NEWS: DJI Partners, Parrot's Pivot & EASA Proposal

Learn about Phase One adding their 100MP camera to the M600 via DJI's SDK, what Parrot's new strategy is and if EASA's new guidelines will prove more popular.

5 minute read

NEWS: DJI Partners, Parrot's Pivot & EASA Proposal

There's a lot going on this week in the world of drones with DJI's products finding new support through third parties, Parrot attempting to make their mark on the 'prosumer' market and EASA's release of their updated guidelines for drones. Get your news fix below with Heliguy Insider's drone industry update.

Phase One Industrial Integrates DJI Matrice 600 Series

Phase One Industrial, a manufacturer of medium format aerial cameras up to 100MP has revealed that its iXU and iXU-RS models are now compatible with DJI’s M600 and M600 Pro hexacopters. Aimed specifically at the inspection market, this rig has been pitched as a tool to monitor critical infrastructure projects. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the result of a partnership between the two companies and comes through Phase One’s use of DJI’s SDK (Software Development Kit) for third parties. This is an interesting development due to DJI’s recently announced Hasselblad H6D-100c bundle with the M600 Pro which also boasts 100MP imagery. Here are the key features of this Phase One’s decision to use their cameras with DJI’s drones:
  • A choice of 100MP and 50MP aerial cameras
  • Robust camera design and lenses aimed at use in challenging environments
  • Smart camera triggering using waypoints, fixed distance or fixed time
  • Support for mission planning i.e. DJI Ground Station Pro
  • Geotagging of file location and gimbal position;
  • Dual remote controllers enable both a pilot and camera operator to work together seamlessly
This integration also includes the new ‘iX Capture’ iOS app, which offers an intuitive interface and remote control of the camera as well as video streaming, auto or manual capture settings and camera control via DJI’s Lightbridge 2. Known for their precision imaging, small size and low weight Phase One’s industrial cameras support workflows from leading post-processing software including Pix4D, Agisoft and SimActive. These custom builds are available from Phase One Industrial starting from $29k including the integration kit and lens.

DJI Partners with DroneDeploy

In further DJI news, the Shenzhen market leader has joined forces with aerial mapping specialists DroneDeploy. This has taken the form of the 'DroneDeploy & DJI Construction Mapping Package' which includes a one-year Pro or Business software subscription to the DroneDeploy platform, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro and a range of other drone accessories. Speaking on the subject of this partnership Jan Gasparic, Head of Enterprise Marketing at DJI said: "DJI Phantom series drones have set the standard for businesses that need an easy and affordable way to capture detailed aerial data from their sites. DroneDeploy has built a powerful platform for taking data from DJI's aerial platforms and turning them into actionable data for businesses. By bringing these two platforms together as the 'Construction Mapping Package', the construction industry has a turnkey mapping solution to introduce or scale out their drone operations."  As an authorised supplier of DroneDeploy and licensed DJI dealer, Heliguy will be monitoring this partnership as it progresses as it represents an exciting step forward for fully integrated drone enterprise solutions.  

Parrot Sets Its Sights on the Enterprise Market

Drone manufacturer Parrot has announced the launch of a new team to bring together the best of its commercial and consumer lines into a new prosumer category. The imaginatively named ‘Parrot Professional’ is looking to create drone within the $1k-$5k range with a view to entering growing enterprise markets such as construction and agriculture. This new direction comes hot on the heels of the French company’s layoff of 300 staff members (roughly a third of its drone division) and shows their intention to shift focus towards the growing demand for commercial drone solutions. To accompany the unveiling of this new division, Parrot has announced three new products, all of them essentially up-specced versions of previous consumer models. First, there’s the Disco-Pro AG, a modified Parrot Disco with the addition of precision sensors and autonomous flight-planning software. Then there’s the Bebop-Pro 3D which is aimed at aerial imaging to support 3D modelling and the Bebop-Pro Thermal which is pretty self-explanatory. This is an interesting move from Parrot but they’re likely to find strong competition in the form of DJI who have been bullishly carving their niche in the ‘prosumer’ market over the past few years. To illustrate this, for sales of drones in the $500-$1k price range during 2016, DJI held 36% of the North American market while Parrot only managed 7%. It will be an uphill struggle to challenge DJI on both price and quality so it will be interesting to see what 2017 brings from Parrot.

EASA Release Revised Proposal on UAV Regulation

EASA (The European Aviation Safety Agency) has published a proposal for the regulation of ‘small drones’ in Europe. Presented in a document called ‘Notice of Proposed Amendment’ it has been developed alongside industry experts including representatives of the EASA member states, the drone industry, UAV operators, aviation representatives and aero-modelling associations. Before we look at what’s included it’s important to mention that none of this is set in stone and will be open to discussion throughout 2017, taking into account any issues raised by concerned parties, before a final decision is made. You can see the full proposal here:

This document offers suggested guidelines on safely operating drones without preventing the rapidly growing industry from remaining agile and innovative. Some of the key points raised by the report include the risks facing people on the ground and other aircraft as well as privacy, security and data protection. The proposal outlines a definition of the technical and operational requirements for small drones. The technical requirements refer to the remote identification of drones and the operational requirements feature references geofencing amongst other features. It also mentions the importance of a pilots’ qualifications and states that drone operators must register themselves, except for drones weighing less than 250g. Combining both product and aviation legislation, the report recommends design requirements for small drones to be implemented including the addition of the well-known CE (“Conformité européenne”) marking to future products. The CE marking will sit side-by-side with the ID of the drone’s classification and there will also be an instructional leaflet included with all drones sold, outlining best practice for users. On a positive note for those affected, this proposal allows flexibility for the EASA Member States; who will be able to define operational restriction zones in their territory (i.e. to prevent flights over sensitive areas such as crucial infrastructure or military installations) and also where certain requirements outlined in the report can be less stringently enforced. For use cases that pose a higher risk, operational risk assessments will define the requirements the pilot needs to comply with before flying the drone.

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Keep checking back to Heliguy Insider for more DJI product updates, insights into the current regulatory landscape and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

 

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