Secrets & Lies: We separate the facts from the fake news with the launch of the new DJI Matrice 300 RTK
In this post we’ll separate fact from fiction and call out the fake news surrounding the DJI M300 RTK while running you through the key features of the new DJI Commercial Drone.
- Will the M300 replace the M200?
- How does it compare against the M210 & M600 PRO?
- Is it really a game-changer for the Commercial Drone Industry?
- Is the M300 the most intelligent drone on the market?
- If you’re interested in adopting the new M300 into your operations then we are your full solution provider of choice and one of our industry experts will take you through the whole process – here.
After disappointing the masses back at CES2020 in January, DJI quickly confirmed the release of not 1, but 3 new drones in the early part of 2020. Following hot on the heels of the release of the Mavic Air 2 and delayed by the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, we’ve sat with bated breath awaiting what’s been purported to be DJI’s most intelligent enterprise drone yet. The DJI Matrice 300 RTK.
Rumours abound when it comes to any new DJI drone prior to launch, with patent information and tech specs being leaked all over the internet but how much of it has been fake news? Shrouded in a cloak of secrecy, we/COPTRZ MD Steve were invited to DJI’s recent covert VIP product launch for the DJI Matrice 300 RTK to find out what how much was fact and how much fiction.
LIE: DJI Have Postponed the Launch of the M300 RTK
The M300 release date has always been scheduled for late Spring, with the first shipments expected in May.
TRUTH: The Matrice 300 RTK Is More Robust than the M200 and M210
There are always a few teething problems when a new product is launched and the M200 had a few, though the later 210 and subsequent V2 models ironed out most issues, DJI acknowledged that a more robust drone was needed to match the needs of commercial users. The new Matrice 300 features an IP Rating of 45, vs the 43 of the M200 series. This means that the system will be protected from water jets from any direction, making it much more suitable for flying in wet conditions. This is a big tick in the box for anyone looking for a search and rescue drone or offshore UAV system where flight conditions are less than ideal.
LIE: The M300 will replace the M200 Series
The all-new M300 promises a catalogue of breakthrough innovations which creates a whole new category for commercial drones to measure up against. It is not, repeat not, a replacement for the M200 series. The M200, 210 and 210 RTK will all continue to be supported. The M300 is also not set to be a ‘series’ of commercial drones, rather the M300 RTK will be a standalone medium enterprise solution to sit between the M200 series and the M600.
TRUTH: The DJI M300 RTK will be able to carry 3 payloads simultaneously
The standard configuration of the M300 series stands as a single downward and single upward gimble. With a quick swap, the downward facing single connector can be replaced with a dual connector to increase your sensor capacity to three devices. With a maximum payload capacity of 2.7kg the M300 is ideal for serious surveying tasks where multiple sensors are needed for enhanced intelligence.
LIE: The DJI Matrice 300 RTK will be able to fly twice as long as the M210 RTK V2
We’re really splitting hairs here. The new Matrice 300 has a massively increased flight time, just not quite twice as long! With a whopping 55 minute max flight time, vs 33 minutes with the M210 RTK V2, the M300 is infinitely more suitable for large scale drone inspections and search and rescue missions. It also features a hot-swappable battery system to get you back in the air in rapid time.
Semi-TRUTH: The DJI M300 RTK will be driven by artificial intelligence
There is some truth to this early rumour about the M300 RTK and although it’s not a fully ‘intelligent’ system, the AI feature is a powerful one for the surveying community. AI Spot Check automates inspections and automatically identifies and classifies features in future missions. You can set up a time series survey of assets for example and the M300 RTK will capture clear and precise results of the same features every single time.
Not for the serious surveyor: We’ll look at how this feature combines with Waypoints 2.0 and the multiple payload capacity later on.
LIE: The new transmission system will have a max flight distance of 10km
If you’re going to leak technical details pre-launch, it’s always good to get your facts right! This was one of the major ‘spoilers’ on the internet back at the beginning of the year and it was woefully inaccurate. DJI’s new M300 series is the first drone to feature their ground-breaking OcuSync Enterprise transmission system which actually enables transmission up to 15km away. Yes, not 10, but 15 kilometres! It also automatically switches between 2.4GHz and 5.8 GHz in real-time to mitigate interference. This is a key feature for drone infrastructure surveys in areas where interference may be high such as powerline inspections.
