DJI has rolled out new technology and tools to customize its enterprise drone platforms for specialized tasks such as infrastructure inspection, precision agriculture, firefighting, and search and rescue.
The new Zenmuse XT2 thermal imaging camera, created as part of DJI’s partnership with FLIR Systems, is a critical tool for drone operators to capture heat signatures invisible to the naked eye, says DJI. Its side-by-side visual and thermal imaging sensors provide data capture and situational awareness during emergency services, disaster recovery and industrial inspection, for example.
“The Zenmuse XT2 continues our long-standing partnership with FLIR to create the most powerful thermal imaging solution available on a drone today. This is a significant advancement for public safety professionals who are using drones to save lives and creating new industrial applications across different verticals,” says Jan Gasparic, head of enterprise partnerships at DJI.
According to DJI, the Zenmuse XT2 features a gimbal-stabilized, dual-sensor design, combining a FLIR radiometric thermal imager and a 4K visual camera, to allow drone operators to view both thermal and visual data while in flight.
Professional drone operators can use on-board intelligent features such as FLIR MSX technology to combine visual and temperature data into one image, allowing operators to easily identify objects of concern. Furthermore, DJI’s Spotlight Pro features let operators focus on safe flight operations and data interpretation while the camera automatically tracks an object through two intelligent flight modes: QuickTrack centers the camera on the selected area, and HeatTrack automatically tracks the hottest object in view. A Temp Alarm feature interprets thermal data in real time and alerts drone operators when an object’s temperature exceeds critical thresholds.
Introducing the DJI Zenmuse XT2 – a dual sensor thermal imaging solution that sets the standard for the next generation in aerial imaging.
Learn more: https://t.co/FYsP5PeYr2 pic.twitter.com/cdeFBviaDF
— DJI Enterprise (@DJIEnterprise) March 28, 2018
The Zenmuse XT2 is compatible with DJI’s Matrice 200 Series and Matrice 600 Pro enterprise drones. It will first be available for the DJI Pilot mobile app for Android and later for the DJI XT Pro mobile app for iOS. According to DJI, its rugged design and IP44 ingress protection rating gives it versatility to be flown in a wide variety of conditions, including rain, snow, smoke and fog (where allowed under applicable laws and regulations). With a 12-megapixel visual camera, it is available in two thermal sensor resolutions of 640 x 512 or 336 x 256, with 9mm, 13mm, 19mm and 25mm lenses. The Zenmuse XT2 camera is now available for purchase through authorized DJI Enterprise dealers worldwide.
Payload SDK and Skyport
Next, DJI says its new Payload software development kit (SDK) allows drone start-ups, developers, and sensor and device manufacturers to easily integrate custom cameras, sensors and other types of payloads onto DJI drones.
“Our new Payload SDK makes it possible for any manufacturer to create a payload specific to their customers’ needs that will work seamlessly with DJI’s aircraft,” explains Gasparic.
DJI’s new SDK enables non-DJI cameras, sensors and payloads – such as air-to-ground communications tools and devices – to be mounted and integrated directly into DJI’s Matrice 200 Series drones. By opening this layer of DJI’s core technology to the commercial drone ecosystem, any manufacturer, developer or researcher can create a drone that is customized for a specific purpose or industry, the company says.
As part of the SDK, DJI says it is reducing several layers of complexity with the introduction of DJI Skyport, a gimbal port adapter that enables an external payload to be integrated to DJI drones. With the DJI Skyport gimbal port adapter, circuit board and access to APIs, an external sensor or payload can be easily installed and controlled just as if it were a DJI Zenmuse camera. The setup will connect directly to the drone’s power supply, eliminating the need for external cables and batteries.
Concurrently with DJI’s release, SLANTRANGE Inc., a provider of remote sensing and analytics systems for agriculture, has announced its new 3PX multispectral sensor system, which integrates with DJI Matrice 200 Series drones thanks to DJI’s new Payload SDK.
“The SLANTRANGE 3PX is a great example of the power and flexibility we’re bringing to our commercial customers through new integrations with our Payload SDK,” adds Gasparic. “By using our SDK capabilities, SLANTRANGE can provide a new level of integration between their world-class technology for aerial crop measurement and analysis and our reliable and powerful Matrice 200 Series drones. This turnkey package makes putting drone solutions to work in the field both simple and efficient.”
The 3PX builds upon SLANTRANGE’s proprietary technologies to deliver efficient new methods of characterizing agricultural crop development across a range of crop types and applications. DJI’s new Payload SDK provides direct access to the drone’s data communications system, giving operators the ability to communicate directly with the 3PX during flight and receive its data in real time. Combined with the software tools in DJI’s SDK, app developers can build customized apps for the 3PX to serve a variety of advanced agricultural applications, enabling all new capabilities, including as follows:
- Real-time access to inflight 3PX sensor data to ensure mission success and reduced operational costs;
- Integrated mounting, power and communications interface to improve system reliability; and
- Instant sensor payload swapping, configuration and mission planning to accommodate differing mission needs of DJI Matrice 200 Series users.
According to SLANTRANGE, apps from DroneDeploy and Beyond The Cube are already available to take advantage of these new features.
As with all SLANTRANGE sensors, the 3PX is tightly integrated with SlantView, an infield software analytics solution developed by SLANTRANGE to provide quantitative metrics about the status, health and yield potential of crops immediately after a drone flight. The 3PX also incorporates SLANTRANGE’s patented technique for delivering accurate crop measurements under changing sunlight conditions.
“Until now, we’ve had to attach our sensors to DJI drones with external power cables or batteries, which added complexity and more importantly, increased weight that reduced flight time,” comments Michael Ritter, CEO of SLANTRANGE. “The user also had no in-flight sensor information. With DJI’s new Payload SDK and Skyport, our just-announced 3PX provides customers with a ready-to-fly sensor and a complete understanding of its status directly on the drone’s flight control screen.”