Autel Robotics‘ latest drone has hit the FCC, suggesting it’s going to be released soon. The Dragonfish is a VTOL drone announced at CES 2017 as a prototype, with Autel slowly improving it over the last three years. The new drone was released on Autel’s website earlier in the year, surprising us all.

The Dragonfish was released onto the FCC database earlier today under DF2409A. Along with the usual documents and label location, internal and external photos were also released.

From the FCC label, we now know the battery runs at 23.1 volts, 16 amps. The capacity is not mentioned on the label. The drone has the model number of DF-1, suggesting more Dragonfish drones are coming in the future. The user manual for the drone has also been released and gives us insight into the accessories for the drone.

In the box, you get the Dragonfish drone itself, a touch screen ground station, a base station, four batteries for the drone, a two battery charger, four propellers, base station tripod, repair tool kit, camera payload of your choosing, a USB-C cable, antenna, a cable to connect the base station and ground station. It also comes with a strap for the ground station.

Autel Robotics Dragonfish

Autel Robotics advertises the Dragonfish with the slogan, “Subvert Tradition, Command the future.” The Dragonfish is stated as having a maximum flight time of 120 minutes, an 18.6-mile video transmission range, and the ability to get in the air in under 4 minutes. The drone also boasts a 4k camera with 20x optical zoom and infrared detection from up to 200 meters away.

Dragonfish has a maximum flight speed of 67 miles per hour and can fly in winds of up to 31 miles per hour. The drone has a maximum take-off weight of 17.2 pounds, with 3.3 pounds being reserved for payloads. The Dragonfish is also accurate down to one centimeter with a measurement error of one part per million.

The drone from Autel Robotics is focused on public safety, firefighting, energy, traffic management, agricultural, and surveillance applications. It appears the website hasn’t been fully translated into English correctly just yet.

Intelligence and Autonomy

A big selling point for the drone is its intelligence and autonomous capabilities. The Dragonfish can complete a mission and return home automatically, track objects such as a stolen car, circle above a point of interest, fly at a constant height above the ground below, and complete multi-point missions. All of this is possible thanks to advanced algorithms that keep the drone in check and make it easier for the user to fly the drone.

Safety and Redundancy

Looking at the image above, we can see Autel has heavily focused on safety and creating redundant systems to make the Dragonfish as safe as it can. The Dragonfish has two batteries, IMU, barometers, compasses, and GPS RTK modules in case one stopped working, allowing the backup to kick into action. If the drone detects it’s about to stall or can’t continue flying in the current mode, it will change into multirotor mode, which adjusts all the propellers to swivel vertically to mimic a quad-copter.

Control surfaces and devices all have a dual CAN bus communication in case one connection goes bad. The drone also uses AI to continuously check its systems throughout the flight to detect faults before they occur.

Interchangeable Payload System

The Dragonfish currently has three first-party camera payloads and the ability for third-parties to create compatible payloads. The first of the three payloads is a 4k dual-sensor camera with a 4k 20x optical zoom main camera paired with a 48-megapixel wide-angle camera. The second is a triple sensor camera with a 4k 20x optical zoom camera, 48-megapixel wide-angle camera, and a radiometric thermal camera. The final payload option is a multispectral camera with an RGB 48-megapixel wide-angle camera and five 2-megapixel multispectral sensors.

Taking control

To control the Dragonfish, Autel Robotics has created the Autel Voyager software capable of advanced mission planning, intelligent tracking, flight history tracking, and other autonomous features. The company has also created a ground station with a 9.7-inch, 1000 nit display with antennas capable of the advertised 18.6-mile video transmission range.

Photo: Autel Robotics & FCC


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