TRUTH: The M300 is only available in RTK
When DJI first launched the M200 series, there was always going to be an RTK system in the range. Sales and reviews of the M210 RTK and the subsequent M210 RTK V2 proved to the world that real-time kinematic drone systems were in great demand with surveyors. At present, DJI have no plan to release an M300 without RTK but why would you want them to?
The RTK feature of the M300 works in exactly the same way as with the M210 RTK V2. You can also use the same D-RTK 2 mobile station as the M210 RTK so if you’re looking to add to your DJI drone fleet, there’ll be no need for new additional hardware.
The New Matrice 300 RTK in a Nutshell
|M210 RTK V2||M300 RTK||M600 PRO|
|Dimensions (unfolded)||887×880×408 mm||810x670x430mm (propellers excl)||1668x1518x727mm (incl propellers)|
|Dimensions (folded – propellers incl)||716×287×236 mm||430x420x430mm||437x402x553mm|
|Weight||4.42kg (x2 TB50 Batteries)||6.3KG (x2 TB60 Batteries)||10kg|
|Max Take Off Weight||6.14kg||9kg||15.5kg|
|Max Payload Capacity||1.72kg||2.7kg||5.5kg|
|Max Flight Time – Just Batteries||23 minutes||55 minutes||38 minutes|
|Max Flight Time, Full Payload||13 minutes||31 minutes||18 minutes|
|Camera Compatibility||XT2, XT2 S, Z30, X5S, X7||XT2, XT2 S, Z30, H20, H20T||Z30, X3, XT, Z15|
The new M300 RTK is essentially the M210 RTK V2 on steroids. It has everything your drone survey professional wants or needs, plus a few extras that you hadn’t even thought of. You only need to look at the size comparison to know that this survey drone has been designed differently. Unfolded, the dimensions are very similar in length and height but the M300 is more streamlined. It’s 210mm slimmer than the R210 RTK and 24mm taller and it also folds in a completely new way. When it’s in the case the M300 RTK is almost square. It also packs a few more pounds than the M210 RTK but all that extra tech’s got to go somewhere! At 6.3kg, it is almost 2kg heavier than the Matrice 210 RTK but it will support more weight too which brings us to one of the best bits.
Payload Capacity of the M300 RTK
Possibly one of the biggest standout features of the M300 RTK vs the M210 RTK is the advanced payload capacity and gimbal configuration. You can add up to three sensors, two down, one up, with a maximum combined weight of 2.7kg. This is a massive 1kg jump from the capacity of the M210 RTK V2. And if you’re looking to compare the best commercial drones on the market, chances are you’ll also be prioritising flight time. Let’s face it, the longer you can stay up there, the more you’ll get done and time is, after all, money. The M300 RTK can fly for almost an hour unencumbered with a payload. At full capacity and weighing 9kg, you’ll still get 31 minutes before you need to change your batteries. For a commercial drone this is a massive step forward.
Fly Further with Dual Control Capability
One of the closest guarded secrets of the DJI M300 RTK is the dual flight control capability. This isn’t an entirely new feature. In 2017, DJI introduced Dual Remote Controller mode for the Mavic series. This allowed an instructor to co-pilot the system whilst training and also offered the ability for one person to pilot and another to control the camera and gimbal. Imagine the same capabilities in a commercial drone. This is a game-changing feature for applications where you want to take advantage of the 15km transmission range and 55-minute flight time. The M300 RTK will set a new standard for Search and Rescue drones and long-range surveys where BVLOS regulations would otherwise hamper progress. And there’s no need to land to transfer control, it can be done seamlessly in the air.
