DCNS and Airbus Helicopters to design French Navy’s future VTOL drone

Oct 20, 2016

DCNS, a world leader in naval defence, and Airbus Helicopters are joining forces to design the future tactical component of France’s Naval Aerial Drone (Système de Drones Aériens de la Marine – SDAM) programme. By pooling naval and aerospace skills and expertise, the teaming of DCNS and Airbus Helicopters will be equipped to address all technical challenges arising from the naval integration of the drones through the creation of a robust system architecture that can evolve and adapt to meet every need.


Ten years of experience in the naval integration of aerial drone

For DCNS, drones are the roving eyes of the battle system; their missions are overseen by each ship’s combat management system, ensuring increased effectiveness in real time in support of naval operations. Offering a genuine tactical advantage, the VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) drone is a natural component of warships and augments the operational potential of naval forces.

DCNS CEO Hervé Guillou said: “We will continue to innovate in these areas and give drones the capability to perform increasingly complex missions over greater distances and timeframes in an interoperable environment with increased digitalisation of resources. Such digitalisation hinges on the roll-out of cybersecurity solutions that offer better protection of data and communications between drones and ships.”

DCNS’s role in the partnership will be to design and supply the entire warship-integrated VTOL drone system. DCNS will design and develop the solutions for the ship-based operation and integration of the drone, including the specification and validation of the payloads and mission data links. DCNS will also produce the drone’s mission system, which will enable real-time management of its operations and allow its payloads to be controlled through the combat management system.

Over the last ten years, DCNS has successfully overseen the French armaments procurement agency (DGA) and French Navy’s main aerial drone study and trial programs, operating both on its own and in partnership. In the process, the Group has acquired know-how that is unique in Europe and possesses solutions for integrating aerial drone systems in warships or enabling them to operate on ships. These solutions have been tested at sea.

The VSR 700: a multi-faceted and robust solution

A versatile and affordable platform, the VSR700 has been developed by Airbus Helicopters with a view to providing military customers with a solution that leverages a tried and tested civil aircraft and strikes the best possible balance between performance, operational flexibility, reliability and operating costs. Harnessing autonomous flight technologies that have been tested by Airbus Helicopters through a range of demonstration programs, the VSR700 is derived from a light civil helicopter, the Cabri G2 (developed by the company Hélicoptères Guimbal), which has proven its reliability and low operating costs in service.

DCNS and Airbus Helicopters to design French Navy’s future VTOL drone

Under the terms of the partnership, Airbus Helicopters will be responsible for designing and developing the VSR700 drone as well as the various technologies needed for it to perform aerial missions, such as data liaison, payload and a “see and avoid” capability enabling the drone’s integration into airspace.

“Rotary-wing drones will play a crucial role in tomorrow’s air/sea theatres of operation, performing the role of a roving eye and extending the coverage of surface vessels over the horizon,” said Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury.

“This partnership will see Airbus Helicopters pool its expertise in vertical flight and autonomous flight technologies with the skills DCNS possesses in naval combat systems, allowing us to respond to the emerging needs of our customers.”

Thanks to the VSR700’s specifications, the system boasts superior endurance and payload performance to any comparable system used to date. The device offers big capability with a small size and logistics footprint, resulting in less maintenance and straight forward integration to a broad range of surface vessels.

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The DJI Mavic Pro Drone has arrived! But is it Karma?

Oct 17, 2016

DJI, the drone maker might just have pulled it out of the bag with their new Mavic Pro camera drone. After the GoPro launch of the Karma drone it looked like the line had been drawn by the action camera manufacturer. Just a few days later DJI then revealed their new drone. Smaller, faster and with quite a few extras it looks like it might just be the one to buy.

Although more expensive than the GoPro Karma, the Mavic Pro comes with a 4k camera and other features that may just convince you to save a little longer. DJI began deliveries on the 15th October, a week ahead of GoPro.

The GoPro drone also has a Karma grip – similar to a DJI Osmo or Osmo , to capture stabilised footage during your ‘ordinary’ shots that will give you an incredible stable image whether you’re hiking, biking or chasing your kids around the park!

Both these new drones fold up and pack a great deal of tech in their small size, making them great for those that may not have contemplated owning a drone before. The specifications make them great for personal use as well as for professional film footage.

DJI Mavic Pro Drone

DJI Mavic Pro DroneMavic Pro is DJI’s first personal drone designed to be taken just about anywhere. Small enough to toss in a bag and easy enough to launch quickly whenever the time and place are right, its unique folding design compresses the entire drone to practically the size of a water bottle.

The compact body of Mavic Pro holds a drone built for uncompromising performance. Equipped with a stabilized 4K camera and a visual navigation system, with a 4.3 mile (7 km) range and 27 minute flight time, this tiny drone sets the new standard for compact drones.

“Mavic Pro is a technological triumph filled with features that once again show how DJI leads the industry. Most importantly, it allows you to reach the skies easily, see the world with new eyes and tell your stories like never before. DJI has spent a decade making it easier for anyone to fly, and by rethinking everything about how a drones look, we have created an entirely new type of aerial platform for anyone to explore their creativity,” said Frank Wang, DJI’s CEO and founder.”

