJI M600 launch video or discover latest M600 Pro specs

You can fly DJI M600 UAV with any YellowScan UAV LiDAR mapping systems (Mapper, Surveyor and Vx series).

DJI M600 - YellowScan Vx-15 UAV LiDAR mapping - 2020

DJI Matrice 600 Pro UAV with UAS LiDAR YellowScan Vx-15 – Photo credit. MSDI.

 

Our recommended configuration for DJI Matrice 600 Pro:

  • Batteries
    • By default DJI M600 Pro is shipped with 1 set of TB47S 4500 mAh batteries (6 batteries). We recommend to have at least 1 extra set of batteries, and more precisely a set of TB48S 5700mAh batteries (with better capacity than TB47S).
  • Transportation Case
  • Galaxy GRS GBS multirotor UAV parachute with :
    • 868MHz Opale radiocommand
    • Galaxy GRS 107dB Buzzer
    • Stop-engine module Galaxy GRS
    • Step Down 5v Pololu 2.5A Regulator
    • 6x male-male servo cable 30cm
  • UgCS flight planner with Android tablet and Windows computer

 

DJI M200 / DJI M210

 

DJI M200 is the first-ever enterprise drone launched by DJI in 2017 Q1. It’s been designed to replace DJI M600 for industrial application not needing big-sized UAV like M600.

More compact than M600, DJI M200 is to be used for aerial inspections of roads, railroads, power turbines, bridges as well as construction site mapping.

That’s why there is a broader selection of camera for mapping and inspection (2 cameras possible on the M210 variation).

DJI M200 UAV can fly for up to 35 minutes with his new dual-battery power system that automatically heats batteries when flying in sub-zero temperatures. You have the choice to fly with TB50 batteries or larger TB55 batteries.

DJI M200 - YellowScan Surveyor UAV LiDAR mapping - 2019

DJI Matrice 200 Pro UAV with YellowScan Surveyor UAV LiDARPhoto credit. Instadrone.

Our opinion:

This UAV is OK for photogrammetry and inspection. We do have a few customers using it with light LiDAR (below 2kg LiDAR such as YellowScan Surveyor) but they know their UAV limits: short landing gear (meaning LiDAR closer to the ground than on M600) and small autonomy with LiDAR payload. We do not recommend using DJI M200/M210 for LiDAR surveys with YellowScan Surveyor and Vx series but DJI M600.

 

YellowScan Mapper - UAV Livox LiDAR-based solution on DJI M300 with Skyport - LiDAR mapping

DJI Matrice 300 Pro UAV with DJI skyport and Livox LiDAR-based YellowScan Mapper.

 

DJI M300 RTK

Newly launched this year (2020 Q2), DJI M300 is presented as a game changer. This new UAV from DJI is replacing the DJI M200/DJI M210 series with better performance for industrial applications. It can fly up to 55 minutes with its TB60 smart batteries (allowing hot swaps) and has a max payload of 2.7 kg.

It can support up to 3 payloads simultaneously. Payload integration with this new DJI drone is made easy as you can use either DJI Skyport v2 or DJI X-Port to attach any sensor.

DJI M300 offers 6 Directional Sensing & Positioning and is sold with the Zenmuse H20 wide-angle camera.

 

Our opinion:

DJI Matrice 300 is a good option for photogrammetry and LiDAR mapping. You need to have very light and compact LiDAR system (under 1.5kg) to fully benefit from its features, like the new DJI’s Livox-based UAV LiDAR introduced on the market. This drone looks good, reliable and robust for LiDAR mapping.

-Julien BO.
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