When DJI first announced the original Matrice 200 Series back in February 2017, it was seen as a clear commitment by the company towards the professional or ‘enterprise’ sector. We’d already seen the Matrice 600 which was clearly targeting the broadcast and filmmaking communities, but with the majority of DJI’s fleet still mostly within the domain of commercial operators, the M200 was a serious move into some very serious industries.
There are three models in the range, similar in many respects, in that they’re all foldable quadcopters aimed at all manner of inspection, mapping and surveying situations, not to mention offering great options to emergency crews and first responders. One great feature for the series was the addition of a front-facing FPV camera. This essentially made each model perfect for a dual operator system over large distances and quite possibly led to a wealth of two-man inspection teams taking on numerous infrastructure projects.
Some two years since the ever popular original Matrice 200 Series took to the skies, DJI has launched the M200 Series V2, three upgraded models which are a compilation and combination of some of the top technologies the company has produced in recent years. Let’s take a look at the key differences between the original M200 Series and the new M200 Series V2…
In terms of the design, not a great deal has changed, but don’t let that put you off. The only noticeable changes on a visual level are the addition of anti-collision beacon lights to the top of the frame and bottom of the battery compartment – which help improve visibility in low light or even darkness, both for the operator to see what they’re doing and for other people who might be working in the area to be aware of the potential danger. No doubt that this feature has seen a large contribution from the many emergency service departments who have successfully used the Matrice 200 Series in the past two years.
With the changes to the tech inside each craft there are some slight alterations to the weight but nothing more than a couple of hundred grams. This also sees a few small changes to the maximum payload for each craft, but, again, nothing major unless you’re really pushing the limits. The M200 Series V2 also uses the high-powered 7660mAh TB55 batteries as standard, which were optional on the original for those who wanted a little extra power.
The TB50 batteries of the original are not compatible with these newer models. Neither is the old controller, as the V2 models are all operated using the newer Cendence S controller – but, much like the craft itself, the design and core functionality remains much the same. However, it’s when you start looking a little further under the hood that the real changes come into effect…
Software Upgrade: Safety, Security & Reliability
The majority of improvements have been aimed at improving flight safety and reliability as well as boosting the intelligent flight systems and data security. One of the main upgrades sees the impressive OcuSync 2.0 transmission system replacing the older LightBridge 2. This means the newer models can support dual-frequency band switching between 2.4 and 5.8GHz, boosting the potential range up to 8km at high-quality, low-latency levels (laws and 5.8GHz support pending within your region).
The system also offers greater data encryption, now up to AES-256 standards. Indeed with the improvements and increased flexibility to the FlightHub software set-up, it’s likely that pilots and operators will have even more control over the control and flow of that all-important data than ever before.
Sticking with the onboard software for now, DJI’s TimeSync technology has been implemented with the M200 Series V2 models. This basically ensures the likes of the flight controller, GPS module, RTK module and whatever else you might have hooked up are continuously being checked for precision, to ensure that you can get centimetre accurate results for every shot taken (linked to the centre of image) for the likes of geotagging – so if you’re building complex maps, models or surveys then you can feel even more comfortable that everything is exactly where it should be.
What should also be appealing to those who require precision data for mapping and surveying is the potential to include the recently improved D-RTK 2 Mobile Station to give the M210 RTK 2 even better results. And as an extra nice touch, whenever you do mix and match a new payload, you can now use the app to recalibrate the drone’s centre of gravity at the touch of a button to ensure your flights remain as smooth as ever.
New FlightHub Enterprise
We’ve mentioned improvements to the FlightHub software platform (first introduced with the original M200 Series) and this can be seen in the upgraded FlightHub Enterprise system – with Basic and Advanced offerings available online depending on your needs. This helps operators to control and manage flights, data and even multiple pilots from a central hub.
With personal security and data protection becoming increasingly important for all businesses, the option to create your own private cloud hosting system is a welcome one. This means you can implement your own data infrastructure and protocols in order to create the safest and most efficient data processing and workflow systems to suit your needs. Those with high-security concerns can even use the customised DJI Pilot PE app, which by default will not transmit data over public networks – and can be used to only connect with each individual’s own FlightHub IT infrastructure.
There’s also the added benefit of firmware management – so you can decide when to implement any updates, which means you can keep your fleet up-to-date without finding yourself grounded at any inopportune moments. As for management of all things rather more hardware-oriented, a new maintenance set-up is also now in place to monitor your craft and the likes of the batteries to ensure everything is running as smoothly as it should within safe parameters – and let you know when something needs a little TLC or if any scheduled maintenance is due.
Flight planning hasn’t yet been one of DJI’s strong points, but it has boosted its options a little further here as well, including the option to send out automated waypoints and the likes of mapping missions to your operators out in the field.
Should You Upgrade?
Overall, depending on your own aerial needs, it could be argued that little has changed or that a lot has been improved. Certainly, the changes are all for the better but that doesn’t mean an existing M200 owner will feel compelled to upgrade. However, if you’re looking for the best of the best, when it comes to areas such as inspections, surveying or mapping where every small improvement in data collection and processing can make a huge difference, then these three improved models are certainly among the industry leaders.
Looking at The Bigger Picture
The flexibility of their design in terms of both the hardware and software you can connect, coupled with the improvements to data security and your control over it, does make the M200 Series V2 a great choice for those who are serious about their business. DJI is touting the improvements towards boosting BVLOS applications and night flights, and while we wouldn’t dispute those as being excellent use cases to maximise the improvements on show here, there’s certainly a lot more amazing potential uses that these models are now even more capable of handling. The only question that remains is which model, and with what payload set-up, is going to be best for you?!
DJI Commenting on the Launch
“From routine mapping missions to sensitive industrial inspections, organisations around the world rely on DJI to provide more robust, secure and scalable solutions. As leading organisations 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 organisations more control over their drone fleets and the data they generate.”
Jan Gasparic, Director of Strategic Partnerships at DJI
If you would like to find out more about the DJI Matrice 200 Series V2, please give the COPTRZ team a call on 0330 111 7177 or contact us.