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DJI announces LiDAR and full-frame imaging payloads

DJI has launched two powerful new sensing payloads for its flagship commercial drone, the Matrice M300 RTK.

Announced at INTERGEO 2020, the DJI Zenmuse P1 and DJI Zenmuse L1 represent a new level of commitment to surveying applications — the latter being the first LiDAR module to be launched by the industry giant.

DJI claims its new LiDAR unit can collect 240,000 points per second at a detection rate of 450m, generating colourised point clouds automatically with the help of a 1-inch CMOS sensor and 20MP camera, high accuracy IMU and 3-axis mechanically stabilised gimbal.

The LiDAR sensor is a Livox module with a 70-degree FOV, supporting line scanning and a non-repetitive scanning mode, proprietary to Livox, which covers an area of interest quickly by allowing the sensor to capture in any direction instead of a defined plane.

DJI claims the Zenmuse L1 and M300 can acquire about two square kilometres of point cloud data in a single flight.

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The freshly-launched Zenmuse P1 is also a first for DJI, the firm’s most powerful optical payload for geospatial applications, featuring a 45MP, full-frame, low noise, high sensitivity sensor. It is also of course on a 3-axis gimbal, supports interchangeable 24/35/50mm fixed-focus lenses.

DJI claims the Zenmuse P1 is accurate to 3cm horizontally and 5cm vertically without ground control points, and is capable of capturing over three square kilometres in a single flight aboard a Matrice M300. The P1 has a mechanical shutter, and new compensation modes — TimeSync 2.0, which DJI claims sychronises time across modules at the microsecond level, and a Smart Oblique Capture feature, which mimics a multi-sensor oblique camera.

“With these two new payloads, we are providing an all-integrated complete solution to our enterprise customers active in accurate geospatial data acquisition,” said Arjun Menon, Engineering Manager at DJI in the US.

“Having a fully integrated, capable and affordable Lidar seamlessly integrated into our best commercial drone is a dream that becomes reality for surveying, mapping and construction professionals. They will be able to see, cover and understand the geospatial context from a totally new perspective thanks to the high-level of accuracy and quality of the data collected from these tools in the sky.”

These new offerings, offering unprecedented specs and capture muscle while fully integrated into DJI’s ecosystem, seem likely to provide an straightforward entry point to a survey-grade professional platform — it will be most interesting to see how industry responds.

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