There are lots of companies out there building complex and high-performing aerial platforms, but combining that with top-of-the-line optical performance is another matter altogether. After rolling out the new foldable Mavic drone for public consumption, DJI seems to be turning its attention back toward industry, with an eye towards optics.
The just-announced Zenmuse Z30 isn’t a drone at all, but rather an optical solution meant to integrate with the company’s Matrice series of airframes. Users can simply slide the camera into the Matrice mount and they’re ready to fly.
The lens offers a built-in 30x optical zoom, with an additional 6x zoom, for a total magnification of 180x. Users can zoom by simply tapping on the DJI GO app, which also delivers a HD-quality picture—critical to discover minute flaws in infrastructure, such as wires, modules, or components.
While in flight, the Z30 uses DJI’s proven gimbal technology to keep stabilization within 0.01°, and the Lightbridge 2 controller helps in that regard as well. According to the company, this ensures a stable picture, even when at the full 180x zoom.
In a press release, Paul Xu, director of DJI Enterprise Solutions, said: “The Zenmuse Z30’s ability for image data capture is unparalleled. With its extended range, enterprise clients can conduct millimeter-level inspections without the need to fly close, ensuring high flight safety, while increasing speed and efficiency.”
DJI imagines Zenmuse Z30 being used in situations where business need to collect information about their operations from a distance. Monitoring of wind farm applications is a particular niche, as being able to capture pertinent information from a larger distance reduces the risk of an accidental collision.
Cell towers are another target application—electromagnetic fields can affect flight if drones get to close, but the Zenmuse Z30 will help pilots stay well clear. It’s a welcome change of pace from dangerous manual inspections.
DJI imagines the Zenmuse Z30 being used in firefighting applications as well, so that first responders can understand the entire situation to understand where they need to focus their attention, and keep firefighters away from dangerous areas. The “Point of Interest” feature can be used to have the drone circle while keeping a certain area in the center of the frame.
Between Part 107 and an increased focus on industrial applications, the drone industry is positively buzzing at all the new potentials.