Mavic Pro is designed to be ultra portable and quick to launch so it can take to the skies as soon as you need it. With four folding arms and propellers that tuck neatly away against its streamlined body, it can be easily carried in a purse or backpack, saving you the trouble of mounting propellers before a flight. It can be operated by the powerful long range remote controller, or simply by your smartphone at shorter range. When controlled by a smartphone, the whole system can be set up and airborne in less than a minute to capture every key moment.

Unparalleled Flight Experience

DJI’s commitment to unparalleled stability, maneuverability and safety is clear in Mavic Pro’s new FlightAutonomy system. FlightAutonomy is the drone’s brain and nervous system, a complex network of hardware and software consisting of five cameras, GPS and GLONASS navigation systems, a pair of ultrasonic range finders, redundant sensors and 24 powerful computing cores.

FlightAutonomy can position, navigate and plan routes for Mavic Pro, enabling it to avoid obstacles in various environments, with or without the help of satellite signals. FlightAutonomy provides a significant boost in working range and can cope with complex 3D environments. For navigation and obstacle avoidance, FlightAutonomy provides a superb speed-range envelope to make Mavic Pro self-navigational in various intelligent flight modes, and will avoid most obstacles at speeds up to 22 mph (36 kph).

An ultra light and aerodynamic airframe, together with DJI’s state-of-the-art propulsion and battery system, enables Mavic Pro to fly for up to 27 minutes. To experience the pure joy of flying, the drone can be switched to Sport Mode, which allows speeds of up to 40 mph (64.8 kph), increasing the drone’s agility and responsiveness. Mavic Pro flies smoothly and will remain stable in winds of up to 24 mph (38.5 kph), and uses DJI’s GEO geofencing system to help identify restricted areas, preventing flight in locations that might raise safety or security concerns automatically, and helping pilots make smarter decisions about when and where to fly.

As with all DJI drones, Mavic Pro is set to automatically return to its launch location if it ever loses contact with the controller or reaches critically low battery levels. The new Precision Landing feature records a burst of video with two stereo cameras every time Mavic Pro launches, then uses both video and satellite information when it returns to land within an inch of where it took off. If a pilot lets go of the controls, the drone will simply hover in place.

Advanced Stabilized Camera System

Mavic Pro’s small size is packed with powerful features. DJI’s advanced technology now includes our smallest-ever three-axis gimbal for shake-free photos and video. The autofocus camera features a minimum focusing distance of just 19 in (0.5 m) and can be flipped 90 degrees to portrait mode for vertical selfies and video. Mavic Pro records 4K video at 30fps and full 1080p HD at 96fps. Its 12-megapixel camera with Adobe DNG RAW support has been expertly tuned for aerial images. With the help of the high-precision gimbal, you can confidently shoot 2-second-long exposures in the air to get the most jaw-dropping aerial images.

New Remote and Live View Performance

A revolutionary new compact remote controller has been designed to provide a fully ergonomic experience with optimum comfort, and can accommodate a smartphone or control Mavic Pro on its own. Its built-in LCD screen displays essential telemetry data, while dedicated buttons for functions such as Return-to-Home and pausing during Intelligent Flight modes ensure a confident flight every single time. The video link system, OcuSync, represents new heights in DJI’s communication technology. It supports a range up to 4.3 miles (7 km) and live view resolutions up to 1080p.

The new band management algorithm makes OcuSync more robust in environments with many frequencies in operation. The Mavic Pro is equipped with dual-band WiFi as a secondary link, allowing easy control via your smartphone for close range operation or for quick downloading of content from the drone straight to your device.

Most Intelligent Drone Ever

The powerful systems inside Mavic Pro are easy to use, even for beginners. Using just your phone’s touchscreen, you can use TapFly to direct it to go wherever you want, avoiding obstacles along the way. When you want to take a hands-free selfie, FlightAutonomy makes it possible to control the drone completely with just your gestures.

In Gesture mode, you can use gestures to have Mavic Pro locate you, center you in the frame and take the perfect shot as it’s flashing lights count down to the photo. Sharing your best aerial moments has never been easier with live streaming to Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube through the DJI GO app.

An updated version of DJI’s ActiveTrack recognizes common subjects such as people, bicyclists, cars, boats and animals, which then sends Mavic Pro to follow behind, lead in front, circle above or track alongside the subject, keeping the camera focused on the subject while you concentrate on flight maneuvers. The new Terrain Follow mode means that you can race up a slope behind a subject while remaining at a constant height between 1 ft (0.3 m) and 33 ft (10 m).At the other extreme, the new Tripod Mode is designed for indoor use, slowing and fine-tuning the drone’s position and angle based on controller movement inputs to allowing for precision framing and safe indoor flight.

Immerse Yourself

Mavic Pro also pairs with DJI’s new immersive DJI Goggles, displaying an 85-degree view from the drone in full 1080p for a true bird’s-eye view of the world below. With built-in OcuSync, the goggles receive video directly from Mavic Pro in the air and not through the controller, reducing lag to a minimum – and allowing you to share the in-flight view with a friend.

Specially designed for aerial first-person view (FPV) applications, DJI Goggles allows you to flick between third person view and FPV in under a second. You can comfortably wear your glasses while wearing the goggles and quit FPV mode instantly by flipping the mask up.

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