Demonstrating Exceptional Drones

Where we fly the Autel Dragonfish, the EVO M4N Defence, the DJI Dock, the I3 and the FlyCart

From time to time, we receive special requests, such as the one that occupied us last Friday.

Our main drone hardware supplier, Drone Parts Center, asked us to conduct demonstration flights for the drones they wanted to showcase at their organized event, the Drone Tech Demo. These kinds of requests aren't typically part of our routine operations, but we enjoy them because they afford us the opportunity to fly rare or unique machines. This adds a few lines to our pilots' curriculums, and most importantly, it satisfies our curiosity for new technologies.

Didier tasked us with flying the Autel Robotics Evo Max 4N defense version, the Autel Robotics Dragonfish, the DJI Dock with its integrated M30T, the DJI Inspire 3, and the DJI FlyCart.

Ultimately, we couldn't fly the FlyCart due to regulatory reasons, but we still managed to test it under different conditions. I must say, it's an astounding machine. Based on the Agras T40 frame, it flies superbly well and behaves somewhat like a large Mavic, albeit more subdued. Particularly striking is its noise, reminiscent of the purring of a large cat or a slightly light helicopter.

We're quite familiar with the DJI Inspire 3 and took the opportunity to showcase the Dolly3D mode, always a hit with newcomers. Though I've never used it in real situations, preferring manual control, it performs admirably. Using it 3 or 4 times throughout the day has piqued my interest in testing it on our next shoot.

The DJI Dock is remarkable for two reasons. Firstly, it's controlled via the flight hub over the internet, and though the software is still in its infancy, it offers astonishing possibilities like controlling multiple docks simultaneously, planning and repeating flights at regular intervals, or even live-streaming from the system's various cameras. Secondly, the M30's landing in the dock, aided by GPS, RTK, and optical flow, is remarkably precise. It's genuinely a sight to behold.

The Autel EVO M4N Defense is the EVO M4N equipped with special onboard software that enables a plethora of functions. For instance, you can point at an object on the screen and instantly obtain its GPS coordinates, or identify various types of objects on-screen using AI, such as vehicles, people, or even armed individuals. I'm not entirely convinced by the system because I feel I can recognize a boat on screen without AI's assistance. However, the drone sometimes spots things I haven't noticed myself. Additionally, the drone counts the number of objects on-screen, so when I pointed the camera at a parking lot, for example, it instantly gave me the number of vehicles parked. Whether the result was accurate and precise? I have no idea... especially since the drone couldn't always identify certain objects, like my associate Stéphane, whom it never recognized as a person, for reasons unknown.

And finally, the Autel Dragonfish, which I've had the chance to test on three occasions in the past, is still as magnificent to watch in flight. Having piloted other VTOLs, I can attest that its flight behavior is exceptional, and its landing precision is simply the best I've ever seen. That being said, its onboard camera, while stable and with an effective zoom, doesn't match up to other payloads I've tested in terms of object tracking. For a rather pricey surveillance wing, that's a shame. Nevertheless, it remains on of my favorites due to its effectiveness in flight, stability, discretion, and the data it allows us to gather.

So, it was a pleasant, fulfilling, and rather intriguing day for my colleagues and me, allowing us to add a few more strings to our bow.

If you're reading this article and would like to be notified of our next demo, do reach out to us and let us know!

Until next time.

Largo Winch 3
Where we didn't fly, and then we flew