M300 RTK In Commercial Drone Programmes
- User-success stories: Find out how the DJI M300 RTK is transforming commercial drone programmes;
- The drone saved global oil giant Shell $100,000 on a single job;
- Valmont Utility has seen 30% efficiency savings since using the M300 RTK;
- The thermal capabilities of the H20T camera ‘are amazing’, superior to the XT2 – says HazMat personnel;
- Power-line inspection company describes M300 RTK and H20 Series as powerful tools;
- Police officer says department has ‘fallen in love’ with the laser rangefinder on H20 Series, and the M300 RTK is ‘outstanding’;
- Buy M300 RTK and H20 Series from drone specialist Heliguy.
The DJI M300 RTK is transforming commercial drone programmes – helping global oil giant Shell save $100,000 on a single job, increasing a utility company’s efficiency by 30%, and paving the way for automated powerline inspections.
These glowing reports were shared at DJI’s 2020 AirWorks conference, where drone pilots across a range of industries voiced their approval for DJI’s newest enterprise platform.
Drone advocates from public safety, HazMat response, industrial inspection, and powerline management were in collective agreement that the M300 RTK and dedicated H20 payload series has set a new standard for commercial drone programmes.
RELATED ARTICLE: M300 RTK IN-DEPTH GUIDE
The drone’s extended flight time, increased payload capacity, and strong manoeuvrability, coupled with the H20 Series’ thermal, zoom, and laser rangefinder capabilities, are driving major efficiency gains and safety benefits.
These key features are summarised below:
|M300 RTK||H20 Series (H20 & H20T)|
|55 minute maximum flight time||12MP Wide Camera|
|15km Max Transmission||20MP zoom camera; 23x hybrid optical zoom, 200x max zoom|
|IP45 Rating||Radiometric thermal camera – 640x512px (H20T only)|
|Six directional sensing and positioning||Laser rangefinder – 1200m max range|
|UAV Health Management System||IP44 Rating|
|Hot-swappable battery||-20C to 50°C Operating temperature|
|Advanced Dual Control||Active image stabilisation and EIS|
|-20°C to 50°C Operating Temperature||Night Scene mode|
In this Heliguy blog, we will show how the M300 RTK and H20 Series are transforming the world of work.
M300 RTK For HazMat Response
Drones have become a crucial tool for HazMat response.
A drone can be sent into a situation ahead of crews, enhancing first responder safety.
It can also provide crucial situational awareness to help shape a more efficient incident response.
“The advantages are huge,” said Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Chris Gould, at AirWorks.
But at AirWorks 2020, Battalion Chief Gould, and colleague Rich Gatanis (firefighter/UAS coordinator) admitted the M300 RTK provides new capabilities for HazMat teams.
“The M300 RTK is built for HazMat response,” said firefighter Gatanis.
H20T v XT2
Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue team says one of the most important features of the M300 RTK is its new cameras – namely the H20T.
This quad-sensor solution features:
- 20 MP Zoom Camera
- 12MP Wide Camera
- 1200m LRF
- 640×512 px Radiometric Thermal Camera
Thermal imaging is vital for HazMat response, and the H20T – engineered especially for the M300 RTK – is a game-changer.
Previously, the team has relied on the XT2 and M200 Series. And while Firefighter Gatanis praised the capabilities of the XT2, he said the H20T blows it out of the water.
“The difference is night and day,” he said.
For example, look at the difference in detail between the H20T and the XT2.
Firefighter Gatanis said: “The thermal resolution on the H20T is crazy. It has an extremely fast refresh rate and it is amazing how much detail you can get.
“One of our most important tasks is identifying liquid levels in tanks – and thermal allows us to do that.
“With other thermals, it was more difficult to see the difference in temperature, but the H20T has so much detail. It is impressive.”
Meanwhile, this image shows the differences when the isotherm settings are set at the same temperature and palette, with the H20T on the left.
Firefighter Gatanis said: “The amount of difference and the really low range of temperature difference on the H20T is excellent. It is amazing how well and clear I can isolate a thermal signature.”
Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue team also highlighted the differences between the thermal zoom capabilities of the H20T and XT2.
Firefighter Gatanis said: “There is a night and day difference in the amount of detail between the H20T and XT2. And that detail is huge for us.
“The XT2 is a great camera, but I am really excited about the H20T.”
Increased Flight Time ‘Is Impressive’
The M300 RTK has a 55-minute flight time with no payload – the longest of any DJI drone.
At maximum take-off capacity (9kg), it can achieve 31 minutes, and 43 minutes with the H20T camera.
This table below shows the M300 RTK’s endurance with its compatible payloads.
|No payload||55 min|
|XT S||48 min|
|XT 2||45 min|
|H20 + XT S||40 min|
|Z30 + XT 2||39 min|
|H20 + XT 2||39 min|
|Maximum Take-off (9kg)||31 min|
The M300 RTK can also be integrated with third-party payloads and it can carry a maximum payload weight of 2.7kg; this compared to the 1.45kg top payload limit of the M200 Series V2 drone, for instance.
