Meet the Matrice M200 — the Latest Adaptable Aerial Imaging Platform by DJI

The rise of drones as consumer gadgets for hobbyists has taken many people by surprise. Now readily available to the public on retail shelves across the country, they make a great gift for a curious child or an enthusiastic adult. Drones have even made it to the big sports networks, and instead of tuning in to watch Formula One, Nascar and other sports, many are keen to check out the piloting skills of the world’s newest sports stars.

With all this attention on the consumer market, it is easy to forget that it was once assumed that drone use would be limited to industry, agriculture and security. These fields, indeed, have not been ignored. Now, one of the leading consumer drone manufacturers, DJI, is looking to expand its operations more seriously into industrial drones.

DJI’s new enterpise drone, the M200, builds on the success of its Inspire 2 drone, and has a folding mechanism similar to that of the Mavic Pro. The M200, however, isn’t designed for use in the park. It is designed for search-and-rescue missions, industrial inspection and a whole load of other industrial applications.

This drone comes with a permanently attached camera facing to the front, which streams everything it sees back to the pilot. There is the option of fitting additional cameras to the gimbal on the underside of the drone, too. Further variations of the drone – the M210 and M210RTK – give the user the option to mount even more cameras, two more at the front and one on the top. The upward-facing camera is designed to be put to use when inspecting bridges and other structures which need to be observed from the underside.

Further features of the M200 series include obstacle avoidance and flight planning. There is also a new feature which has not yet been seen on other drones to date – an ADS-B receiver which detects other aircraft over a certain range. This helps alert the pilot to the need to take evasive maneuvers and land before the risk of collision becomes too great. This type of system is expected to become a standard on aerial vehicles, as it is more accurate than radar, but allows aircraft to share their location and communicate with each other.

The M200 is designed to fill a gap in the market, in which industrial users haven’t needed the power of something like the M600, and so have resorted to flying drones such as the Inspire to carry out the work they need. These drones typically lack the power and battery life needed for serious industrial usage, however, and the M200 has been designed in the hope of creating a sturdy and capable drone which is quick and easy to get up in the air. Thus, it has a flying time of 35 minutes, swappable batteries and can withstand the rain.

The M200 is expected to become available in the second quarter of 2017. It is expected to be sold for a higher price than any DJI drone to date, although that price has not yet been announced.

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Andrew Maxwell

Andrew is a former journalist who now works as a freelance writer specializing in tech and gadgets. He currently resides in Thailand.

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