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June 23rd, 2020
Emesent’s Hovermap supercharges the DJI Matrice 300 RTK drone

Emesent’s Hovermap, a LiDAR mapping and autonomy payload, is being used to supercharge the Matrice 300 RTK (M300) next generation industrial drone from market leading manufacturer DJI.

Emesent was one of just a handful of organisations worldwide to be given early access to the highly anticipated product. Emesent’s engineering team got a head start and took advantage of DJI’s Onboard SDK to determine how best to mount Hovermap on the M300 and integrate its autonomous functionality with the drone’s flight control.

Hovermap uses LiDAR and simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) technology to maintain position and navigate safely when GPS is unavailable. It also uses the LiDAR to detect obstacles in all directions, out to a range of 100m. This extends the collision avoidance capability provided by the M300.

Pairing Hovermap with the M300 enables users to fly safely in GPS-denied environments, such as underground mines, tunnels, vertical shafts, indoors, and under ports and bridges.

In addition to autonomy, Hovermap also provides LiDAR-based mapping. With the ability to create accurate, detailed maps, it is ideal for capturing 3D Digital Twin data.

The Hovermap-enhanced M300 is expected to appeal to customers across a range of industries, from mining and energy to telecommunications and transport.

Emesent CEO Dr Stefan Hrabar said being granted early access to the M300 was a coup for the company’s technical team.

“DJI has worked closely with our developers and engineers to integrate Hovermap’s software interface with previous drone models, providing the world’s first plug-and-play mapping and autonomy payload for the M600 and M210,” Dr Hrabar said.

“This track record made us a natural candidate for early integration with the M300.

“Hovermap allows M300 users to extend the capabilities of the drone significantly, providing robust LiDAR-based collision avoidance, GPS-denied flight and accurate LiDAR mapping. That’s appealing to organisations working in challenging environments which need smart, robust technology to help them collect accurate data for a range of purposes.”

During recent testing, the Emesent team flew the M300 in Hovermap-controlled autonomous, beyond-line-of-sight flights.

DJI Director of Strategic Partnerships Jan Gasparic noted that Emesent’s strong team of developers and engineers had developed a deep knowledge of DJI’s commercial drone platforms. Early access to the M300 gave the team the opportunity to explore payload solutions that were suitable for use in tough operational environments, including underground mining sites.

“As one of the pioneers in autonomy technology for industrial drones, Emesent has taken the DJI Matrice 300 RTK to new heights with its Hovermap solution that is able to address challenging missions and drive real business value. We congratulate Emesent on the launch of Hovermap and we are eager to see how the Matrice 300 RTK will continue to foster innovative solutions and applications for a new generation of work”.

“The developer community has a significant role to play in DJI’s drone ecosystem, in helping to realize the potential of commercial drones across different industries”, Mr Gasparic said.

 In addition to working with DJI, mobility pioneer Velodyne Lidar invited Emesent to join its Automated with Velodyne program earlier this year. Hovermap has since been used to demonstrate the mapping quality potential of Velodyne’s Puck LITE lidar product.

“Our team is proud to partner with other vendors that are pioneering new technologies and applications in the autonomous navigation and mapping space,” Dr Hrabar said.

Emesent is a world-leader in drone autonomy, LiDAR mapping, and data analytics. Founded in 2018, Emesent has since built a reputation for delivering high-quality data capture in the mining, infrastructure, survey and mapping industries. The company’s award-winning Hovermap technology is used in a wide range of applications by its customers around the world.