DJI’s Automatic ‘Drone in a Box’ Flies and Photographs for 6 Months

DJI Dock 2

DJI announced the Dock 2, a “drone in a box” system that features a specially designed Matrice 3D or 3TD drone that can fly automatic missions for up to six months once in position.

Designed for automated missions such as surveying, inspections, asset management, and security, the Dock 2 advances over the original DJI Dock through its compact size and improved operation capabilities thanks to cloud-based intelligent features, the company says.

Dock 2 weighs 75 pounds and measures 22.4 by 22.9 inches wide and 18.3 inches tall — that’s 75% smaller and 68% lighter than the previous generation and can be carried by hand by two adults, which DJI says makes installation easier and more cost effective. Beyond that, Dock 2’s vision sensors let it evaluate a deploy site before the drone is launched, significantly expediting the site selection process to 12 minutes or less which is a huge improvement from the previous five hours. Once ready, it can quickly complete propeller inspections and get accurate RTH location information using its dual RTK antennas, allowing the drone to take off within a minute.

The Dock 2 is designed to be set in place and left to itself over long periods of time. As long as it is attached to power, it can remain in place. DJI says that it only requires maintenance once every six months. The Dock 2 is IP55 rated and uses sensors to gauge rainfall, wind speed, and temperature in real-time. If weather is inclement, it will send an alert to its command app (DJI FlightHub 2) and the flight can be canceled.

DJI Dock 2

Internal and external fisheye lenses provide real-time conditions within and outside the dock, allowing operators to remotely observe weather conditions, environmental circumstances, and takeoff and landing situations. In the hangar, the drone’s battery can be wirelessly charged to 90% from 20% in approximately 32 minutes.

In the event of a power outage, the box can operate with its built-in battery for five hours, which buys enough time for the drone to return and dock by itself, assuring that it never gets stranded while in the air. DJI FlightHub 2 immediately sends email notifications if a flight task fails, which DJI says allows operators to trace and troubleshoot accurately.

“Over the years, DJI’s industrial-grade drones have helped everyday heroes worldwide save lives, improve worker safety across industries, and conserve ecosystems amid climate changes,” Christina Zhang, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy at DJI, says. “Today, far too many workers must perform repetitive but complex and dangerous jobs manually onsite. With DJI Dock 2, we’re delivering a cost-effective automatic aerial solution to complete these jobs efficiently from a safe distance.”

High-precision 3D models can be created based on collected flight data with Dock 2 when combined with DJI’s FlightHub 2 which allows the drone to be programmed to automatically adjust the camera’s angle as well as its flight path so that it can capture the exact same over the course of multiple flights, fully automating routine surveying.

DJI Dock 2

For professional creators working in the corporate space, this would allow repeated capture of the same scene over months, providing a client with unique timelapse video (once edited together) or photos over time, a common request for construction or engineering firms.

While Dock 2 allows drones to complete work automatically, DJI allows the drones to be controlled at will at any point, allowing the flight path or camera angle to be changed easily on the fly.

Speaking of the drone, the Dock 2 uses the specialized and brand-new DJI Matrice 3D or 3TD, which are specialized drones equipped with integrated RTK antennas, omnidirectional obstacle sensing, and automatic obstacle bypass as well as a mammoth 50-minute maximum flight time, a 6-mile operating radius, an IP54 rating for wind and dust, ad are rated for 400 battery recharge cycles.

The Matrice 3D is designed for automated mapping and surveying missions and features a telephoto camera (1/2-inch CMOS, 162mm format equivalent, 12-megapixels) and a wide camera (4/3 CMOS, 24mm format equivalent, 220-megapixels) with a mechanical shutter.

DJI Dock 2
Matrice 3D

The Matrice 3TD is designed for security and inspection operations and is equipped with the same telephoto camera as the Matrice 3D but a different wide camera (1/1.32-inch CMOS, 24mm format equivalent, 48-megapixels) but also an infrared camera (40mm format equivalent, 640×512 resolution for normal mode and 1,280×1,024 resolution for UHR infrared image mode, 28x digital zoom) that can depict both visible light and thermal images.

DJI Dock 2
Matrice 3TD

Both versions of DJI Dock 2 with either the DJI Matrice 3D or DJI Matrice 3TD can be reserved starting March 26. Those interested can get pricing from local authorized DJI Enterprise dealers.

Image credits: DJI