RELATED ARTICLE: M300 RTK v M200 Series V2
These factors offer a new dimension to HazMat teams.
Firefighter Gatanis said: “We do a lot of stuff with large meters, which typically we have to carry on our person.
“Being able to attach those to the aircraft – with the M300 RTK having increased payload capabilities – and letting it do a lot of the work for us is important.
“And a sensor like a PID meter, which is one of the most important sensors we can use in HazMat response, couldn’t be carried by previous platforms we’ve used. But the M300 has the ability to do this.
“And then there’s the increased flight time. Again, before we were looking at 20 to 30 minutes of actual work time when carrying a meter. The ability of the M300 to practically double that time is impressive for us.”
Waypoints Help Mission Efficiency
The M300 RTK allows operators to create up to 65,535 waypoints and set multiple actions for one or more payloads, including third-party ones, at each waypoint.
Such optimised flightpath planning maximises flexibility and efficiency for missions.
This feature is a major plus-point for HazMat teams.
Firefighter Gatanis said: “Whether we are marking victims or potential leak locations where our entry teams are working, being able to use Waypoint/GPS markers and to see them rapidly on your map and on your screen is pretty exciting stuff.”
Benefits Of New DJI Smart Controller Enterprise
The M300 RTK comes with the new DJI Smart Controller Enterprise, featuring an ultra-bright 5.5-inch 1080p display which maintains clear visibility, even in direct sunlight.
To put this into perspective, the DJI Smart Controller Enterprise is twice as bright as conventional smart devices.
Firefighter Gatanis said: “I’ve always been a big fan of the Smart Controller that we use for the Mavic 2 Enterprise, so to be able to take that and now use it for the larger aircraft is pretty exciting stuff.”
But in Firefighter Gatanis’ view, the new Smart Controller Enterprise trumps these options, being ‘less cumbersome and heavy to use – especially for long durations – and having a more intuitive interface’.
He added: “The fact that we can attach the battery on the back of the Smart Controller is a plus for us.
“We can also put a secondary monitor on there if we are running a third-party app down the road, which is exciting.”
M300 RTK For Public Safety
“The M300 RTK is an outstanding platform. In my opinion, DJI have knocked it out of the park with the M300 RTK.”
That was the view of Brandon Karr, Police Officer, at Pearland Police Department, in Texas.
Speaking at AirWorks, he expressed his delight with the new platform, especially the capabilities of the H20 camera series; particularly the laser rangefinder.
H20 Camera – Benefits For First Responders
He said: “We have fallen in love with the laser rangefinder. It is an outstanding addition to the H20 series.
“The laser rangefinder is paramount to being able to pinpoint where individuals are and how far away they are.
“We track with canines and previously I had to guesstimate, using my own experience and training, how far out a suspect was from the dog.
“Now I can find the suspect, go back to the canine, use the laser rangefinder and say the suspect is X amount of feet away and coordinate the dog to him.
“The laser rangefinder also allows us to provide latitude and longitude coordinates.”
The H20 Series features a 23x hybrid optical zoom and a maximum 200x zoom.
These images below show just how powerful the zoom can be, coupled with the ability to switch between zoom and wide view.
The subject is the red sign. The zoom starts at 5x, then increases to 20x, 40x, 80x, and 200x, and then back to wide view.
Police Officer Karr said this level of zoom ‘helps to maintain situational awareness and provides a tactical advantage of being able to zoom from further away’.
The M300 RTK also provides a sophisticated tracking system; an important feature for law enforcement teams and first responders.
The drone’s SmartTrack function identifies and follows moving subjects like people, vehicles, and boats, with auto-zoom applied for steady tracking and viewing.
“The ActiveTracking on the M300 RTK is pretty impressive, with more effective tracking than we’ve had in the past,” said Police Officer Karr.
M300 RTK – Multiple Payload Capacity
The M300 RTK can carry up to three payloads, including third-party options.
This is an advantage for public safety teams, as crews can bolt-on cameras/sensors for additional needs.
“This means that we can utilise the spotlights that we have, which is pretty awesome,” said Police Officer Karr.
“This backwards compatibility means that our payloads for the Matrice 200 V2 are now not just paperweights, and we can use them on this system.”
M300 RTK – Flying BVLOS
Police Officer Karr said that the M300 RTK can be flown BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) – subject to the relevant permissions, such as the issue of a First Responder Tactical BVLOS waiver in the United States.
“This helps you find a suspect, for example, who would be difficult to trace without flying BVLOS,” he added.
Several features make the M300 RTK an ideal candidate for BVLOS missions, such as its enhanced collision avoidance features; advanced redundancy systems; the new integrated Health Management System; anti-collision beacon; AirSense ADS-B Receiver; and up to 15km transmission range.
