DJI Dock: An Innovative Drone In A Box Solution

DJI Dock: An Innovative Drone In A Box Solution

The DJI Dock is a revolutionary drone in a box solution. Learn about its key features which enable drones to fly with greater autonomy.

Last updated: Mar 30, 2022
Published on: Mar 29, 2022

7 minute read

  • DJI Dock is a drone in a box solution to conduct automatic, repeatable drone workflows;
  • It is rugged, weatherproof and fully-programmable;
  • DJI Dock features smart tech such as weather station, RTK module, and advanced redundancy features;
  • Compatible with the M30 Series (Dock Version), offering powerful flight performance and huge data capture possibilities.

DJI Dock: The future of remote drone operations is here.   

 

 

This innovative solution enables drones to fly with greater autonomy in remote locations and without supervision.

Admittedly the drone in a box concept is nothing new. But DJI entering this space is an exciting prospect for the development of remote drone operations.

And the DJI Dock is truly a revelation.

 

 

Rugged, reliable, and built to operate 24/7, each DJI Dock houses an innovative Matrice 30 aircraft (Dock Version) where it lands, recharges, takes off, and executes missions which can be programmed in DJI FlightHub 2.

Packed with features, this durable and fully-programmable base station provides operators with the ability to conduct automatic, repeatable drone workflows.

This blog explores the DJI Dock and focuses on how it has been engineered to inspire a new generation of remote operations. 

Anatomy Of The DJI Dock

The DJI Dock is packed with highly-integrated hardware to improve functionality and to facilitate remote deployments.

These key components include a weather station, which knows when conditions aren't safe for the M30 to fly.

 

 

On top of the weather station, there is an ultrawide security camera that you can live stream using FlightHub 2.

 

 

If you're installing the dock in a location with poor signal, the dock can have 4G connectivity, thanks to a port for an external 4G dongle...

 

 

...but normally you should be fine thanks to the dock's four antennas and O3 Enterprise transmission that communicate with the M30.

 




The dock also has an RTK base station module to help missions requiring precision, to the centremetre level, accuracy.

 


The DJI Dock has smart redundancy features. If something goes wrong and there is an emergency power outage, for example, the dock has an internal backup emergency battery that can keep the dock powered and communicating with the M30 long enough for it to get back to base safely.

It also has an Edge Computing Expansion Slot.

Weatherproof

An essential requirement of a drone in a box solution is its ability to operate around the clock, day or night, come rain or shine.

The DJI Dock duly delivers. This rugged solution can operate in temperatures ranging from -35°C to 50°C.

It is also IP55 rated, while its core components are IP67, making it waterproof and dustproof even when it is open.

 

 

And if the weather truly is too severe for the M30 to fly safely, the dock will know thanks to that integrated weather station. 

The DJI Dock’s interior is climate controlled, to help bring the batteries to the optimal temperature for charging the M30 safely. 

Quick Installation

The DJI Dock weighs 90 kg and covers an area of ​​less than 1 square metre. It can be transported by elevator or even via vehicle.

Installation only needs four bolts, one for each bottom corner, a power source, an internet source, and a few minutes to configure with the DJI RC Plus.

 

 

DJI Dock's Health Management System tracks its status around the clock and will notify you through FlightHub 2 if there are any abnormalities.

In the unlikely event that something does go wrong, the entire dock has been made with modular components that make repairs straightforward.

Bi-annual checks are recommended: Ensure the dock is clear of dust, clean your M30’s sensors, and swap in new batteries. Aside from that and the flight instruction you provide, the system is completely independent.

Rapid Charging For Reduced Downtime

The DJI Dock provides super-quick charging time for fast turnarounds, round the clock persistence and reduced downtime.

After landing, the M30 can be charged and airborne again in just 25 minutes!

 

 

This is made possible, in part, by the dock’s battery cooling system. Once the drone lands, cool air is blown through the batteries to cool them down so every charge is as efficient as possible.

The DJI Dock has two charging modes, determined by when your next mission is scheduled to launch:

  • Alert Mode: Keeps the M30 charged at 80-90%, so it’s ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.
  • Standard Mode: Keeps the drone battery at a steady 50% between flights, but will automatically charge it up to capacity ahead of its next mission. 

7 km Flight Radius

The dock is compatible with the Dock Versions of the M30/M30T. This combination provides a powerful flight performance for enhanced data collection over a large area.

A single M30 Dock Version will cover an operational radius of seven kilometers with 40 minutes of flight time per mission.

 

 

For greater coverage, multiple docks can be stationed at intervals and programmed to provide coordinated data. Two docks are all that’s needed to have a drone in the air at all times. 

To ensure mission effectiveness, the M30 Series is a hardy aircraft, with a maximum wind resistance of 15 m/s, IP55 IP Rating and works in temperatures ranging from -30°C to 50°C.

The M30 Series Dock Version integrates a laser rangefinder with wide and zoom cameras (and the M30T Dock Version also has a thermal camera): Providing a versatile data capture solution.

For the record, there are also non Dock versions of the M30 Series.

Fully-programmable With DJI FlightHub 2

DJI Dock operations are managed through FlightHub 2. Use the application to set up flight plans and mission schedules, handle data storage and management and collaborate with your team on data processing.

 

 

Everything from mission planning to data review can be carried out remotely. It’s an unprecedented level of cloud control and oversight for remote operations.

Find out more about FlightHub 2 in our in-depth guide.

DJI Dock has also been launched with Cloud API access, opening up the platform to third-party developers.

It means that enterprise users will be able to develop their own solutions and integrate dock operations into existing workflows - giving operators full control over this groundbreaking capability. 

DJI Dock: Applications

From power lines and railways to bridges and cell towers, one DJI Dock enables inspections of assets across a vast area.

The M30’s range and flight time also combine to enable persistent site security, along with a regular eye in the sky on large-scale engineering and construction projects.

A drone in a box solution can also be used by public safety operators.

DJI Dock: Use In The UK

In various locations around the world - such as the UK - there are limitations on BVLOS operations.

While this does temper remote deployment - a key element of the drone in a box principle - organisations can still use the DJI Dock as an intelligent base station to launch the M30 while keeping the drone in visual line of sight. Crucially, the M30 Dock Series can be controlled via the DJI RC plus after linking the controller to the aircraft.

 

 

An Operational Safety Case (OSC) - to fly outside Standard Permissions - could also facilitate longer-distance flights via the dock.

And for research teams, the DJI Dock presents a great opportunity to test and build a portfolio of evidence as part of discussions around remote operations and EVLOS/BVLOS flights.

With this in mind, the long-term potential of the dock is huge. 

When Is The DJI Dock Available?

The DJI Dock is currently being tested and is expected to become available from Q4 2022. 

DJI Dock: Summary

The DJI Dock opens new possibilities for many fields that can benefit from automated flights, such as infrastructure inspection, site monitoring and engineering supervision.

In areas where drones are allowed to fly autonomously, unattended or beyond the operator’s visual line of sight, the DJI Dock is ready to enable those operations, with remote supervision from another location through FlightHub 2.

 

 

It is worth noting that there are locations around the world where there are restrictions on BVLOS and unsupervised flights.

Acknowledging this, DJI says it is confident that the DJI Dock will become a powerful force for change in that regard.

By DJI's own admission, the DJI Dock is its first drone in a box solution, and it is still learning. 

But with fully-programmable operations, unmatched durability, and smart redundancy features, the DJI Dock signals the next step in drone innovation, and could provide a catalyst for change to enable BVLOS flights in more locations around the world. 

 

Contact heliguy™ to discuss the DJI Dock drone in a box solution.


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