Earlier today we reported, that DJI is looking to expand into the commercial drone space and now we receive this press release from the Chinese drone manufacturer; “DJI and Skycatch announce a global agreement to deliver 1,000 industrial drones for Komatsu.” The single largest order of commercial drones in history.

The largest order ever for commercial drones

In a press release this morning DJI announced the single largest order for commercial drones in history, as the company together with Skycatch has signed a global agreement to deliver 1,000 industrial high-precision drones to Komatsu Smart Construction.

The so-called Skycatch Explore1 drones will be manufactured by DJI and outfitted with specialized Skycatch technology. The drones are based on DJI’s customizable Matrice 100 enterprise drone platform and together with the Edge1 RTK base station, they form the Skycatch High Precision Package. This package allows for high-precision 3D modeling of constructions sites with an accuracy of up to 5 cms. It can also be used for stockpile monitoring for instance. The Skycatch Explore1 drone will fly autonomously over the job sites as it is creating the 3D maps.

“Conducting a site survey using a drone used to take hours. However, by implementing Explore1, users can carry out surveying quickly and easily. Now it is possible to perform drone surveying every day. Taking off, landing and flight route setting are all automated. Ground Control Points (GCPs) are no longer needed. 3D data is immediately generated and an entire construction site can be visually checked with the 3D map. The Explore1 is a true game-changer for the construction site,” said Chikashi Shike, Executive Office of Smart Construction Division at Komatsu.

“Being the first company to integrate into DJI’s manufacturing process will deliver incredible value to our customers worldwide,” said Christian Sanz, CEO at Skycatch. “By combining DJI’s mastery of hardware manufacturing and aerial technology with Skycatch’s data processing and customer expertise, we’ve created the most powerful and comprehensive solution for enterprise customers everywhere.”

“The Explore1 demonstrates DJI’s strategy to provide customers with the most powerful and reliable drone platforms on the market that can be tailored to the needs of any industry,” said Jan Gasparic, Head of Enterprise Partnerships at DJI. “Our close collaboration with Skycatch on this exciting program has resulted in a best-in-class solution of software and hardware for aerial surveying that truly changes the game for both our customers and the commercial drone industry.”

In a conversation with The Verge, Sanz said that the company’s drones have already been used in over ten thousand construction project in Japan and another ten thousand projects around the world. Here in the US, for instance, they have been used to survey future Disney theme parks, Facebook data centers and very large project in Cupertino, CA. Sanz didn’t mention the company’s name, but it seems safe to assume it’s the same building on top of which a DJI Phantom crashed not too long ago.

About 30 percent of the 15 million active construction sites around the world, don’t have an active internet connection. This is not a problem for the Explore1 and Edge1 package as the base station is basically a cloud computer in a box, according to Sanz.

The order of 1,000 industrial drones for Komatsu is a milestone for the construction world. Sanz said:

“This is an industry that’s been moving at a slow pace, and this order is a huge signal that things are speeding up. Automation in construction is no longer something to look out for, four or five years in the future. When you go to a job site you should expect to see robots on the ground.”

It is obvious that DJI meant business when they said they were going after the commercial drone market.

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