Forget Christmas. For tech fans and keen watchers of the drone industry, the Consumer Electronics Show represents the real festive season. CES 2017 is here, and we’re expecting plenty of product and partnership announcements from both the biggest and smallest names in the industry. Today we’ve had news from DJI. To continue its domination of the drone market, it’s launching a charm offensive on commercial pilots.
The Chinese manufacturer displayed two variations of its CrystalSky prototype, an ultra-bright monitor developed specifically for outdoor aerial imaging operators.
Ground Station Pro
Ground Station Pro, also known as GS Pro, is an iPad app that DJI has put together to allow professional pilots to plan and execute autonomous flights. Through the app’s concise, easy to use interface, complex flight missions can be planned with just a few taps. GS Pro was designed to help out commercial pilots in a wide range of industries, from aerial mapping, architecture, precision agriculture and electrical inspections.
The 3D Map Area function allows the aircraft to generate efficient flight paths after the operator has set their required flight zone and camera parameters. The aircraft will then follow this route throughout its mission. The image data captured during these flights can be input into 3D reconstruction software to generate 3D maps, while the mission itself can be saved for re-use.
The app also comes with a Tap and Go Waypoint feature, which allows pilots to pre-program up to 99 waypoints in every mission, while each waypoint can have up to 15 consecutive actions. These actions include aircraft rotation, gimbal pitch, start/stop recording, photo capture, and hover. A Virtual Fence increases safety and ease of use by locking the aircraft’s height and speed within a designated area. As the aircraft approaches the virtual fence, it will brake and hover to ensure it stays within the flight area.
“DJI has developed some of the world’s best aerial platforms and camera technology and now, we bring to our customers a new range of product extensions and accessories to further expand their creative possibilities. Whether it’s giving professional operators more control and flexibility with the CrystalSky monitor, or having an easy-to-use application for an aerial mapping project, we want to empower creators with the tools they need to bring their ideas to life.” – Paul Pan, DJI’s lead engineer.
DJI says that “GS Pro will serve as a powerful and convenient tool for many industries and give critical missions added accuracy and reliability.”
The GS Pro iPad app is free and available for download at the App Store.
The CrystalSky Monitor
DJI has also announced plans for a new monitor to fulfil the needs of commercial pilots. CrystalSky has been launched specifically for outdoor aerial imaging and features an ultra-bright screen that’s easily visible in sunlight. It works seamlessly with the DJI GO app to give camera operators total control.
A maximum 2000 cd/m2 of brightness means the CrystalSky monitor is more than four times as bright as typical mobile devices. The idea is that the screen’s capability is sharp enough to allow pilots to fine-tune image composition during flight. The monitor supports H.264 and H.265 video decoding, allowing it to play back files at up to 30 fps and 60 fps respectively.
The CrystalSky monitor’s HDMI port allows 4K video to be output to FPV goggles and other display devices. Storage can be extended and a Micro SD Card can be played back directly on the monitor. It can also be used for footage backups. The DJI App comes built in.
DJI has said that the CrystalSky monitor will come in two sizes: 7.85″ and 5.5″ screens, which are expected to achieve a maximum operation time of 4-5 hours and 5-6 hours respectively. The Chinese drone giant will shortly be giving out more information on pricing and availability of the CrystalSky monitor.