The dual remote-control mode also allows for 3 live feeds to be simultaneously streamed, including the built-in FPV camera. Using the Smart Pin & Track function you can also identify and follow moving targets. For anyone looking to use drones for public safety and search and rescue missions, this could be the deciding factor. Just tap the screen on the object you want to follow, and PinPoint automatically delivers its current coordinates. Smart Track will then continuously update the subject’s dynamic location until you tell it to stop. Clever stuff, especially if you’re looking for an offshore or long-range inspection drone.
Is the DJI Matrice 300 DJI’s Most Intelligent Drone Yet?
Early in 2019, DJI and Microsoft joined forces to work on a machine learning project which would help a drone to automatically identify different types of fruit. How is this relevant to the drone surveying market? This was the precursor for the intelligent AI Spot Check feature we briefly covered earlier. Automatic feature identification and classification is one of the biggest time savers for anyone looking to carry out time-series surveys. Whether you’re inspecting critical assets for maintenance or measuring and monitoring change, AI Spot Check gives you clear and precise repeatable results.
With every new drone release comes a slew of new safety features and this is one of the most important considerations for commercial drone users. So how does the M300 RTK stack up? The 6 Directional Sensing & Positioning system is truly extraordinary. All six sides of the aircraft are covered with six dual-vision and TOF (time-of-flight) sensors which have a maximum detection range of 40m. You can also use the DJI Pilot App to further customise the sensors to your own limits.
One of the other exclusive features of the M300 RTK is the 3-propeller landing feature. If you lose the use of one rotor, the other three will compensate to allow you to land the aircraft safely. If you use drones for public safety applications or in urban areas, it can be tricky to get the necessary permissions or convince stakeholders that risks of crash landings are low. The rotor redundancy feature goes a long way to ensuring the safety of people on the ground as well as protecting your investment.
DJI have also taken some inspiration from the commercial aviation world to allow pilots more control and visibility with their new Primary Flight Display. The all singing, all dancing PFD shows you your full flight information – altitude, attitude, velocity and wind speed/direction. The Live Status Display also helps you visualise your heading, trajectory and pinpoint information as well as obstacles. Another great safety feature of the M300 RTK.
Introducing the Zenmuse H20 & H20T
The M300 RTK is compatible with most of the Zenmuse range, including the Zenmuse XT S, XT2 and Z30 but the launch of the DJI Matrice 300 RTK coincided with the release of another new sensor, designed specifically to compliment the latest commercial drone in the DJI fleet. The Zenmuse H20 and H20T are only compatible with the DJI M300 RTK. The H20 is a hybrid sensor with laser rangefinder, zoom and wide-angle camera options. The H20T adds an additional radiometric thermal camera function.
The Mothership Has Landed
Again, the development of the Zenmuse H20 shows how DJI are developing their offering to suit their target market. It’s clear from the key features of both the M300 RTK and the H20 that DJI are upping their game to attract more enterprise customers. The M300 RTK has been designed with the needs of the serious surveyor or public safety pilot in mind. We’ve always been the greatest advocates of the M210 RTK and whatever it lacked in high-performance innovation, the M300 RTK delivers.
Unlike many other global tech-leaders, DJI have continued to make their latest offering open to integration with third-party systems. Payload SDK means that you can add your own multispectral sensor, LiDAR system, gas detector, even speakers to the M300 RTK. Don’t forget, you’ve got a payload capacity of 2.7kg you can use!
The DJI Matrice 300 RTK is essentially the mothership of DJI drones. It’s the pinnacle of drone innovation and gives us an insight into the future of machine learning on drone development. The consultation with their key customer base is clear. It’s like DJI sat down with a powerline inspection company, a search and rescue team and a public safety consultant and asked them to make a wish list. And boy did they deliver!
Oh, and just in case you haven’t noticed – the propellers are inverted. Cool right?
Join us on Tuesday 19th May for a joint webinar with DJI looking at the M300 RTK and H20 Series
Don’t forget to join us on the 19th MAY 2020 at 10:00AM for an exclusive expert lead webinar giving you the inside track on DJIs latest product. Join Sam Denniff and DJI’s experts to get the inside scoop on DJI’s newest drone and payloads.
Sign up here
Or find out more about the M300 RTK here