Autel Robotics, an American drone manufacturing company, announced the release of their new fixed-wing long-range VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) UAV called the Dragonfish, ahead of CES 2021. The Dragonfish UAV is a multi-purpose VTOL fixed-wing drone with high adaptability. Here’s all you need to know about the Dragonfish:

Quick Specifications

Flight Time120 mins (with standard payload)
Transmission Range18.6 miles (30 km)
Max. Speed67 mph (108 km/h)
Takeoff Weight17.2 lbs (7.8 kg)
Max. Payload3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Max. Altitude19,685 ft (6000m)

Payloads

Autel provides three payload options to choose from with an option to install a third-party payload:

  • 4K Dual Sensor: 4K 20x Stabilized Optical Zoom, 48 MP Wide Angle, 3-Axis Gimbal
  • Triple Sensor: 4K 20x Stabilized Optical Zoom, 48 MP Wide Angle, 640×512 Radiometric Thermal, 3-Axis Gimbal
  • Multispectral: 1 RGB Wide Angle (48 MP), 5 Multispectral Sensors (2 MP)

Ease of Use

To begin with, the Dragonfish’s autonomous operations make takeoff and landing a simple one-button task. This saves a lot of time considering it takes up to 5 minutes to assemble the drone for flight. The drone has two rotors situated at the top of its body and two rotors at the end of its wings. The rotors at the wings are tilt rotors and tilt upwards to generate lift for VTOL. This makes deploying the drone in remote areas easier.

AI High Speed Tracking

The Dragonfish is capable of identifying 64 objects simultaneously, and its advanced algorithms help track objects, people, or vehicles traveling at speeds as high as 120 km/h. This makes the Dragonfish an excellent UAV for security operations, wildlife conservation, and maritime safety. 

Additionally, the drone has a ‘Point of Interest’ feature, where the pilot can select a stationary point of interest. The drone then circles around that point. This is great functionality for inspections such as powerline, bridge, and geographical inspections.

Another great add-on to the autonomous functionality of this drone is adaptive tracking. Adaptive tracking is a terrain tracking feature, where the drone calculates terrain changes in real-time and then reorients its flight to follow the terrain. This can be useful in areas with uneven terrain or hills.

Safety and Accuracy

The Dragonfish comes with a host of features that make the UAV a safe option in the sky. The drone is made up of a high-strength composite body, IP43 certified, that provides it with Level 6 wind resistance. This allows the drone to function in difficult environments. Additionally, the drone monitors its surroundings to map weather changes to ensure the best flight possible.

The onboard AI of the Dragonfish frequently performs self-checks to find any anomalies and prevent accidents. Lastly, the drone has a failsafe in which it transitions to a multi-copter mode of flight in case the fixed-wing flight is adversely affected.

Centimeter Precision

Autel has equipped the Dragonfish with two RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) modules for maximum redundancy. Adding a GNSS Base Station while conducting an operation can provide the pilot with 1 cm +1 ppm positional accuracy. This highly accurate positional data is crucial for image metadata in photogrammetry. Therefore, this eliminates the need for GCPs (Ground Control Points) while capturing data for point clouds or orthomosaics.

Conclusion

The Dragonfish has a vast array of applications. Although it has maximum utility in coastal, public, and border security, the long-range VTOL UAV is the perfect fit for forest surveillance and inspections in various industries. Tackling the rising issues of forest fires and species extinction can be efficiently handled through the Dragonfish.

Since this drone has a high endurance and transmission range, it is especially useful for agricultural surveys over large-scale farms. With the option of third-party payloads, pilots can combine the best multispectral sensors like the flagship Parrot Sequoia sensor with Dragonfish’s functionality. For more information about the Dragonfish drone, reach out to Autel Robotics here.

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