M300 RTK For Utility Inspection
Over the last two years, Valmont Utility has switched roughly 80% of inspection work over to drones – and is reaping the rewards.
Jake Lahmann, Quality – UAS Manager at Valmont Utility, said: “This has increased both the quality and speed of our inspection and we can offer more accurate, actionable reports to the customers.
“Even more impressively, we have saved a ton of money – literally millions of dollars – for our clients.”
Valmont Utility has been utilising the DJI M300 RTK with H20 payload, and the drone is helping with major efficiency gains.
Mr Lahmann said: “This platform has increased our efficiency by at least 30%.
“This means that this drone is not just a purchase for us, it is an investment that would pay for itself.”
M300 RTK For Industrial Inspection
DJI and Shell Oil Company have formed a Solution Development Partnership to create, test and deploy DJI drone technology at Shell’s Deer Park Manufacturing Complex.
Shell is using drones to improve efficiency and worker safety during industrial inspections and emergency incident response.
The company is also testing advanced drone solutions, like the DJI Matrice 300 RTK, that allow workers to automate required inspections of critical infrastructure like flare tips and floating roof tanks whose condition and activity are difficult to assess from ground level.
Shell has already reaped huge benefits from the M300 RTK – with the drone and the digital zoom on the H20 payload helping to save the company around $100,000 on one job alone.
John McClain, Chief Drone Pilot, at Shell Deer Park Refining Co, said: “One of our steam vents was scheduled for a demonstration, but the inspectors and engineers in charge of demonstration projects needed to find some lettering and model number on the vent
“The H20 digital zoom was used. We could look through the steam and make out what the letter words and serial numbers were in just one picture.
“This increased safety and reduced the risk of having to send someone climbing up a scaffold or sending someone up in a crane to find out what this was.
“It also meant that the unit didn’t have to shut down the steam leading to the vent.
“We also saved on the cost of the crane and scaffolding, the crew to operate the crane and build the scaffolding, and the cost and time of two engineers having to go up there and look for themselves.
“So using the drone and getting the information from this one picture saved us $100,000 or so.”
M300 RTK For Power-line Inspection
Traditionally, power-line inspection has been a challenging and time-consuming process – especially in extreme environments, like high altitudes, where low temperatures and natural obstacles make powerline inspection hazardous and labour-intensive.
But the M300 RTK drone is changing all of that.
During AirWorks 2020, a DJI presentation showed how Sichuan Electric Power Transmission and Transformation Co Ltd is benefiting from this rugged enterprise platform.
The M300 RTK is helping the company inspect power lines in the West Sichuan Plateau, where the air is thin, temperatures can plummet to -20°C, and the nearest vehicle can’t get within 1000m of the pylons.
It is increasing the safety and efficiency of operations – helping to automate workflows and reduce the need to manually climb pylons.
“We Are More Efficient With The M300”
Tian Li, Power Line Maintenace Coordinator, said: “Previously, two inspectors would only be able to inspect two or three sections of power lines a day, but now, with M300 RTK, two or three payloads can be inspected in a single flight.
“With the M300 RTK we are more efficient at inspection and maintenance.
“The drone really shines in missions that cover long distances with large altitude differences.”
Key features benefiting Sichuan Electric Power Transmission and Transformation Co Ltd include:
- Increased flight time, in excess of 40 minutes with the H20 Series payload;
- High ascent speeds (S mode: 6 m/s. P mode: 5 m/s), and high descent speeds (Vertical – S mode: 5 m/s. P mode 4 m/s. Tilt – S Mode: 7 m/s);
- RTK Positioning System/Dual Antennas helps to resist electromagnetic interference from the power lines and helps the drone fly stably and precisely;
- Can fly up to 7000m above sea level with high-altitude propellers. This is the highest altitude capability of any DJI drone;
- Fast-charging battery station, managing up to eight flight batteries and four remote controller batteries;
- Thermal imaging on H20T helped the company find an overheated suspension clamp. This wouldn’t have been possible with visible light images only.
Smart Inspection With The M300 RTK
The M300 RTK has a range of smart inspection features which are greatly aiding the company’s work.
- Live Mission Recording: Record mission actions such as aircraft movement, gimbal orientation, photo shooting, and zoom level to create sample mission files for future automated inspections.
- AI Spot-Check (with the H20 Series): Automate routine inspections and capture consistent results every time. Onboard AI recognises the subject of interest and identifies it in subsequent automated missions to ensure consistent framing. “This means we never have to find the target objects manually again,” says Jiang Zongwu, Power Line Maintenance Coordinator.
Tian Li said: “We have been using drones since 2015 and have witnessed how drone technology has revolutionised the electricity industry.
“Automated grid inspections will become an industry standard and the M300 RTK and H20 Series are powerful tools that help us prepare for the challenge ahead.”
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