Komatsu Expands Drone Fleet With DJI Phantom 4 RTK
- Global construction firm Komatsu expands its drone fleet with a Phantom 4 RTK from DJI Gold Partner Heliguy;
- The drone will complement Komatsu’s current UAS capabilities;
- Komatsu chose the DJI Phantom 4 RTK because it is lightweight and a quick-to-deploy solution;
- The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is a next-gen mapping and survey drone, which can yield ‘high accuracy’.
Global construction firm Komatsu has bolstered its drone fleet by adding a DJI Phantom 4 RTK to its ranks, supplied by Heliguy.
The next-generation mapping and surveying aircraft will complement Komatsu’s current drone technology.
The Phantom 4 RTK will be deployed on job sites around Europe and forms part of Komatsu’s Smart Construction strategy, which places digital transformation and innovation at its heart to maximise efficiency and productivity.
The drone will be used during the earthworks stage to collect accurate terrain data – quickly, efficiently and safely in conjunction with Komatsu’s unique Edgebox system.
Richard Clement, Deputy General Manager of the Smart Construction Department at Komatsu’s County Durham office, described DJI technology as reliable and said that the Phantom 4 RTK fitted the bill because it is lightweight and is an easily-deployable out-of-the-box solution.
“The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is an attractive piece of technology for us to offer our clients,” he said.
“Our purchase of the drone has been prompted to improve some of our operations in France. They have found that, because our current drones weigh over 2kg, certain restrictions and regulations apply, such as the need for parachutes and circuit breakers.
“Therefore, we were after a drone which weighed under 2kg, but was also reliable and had good credentials – and the Phantom 4 RTK was ideal. We are used to DJI. It is proven technology, we know it works.”
Released at the end of 2018, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK weighs 1,391g, has a 1”CMOS sensor, can capture centimetre-accurate data while requiring fewer ground control points, and utilises RTK (real-time kinematic) data capture.
It has already been verified by a range of Heliguy clients, with Terra Drone Europe describing it as a ‘good survey tool that can yield high accuracy’, while Balfour Beatty has used the aircraft on a major multi-million-pound Smart Motorway development in The Midlands.
Komatsu is relishing the prospect of deploying the Phantom 4 RTK on its job sites and comparing it to the current drone system.
The current drone autonomously flies over job sites to create highly-accurate 3D site maps and models, and is part of a High Precision Package, developed by Skycatch, along with the Edge1 RTK base station, a highly-powerful ruggedised computer with software that locally processes drone images into precise 3D models, regardless of wireless connectivity and location.
Richard said: “The current drone is a specialist development, so the attractive thing for us was that the Phantom 4 RTK is a ready-to-use, off-the-shelf product, and is less than 2kg in weight.
“This gives us a low-weight option to offer our clients and gives them another piece of technology to choose from, where flight conditions require a lower mass UAV.”
For Komatsu and its clients, deploying drones onsite has become a no-brainer, saving time and money, and increasing data accuracy.
Richard said: “Thanks to drones and Edge1 Surface from Motion processing, data can be collected from a site in half an hour, compared to three days using traditional hand-held methods. Drones enable firms to create highly accurate maps and point clouds, discover costly job site mistakes, and predict schedule delays, saving up to tens of thousands of pounds per week.”
Ben Sangster, Heliguy’s GIS expert, completed a handover of the DJI Phantom 4 RTK with Richard.
Ben said: “The Phantom 4 RTK is an excellent mapping drone and is proving popular with our clients who are already using it for their mapping, surveying and construction projects.
“We are pleased that a company such as Komatsu chose Heliguy as their prefered supplier of the Phantom 4 RTK. I believe the drone will be an asset to Komatsu and its operations around the world and I look forward to hearing how it has performed in the field.”