DJI Announces New LiDAR and Full-Frame Camera Payloads

Zenmuse Payloads

Just a day after Apple unveiled their newest iPhone, DJI had a little announcement of their own; new DJI LiDAR and Full-Frame Camera Payloads for their M300 airframe.

In a move that should surprise no-one watching DJI’s march upmarket into the commercial & industrial drone space, DJI has doubled down in their enterprise mapping & surveying efforts with the L1 & P1 payloads for the M300 airframe.

Zenmuse P1 – Full-Frame Camera

Zenmuse L1 – LiDAR

DJI provided some slick photos and video demos of these payloads in action and it goes without saying they are pretty amazing. The 4P4 RTK can provide some pretty accurate data for surveying and mapping but the capabilities provided by these two payloads are in a totally different class.

Now, as with most amazing new tools, these payloads will not be cheap, especially the L1 LiDAR unit. Most drone-based LiDAR systems can run $20k-$50k (or more) and while DJI has not announced pricing (they usually keep enterprise-level equipment pricing under wraps) it’s safe to say that this will not be for the average consumer. Instead, DJI is clearly targeting this to large scale industrial providers. However, at just 240,000pts per second (for a single point return), it’s unknown if discerning customers will be satisfied with the quality of the sensor since the L1 still lags behind other LiDAR sensors like the Redtail RTL-400 (capable of 1,000,000pts per second). My guess is that the seamless integration with the DJI ecosystem will make the slight gap in performance more than forgivable.

Speaking of ‘ecosystem’, it’s worth noting that the L1 will require DJI Terra to process its data so you’ll want to include that in the overall cost when making your budget requests.

While the P1 will be significantly less expensive that the L1, I would still expect to see it in the $5-$10k range (when you include gimbal and glass.)

Either way, I think those who are in the market for such tools and are undaunted by long-running data concerns will find the value proposition of these sensors in DJI’s well-developed ecosystem a compelling one. If there’s one thing DJI does really well, it’s simplifying the very complicated world of robotics and making it accessible to the masses.

One More Thing…

As if the new payloads weren’t exciting enough, DJI also announced two new Ronin gimbals, the RS2 and RSC 2.

I won’t get into them too deeply here because this is a drone site, not a gimbal site…but I can say they offer some pretty compelling new features (Raven Eye Wireless Transmission, 3D TOF Focus tool, and Active Track just to name a few…)

If you’re looking to stabilize the footage of your DSLR or larger cinema camera, these are certainly worth a look.

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