DJI has introduced two payloads that make the Matrice 300 RTK platform suitable for conducting surveys, 3D modeling and mapping missions. It concerns the Zenmuse L1 LiDAR and Zenmuse P1 full-frame camera that is optimized for photogrammetry. For the processing of the data, the user can use DJI Terra post processing software.

More versatile

So far, the M300 RTK has been particularly interesting for monitoring, inspections, security applications and search&rescue missions. With the Zenmuse H20 (T) camera that came out simultaneously with the system, users can optically zoom in, track subjects and take thermographic shots. However, the camera did not lend itself to shooting for photogrammetry. And users who want to create 3D models based on laser scanning had to turn to a third party LiDAR solution.

This situation is coming to an end thanks to the introduction of the Zenmuse L1 and Zenmuse P1. These two payloads are specially developed for 3D modeling, surveying, mapping and making orthomosaics. This makes the M300 RTK one of the most versatile enterprise drones of the moment.

Zenmuse L1 LiDAR

The Zenmuse L1 laser scanner includes a Livox LiDAR, an accurate IMU, and an RGB camera with 1” sensor. The whole thing has been stabilized three-axis by means of a gimbal. In terms of workflow, the LiDAR module is fully integrated with the DJI Terra platform, so that accumulated point clouds can be processed immediately after the end of a mission.

The laser scanner offers a vertical accuracy of 5 cm. Horizontally, that is 10 cm. The scanner can handle up to 240,000 points per second. The LiDAR can distinguish up to three different reflections from each other, for example for measurements by a canopy. The maximum range is 450 meters. The payload has an IP44 rating.

The integrated RGB camera has a sensor with a diameter of 1” and a global shutter. The resolution is 20 megapixels. By combining the camera’s shots with the point clouds recorded by the LiDAR, it is possible to create true color 3D models.

The sensor data collected with the payload can, including stored GNSS data and IMU data, be processed in DJI Terra. In this software, users can, among other things, make height models and 3D views of objects and perform measurements in them. The system also provides agricultural applications.

Zenmuse P1 camera

The Zenmuse P1 is a full-frame camera that can be equipped with different lenses. The resolution is 45 megapixels. The camera is equipped with a global shutter, so that the shots are illuminated at once. A photo can be taken every 0.7 seconds. The camera has been stabilized three-axis by means of a gimbal.

Thanks to the integration with the DJI M300 platform and the DJI Terra post processing software, the camera can be used for a variety of purposes, including the creation of 2D orthophotos, 3D models and for real-time mapping missions. The metadata of the photos, among other things, stores the GNSS data and position of the gimbal. Each photo also gets an accurate timestamp.

The Zenmuse P1 has a DL mount. This means that the camera can be used with existing Zenmuse X7 lenses. The user can choose from three focal lengths: 24, 35 and 50 mm.

LiDAR vs photogrammetry

In the case of LiDAR, it is measured how long it takes until a pulse of light is reflected. That says something about the distance. Together with the angle at which the pulse was shot, the position of the point can be determined.

Photogrammetry is based on a completely different principle. Here, photos taken from different angles are compared to each other in order to trace spatial data based on differences in perspective.

The two techniques each have their own advantages and disadvantages. You can read more about this in this article.