Last week, Skyward hosted an online training session focused on two drone models: the DJI Inspire 2 and the DJI Matrice 210. While Skyward does not represent DJI or have information on their product roadmap, we did want to take the opportunity to give a close look at two of the more advanced commercial drone models our customers are using today. You can find a recording of the webinar and the slides on our website if you’d like to watch it again.

I was glad to join this panel for a few reasons. First of all, during this coronavirus lockdown, it was good to be able to bring some helpful training content to companies with drone programs that might be held up right now. Secondly, I love talking with enterprises about how to take the next step in their programs. It’s exciting to see a company scale up from the basics and start to really explore the possibilities drones offer.

On the webinar, we received a lot of great questions about these two drone models. We answered many of these in our live Q&A, but several questions had to do with what use cases they might be best suited to. So I’d like to answer a couple of the most common questions and tell you a little more about these two airframes.

What are some of the most common use cases for the DJI Inspire 2?

The Inspire 2 is most commonly used for videography and filmmaking. It’s well-suited to this for a couple of reasons. First, you can choose between several cameras, all of which produce high-quality, high-resolution footage. It’s a media powerhouse that can shoot crystal-clear still photography, high frame rate 4K video, or even 6K cinematic footage, depending on the camera.

Several webinar attendees asked how the Inspire 2 compares to DJI’s Mavic 2 series. While the Mavic is one of the most popular drones on the market, the Inspire outclasses it in terms of larger size, capacity for a heavier camera, and improved stability for capturing all kinds of media. That includes photography-based mapping such as photogrammetry. I’ve seen construction and telecommunications companies, for example, use an Inspire to map landscapes or inspect equipment.

The Inspire 2 does have some inherent limitations, though. Its selection of payloads is limited, and most people recommend upgrading to the Matrice 200 series if they want a third party camera or payload. And with its larger size and two-battery requirement, it’s not as portable as the Mavic. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but it is an impressive aerial platform. I recommend considering the Inspire if you’re looking at drones for photography, cinematography, basic inspections, photogrammetry, real estate, or marketing.

What are some of the best use cases for the DJI Matrice 210?

The Matrice 200 series is an industrial workhorse when it comes to aerial operations. In the webinar, we focused on the Matrice 210 because of its greater configurability versus its single-gimbal brother, the Matrice 200. It’s a versatile platform with a wide variety of commercial applications.

Compared to the Inspire 2, the Matrice 210 has more powerful motors, a closed-shell design for better weather resistance, a higher payload capacity, a longer flight time, and the option for multiple gimbals. The M-210 can integrate with third party sensors, and it can even mount an upward-facing gimbal. It makes for a remarkably complete aerial solutions package — though it comes with a much higher price tag. Aside from the cost, the other main limitations for this aircraft are its limited portability and its payload size, which maxes out at about 3.75 pounds.

As with the Inspire 2, the M-210 is great for photography and videography. But where it truly excels is in inspections. The M-210 can simultaneously carry a camera and an infrared thermal sensor for deep analysis. The upward-facing gimbal is ideal for inspecting overhead infrastructure, such as bridges. And with zoom lenses, the M-210 can inspect telecommunications or electrical equipment from a safe distance away. We’ve also seen customers use the M-210 as a capable disaster response tool, evaluating damage to equipment and infrastructure.

Bonus question: Can I fly these drones inside, as in a warehouse or tunnel?

We got quite a few questions about flying these drones inside for use in hangars, warehouses, or even tunnels or pipelines. To answer the question, yes, you can — there are no restrictions against flying inside. However, safety is of the highest importance here. For many indoor use cases, we recommend a smaller airframe with protective measures such as propeller guards or a drone cage. We also recommend a drone with good obstacle avoidance to help avoid crashing into objects, personnel, or ceilings. And it’s a best practice to make sure you aren’t flying around people, so you may want to consider flying after hours or closing off the area before you take off.

Watch the webinar for more insights

If you’re looking for an in-depth look at these two drone models, including detailed operating information, I recommend you watch the recording and download the slides from our presentation. And stay tuned for more helpful content from the Skyward team, including an upcoming webinar taking a look inside the Skyward platform.

Drone Program Management Product Webinar