DJI have just announced the release of a game-changing new model, the Matrice 600 (M600). The big reveal was made in Las Vegas over the weekend, during the annual National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) event. They also took the opportunity to announce their first universal aerial gimbal the Ronin-MX as well as the new and improved A3 (and A3 Pro) flight controller.
Introducing the DJI M600
DJI's new hexacopter has been designed for taking professional quality aerial photos and video as well as having the potential to fulfil a varied range of other commercial applications. The M600 is built to integrate with a wide range of DJI tech, including new additions like the Ronin-MX, the A3 flight controller and their Lightbridge 2 transmission system (which is capable of streaming 1080p at 60fps from distances of up to three miles). The M600’s modular design makes it a breeze to set up and it can be ready to use in minutes. This ease of use doesn't affect reliability however, as dustproof propulsion systems streamline maintenance and actively cooled motors enable reliable operation over longer flight times. While clearly aimed towards photographers and cinematographers, the M600's solid functionality is also something that DJI believes would benefit industrial clients looking to take on risky work such as surveying large structures and the maintenance of offshore rigs. Proving itself to be efficient whatever the intended use, DJI’s new model comes with six Intelligent Batteries to maximise its flight time. There’s also a customized power-management system which allows all six batteries to be turned on and off at the push of a button while keeping the system up in the air, should a single battery fail. The M600 works with DJI's high-end Zenmuse camera line. Carrying one of these lighter units, the drone can stay in the air for a highly impressive 35 minutes. The company also announced tonight that it's bringing these more expensive, professional grade cameras to its handheld stabilizer, the Osmo. A generous maximum payload of 6kg allows for the M600 to take on components such as the Ronin-MX, DJI’s first universal aerial gimbal which allows users to attach a wide range of cameras including RED, Canon, Panasonic and Nikon, amongst others. The addition of the Ronin-MX, means that the M600 can achieve 15 minutes of airtime with a fully stocked payload.
More Freedom to Film with the Ronin-MX
DJI’s new gimbal is a highly exciting proposition for filmmakers and aerial photographers. The Ronin-MX has been created with the ability to carry many cameras used on sets day-to-day and the addition of SmoothTrack ensures that all of the gimbal’s movements remain precise and, of course smooth. A combination of stronger motors and ESCs makes the Ronin-MX a mind-blowing 50% more powerful than its predecessor, the Ronin-M. Constructed from lightweight magnesium, the Ronin-MX weighs a mere 2.77kg. This means it can be easily attached to the M600, even when equipped with advanced cameras such as the RED EPIC. In designing the Ronin-MX, DJI have also repositioned the battery at the front to improve its balance, reducing instability during forward flight. This increases the model’s agility and ability to handle rapid movements and even High-G situations. Its Intelligent Batteries are compact, light and provide three hours of run time. Over-charge and over-depletion protection is built in, as is individual cell charge balancing. Also, to keep you in the know as you fly, the Ronin-MX’s remaining power is clearly displayed by LEDs and also in the DJI GO app. A camera cage offers increased stability, locking the attached camera in place, both at the top and bottom. As if to prove that they’ve thought of everything, DJI have also implemented silent motors to prevent any mics from detecting motor noise. This ground-breaking gimbal allows the camera to rotate 360 degrees; never locking in place after a full rotation and continuing to spin endlessly. This vast range of motion doesn’t end there, as the tilt axis ranges from 90° straight down and beyond to 135°. Although there’s plenty of new additions, the mainstays of the Ronin series such as its three modes of operation and SmoothTrack are still here, allowing an assortment of creative angles and movements to videographers. Using the new version of DJI’s Assistant (as well as the app for iOS and Android) allows you total control of the Ronin-MX. When it’s connected to Lightbridge 2, the DJI GO app can be used to dictate how the M600 flies. This includes the use of Intelligent Flight Modes, A3 control functionality, moving the gimbal and watching a stunning HD live feed from your camera of choice. Also, if combined with the optional DJI Focus and Focus Expansion Module, you can remotely control the focus and aperture settings to ensure the perfect shot every time.
Take Control with the A3
DJI's new flight controller is kitted out with attitude determination and multi-sensor fusion algorithms to improve its accuracy. Also, a robust control algorithm allows for the A3 to command a wide range of drones without any need to manually tune it. Safety has also been factored in, as DJI’s implementation of a fault-tolerant control system enables a pilot to land their craft safely even if something as drastic as a propulsion system failure occurs. With an upgraded flight controller, comes an improved assistant. The DJI Assistant 2 is packed with features but still highly intuitive, making it easy to set up DJI’s varied range of aerial systems. There’s also a built-in flight simulator which lets you try out complex moves ahead of time without the risk of causing damage to your drone. Once you've tested out your manoeuvres and are ready to take to the skies, the A3 supports D-RTK GNSS which allows for ‘centimetre-level’ positioning accuracy, much more so than a GPS and barometer solution. This ensures that both you and the craft are always aware of its location. Featuring dual antennas, the A3’s heading reference is more accurate than a compass sensor and depending on the region of purchase, the controller will utilize ‘GPS and BeiDou’ or ‘GPS and GLONASS’ to perform at the highest standards. DJI have also completely overhauled the Ground Station to support touch screen interaction, offline mission design, route planning and even formation flight for multiple aircraft. Another addition, DataLink Pro, integrates seamlessly with the A3 and D-RTK as well as the Ground Station, which allows up to five aircraft to be controlled from one unit. A broadcast mode lets the base station broadcast data to 32 mobile devices and a duplex mode keeps data locked to one device. This works up to a range of 2km.
The A3 Pro
As well as boasting all of the aforementioned features, the upgraded A3 Pro model offers users a greater degree of precision. The A3 Pro is equipped with three IMUs and three GNSS units, with additional analytics allowing for a total of six redundancies. Working together with advanced diagnostic algorithms, if the A3 Pro detects GNSS or IMU unit failure during flight, it seamlessly switches to another unit to maintain reliability and precision.
Note: It's possible to upgrade the A3 to an A3 Pro by installing two upgrade kits.
Expert Service From Heliguy
Here at Heliguy we have been building and repairing a wide range of multi-rotors like the DJI M600 since 2008. Our tech team is highly experienced with everything from quadcopters to larger drones - including hexacopters or octocopters designed to carry heavier payloads and specialist equipment. We have built for a wide range of clients including the BBC, Sky Futures, HBO's Game of Thrones and West Midlands Police. As demonstrated by this positive feedback, our UAV technical experts are well versed in what they build and can efficiently support you throughout the entire process. Fully insured and in possession of a recognised ISO9001 QMS, we're passionate about attaining the highest standards for both ourselves our customers. Because of this, Heliguy's expert service levels are unmatched. We follow an exclusive 35-point checklist that ensures that every craft we work on is both safe to operate and a joy to fly. When the build is completed, we offer 'handover days' here at Heliguy HQ. A technician will talk clients through the individual components and the operating procedures for the hardware and software before taking them for an introductory flight at our test field. This full-service approach ensures means that our customers will be getting the most out of their new DJI Matrice 600.
You need a drone license when you are flying as a commercial drone pilot, ie when you are using your drone for work and money-making purposes. This means, in most cases, you will need to sit the FAA Part 107 test.
You do not need a drone license when you are flying as a hobby and for purely recreational purposes. However, you will need to operate by strict rules. There are plans to introduce the requirement for hobbyists to pass an online aeronautical knowledge and safety test.