So you want to fly a DJI Zenmuse through the air, but the less-than-30-minutes of flight time on the DJI Inspire 2 won’t cut it?
The TerraView RangePro X8 can fly with a Zenmuse on it for more than 70 minutes. That’s on average two and a half times longer than the competition.
The new drone, launched this month at the Commercial UAV Expo 2019 in Las Vegas, was built by California-based drone company TerraView. The company claims its new RangePro X8 can fly for more than 70 minutes in real-world conditions with a standard sensor payload.
The drone is designed for industrial, first responder and government enterprise data capture, able to conduct operations like solar panel pipeline or tower inspections, terrain mapping and construction site planning.
DJI’s Zenmuse cameras have been enormously popular, but, they were designed by DJI for DJI-created drones with limited flight times. For example, the Zenmuse Z3, DJI’s first integrated aerial zoom camera, is powerful in that it has a 7x zoom. But, of DJI’s drones, it’s compatible with the Inspire 1 (just 18 minutes of flight time), Matrice 600 (36 minutes), and the Matrice 100 (just 40 minutes).
So how does the TerraView RangePro X8 fly so long? The company said that higher capacity batteries, coupled with a “highly efficient design” are the secret. The company added that each battery can support over 500 charging cycles over its useful lifespan.
Why does long flight time matter? For one, drones can carry out operations that simply wouldn’t be possible otherwise, whether it’s delivery, or just scanning a field far away from its home base. But it’s more operationally efficient, too. Lower flight times translate to lower flight costs per hour.
The TerraView RangePro X8 was engineered and assembled in the U.S. That’s notable, as the government cracks down on non-U.S.-made drones, particularly those made in China. In fact, the Interior Department announced last week that all its drones that were manufactured in China or contained Chinese-made parts would be grounded as part of a review of the department’s drone program. That news comes largely out of concern about Chinese technology, and the potential risks of using it for sensitive government projects. Specifically, DJI has been called out by the U.S. army, and Chinese tech telecommunications equipment maker Huawei has been blocked from government contracts (primarily over concerns that Chinese drones and other tech are covertly siphoning data and relaying it back to Chinese intelligence agencies).
Of course, the Zenmuse cameras are made by DJI, a Chinese company.
The RangePro X8’s swappable payload gimbal mounts are capable of carrying the following sensors (note, it cannot carry the new Zenmuse X7 — at least not yet):
A3 Flight System
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