The aircraft we’ve all been waiting for is finally here…almost!
Despite some production delays with the Matrice 200, it’s real, and it’ll be here soon. So, let’s take a look at why the M200 series is the biggest game-changer yet for drones in public safety.
First off, let’s look at the three different available models in the 200 series.
The Matrice 200 flagship model, available right now, is single-camera, dual-battery, and IP43 weather resistant. The battery system is fully enclosed, which means heat from the battery will help keep the drone warm, and improves performance in cold weather.
The drone flies for up to 40 minutes, and also has an on-board FPV camera, for looking forward to see where the drone is facing.
Available cameras for the main socket are the X4S and X5S – the two daylight cameras that are available for the Inspire 2; the Z30 (30x optical zoom, 6x digital zoom, 180x total) camera; and any of the XT thermal imaging cameras.
Step up to the Matrice 210 and you can pick two of those cameras at once, to allow for dual daylight and thermal cameras, or zoom and thermal; in addition to the fixed FPV camera already on board.
The 210 also adds an ADS-B IN transponder system, which allows you to receive messages from airplanes with ADS-B transponders – something the FAA has mandated all airplanes to have by 2020. Unfortunately, the drone doesn’t give off an ADS-B OUT signal, so airplanes and air traffic controllers won’t see you, but at least you’ll see them.
210 also comes in an RTK model, which allows you to use extremely accurate RTK GPS coordinates during flight, and to collect centimeter accurate measurements with various types of third-party mapping software.
All three models come with down- and forward-facing obstacle avoidance, as well as upward-facing sensors, allowing you to fly comfortably under a bridge or any other structure without hitting the roof. The 210 and 210 RTK models allow you to top-mount a camera as well, if you need to do inspection while under those structures.
The aircraft’s landing gear also comes off for easy storage and transport, and it comes with a rigid case.
The 200 model starts at $5,299 without any cameras (other than the fixed-FPV camera). The 210 model runs $8,999 and the RTK version $14,999, but will not be available until the end of the summer.
Camera prices range from the $599 X4S to the $8,900 Z30 zoom camera; and between $5,700 and $14,000 for the thermal camera of your choosing.
Between weather resistance, dual camera ability, obstacle avoidance, flight time, and the transponder, the M200 series it the aircraft public safety has been waiting for.
Matt Sloane is the CEO and founder of Skyfire Consulting, a public safety focused UAV consultancy; and its parent company, Atlanta Drone Group. Skyfire specializes in helping police, fire and emergency management agencies complete the FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) process, provides all of the necessary training, and helps departments select the most appropriate UAV equipment.