SenseFly kicked off their new eBee Plus commercial solution in the US this week, demonstrating the drone at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas. The eBee Plus offers new features, new sensors, and new capabilities – without adding new weight.
Briton Voorhees, Sales Engineer at SenseFly, tells DRONELIFE that the eBee Plus “takes all of the features that everyone liked from the eBee and upgraded them – it keeps the trust, the reliability, and the safety but adds more advanced features. It’s still lightweight – but with the upgraded sensors you can do even more work.”
The new version offers a new airframe: larger but not heavier. The eBee Plus still weighs in under 2.5 pounds, providing the safety assurance that eBee has always offered. But the new drone offers a flight time of 59 minutes in the majority of weather conditions, allowing operators to cover a lot more ground – up to 550 acres in one flight.
The Plus features a new sensor, too: the SODA (Sensor optimized for Drone Applications.) Whereas previous sensors were sourced from other manufacturers, SenseFly built the SODA from the ground up. The extremely lightweight SODA offers a 2.8 cm ground sampling distance (GSD) at 400 feet, compared to most sensors which must fly at a lower altitude for the same resolution. The SODA is backwards compatible for other SenseFly drones.
High precision on Demand (HPoD) is a unique feature for the eBee Plus. RTK (Real time kinematics) can be enabled or not, and customers can upgrade at any time. SenseFly is offering a 1 month free trial of RTK for a limited time, so that customers can try the system before upgrading. The drone has PPK (Post processing Kinematics) in case of a loss of radio signal, allowing user to fix images on the backend to get RTK quality.
SenseFly is also introducing the eMotion 3 with the Plus – the newest version of their flight controller. eMotion 3, says Voorhees, “is much more streamlined, but keeps the usability people are used to. It adds 3D and is cloud connected – providing access to real time weather updates, Pix4D online, and AirNav Pro.” The eMotion 3 is also backwards compatible, and SenseFly says that every customer will eventually be migrated to the new controller.
With the new features, SenseFly maintains their reputation for a robust support system in the commercial drone community. eBee drones are designed as commercial solutions: “The SenseFly global network is there to support them,” says Voorhees. “They’re really a professional tool.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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