Aside from their consumer multirotors, DJI have been expanding their professional range. This is the long awaited Matrice 100, which to quote DJI, is a ‘fully customisable and programmable flight platform’ designed for industrial use. An open frame, it is intended to be covered in sensors, recording equipment and any other devices that you wish to put into the sky. It can even avoid obstacles by installing an optional guidance module that combines cameras and ultra-sonic sensors to sense objects and avoid a collision.
Last week we received our first shipment and decided to put one together for our own experimentation. First up, a look inside the DJI Matrice 100 box.
The box measures around 370 x 265 x 255mm and weighs in at 5.3kg.
It continues the low-key dark colourscheme of the other DJI professional products.
Instructions and Documentation
The front flap folds away to reveal the contents. A document pack on-top of the three upper boxes.
The document pack contains an ‘in the box’ leaflet, a disclaimer and ‘safety guideline’ as well as an intelligent flight battery document in both English and Chinese. The recent yellow CAA legal guideline card is also included.
The box contents listing the everything to come.
Inside an exploded and assembled view that gives you an idea of the relationship between parts.
Note that the Matrice 100 does not come with assembly instructions. As such we suggest you watch DJI’s very own installation demonstration video below:
Next we removed the three boxes from the top section and began unpacking them.
The Matrice comes with a GL658 controller, most probably identical to the current DJI Inspire 1 unit.
This is a great controller with a long-lasting internal battery and included smart device holder. It has a quality feel to it.
Intelligent Battery and Charger
Inside the next box is the TB47D battery, charger and plug adapter.
Its a 4500mAh 22.2v cell providing 99.90Wh.
If you are familiar with the DJI Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 batteries, it works in the same way as described by the label on the side.
The charger simply plugs into the lower leading edge with the covered two pin plug.
Note that the charger also has a DC jack to charge the internal battery on the transmitter (again, as with the Phantom 3).
Propellers and Hardware
The last of the top boxes contains screws, tools and more for constructing the Matrice 100.
First up the propellers, which appear identical to those mounted to the Inspire 1.
Three pairs of push-lock propellers are included, the clockwise-tightening ones marked with a white dot.
You are then left with three silver bags. One of which contains a screwdriver and spanner:
One a collection of power connectors/wires and USB connection cable:
And lastly one that contains the GPS/Compass and mounting hardware, split into three bags more:
The base is a pivoting tilt/lock mount that allows the module to be lowered for transportation.
The module itself, with inline CAN connector.
And the usual supply of sticky mounts to hold it to the baseplate
Returning to the box we are now left with the larger parts of the frame kit.
Matrice 100 Chassis
The Matrice comes largely pre-constructed. The integrated flight controller, power distribution boards and more are all in place, sat between carbon fiber plates and held together with lightweight metal brackets.
On the underside you can see the large plastic battery holder and external power connectors.
The rear of the craft has the LED panel and USB port for computer connection.
Arms, legs and Motors
Lastly in the bottom of the box come two foam packing sections holding the four legs and sensor mounting kit.
The legs are paired up and numbered to aide construction.
Note that there are two types of legs and that the cable lengths for power and control differ accordingly.
Each of the legs is pre-fitted with its own motor (an upgraded version of the E800 combo) and bright LED light.
Also, each foot is cushioned with a spring to cushion landings with heavy payloads.
Alongside the legs are the expansion bay brackets, gimbal mount plate and the hardware to fix it to the frame.
It also includes the dampers employed when attaching the frame arms.
With the base kit un-boxed, we handed the components over to our engineer to complete the construction of the Matrice 100. He noted that the build was fairly straight-forward with only 1 tool needed (2mm allen driver). We recommend watching the DJI build video all the way through before starting because it shows you how to add any expansion bays at the end of the video. It’s worth nothing that it would take you around 2-3 hours to complete if this is the first time you have built a Matrice.
Completed Matrice Construction
All built up and calibrated, ready for flight
Revolutionary Visual Sensing – Guidance
We wanted to test out some of the newest tech from DJI. One of the advanced addons the Matrice 100 was launched with, was the guidance system.
Unboxing the Guidance Kit
This features 5 stereo ultrasonic sensors and 10 cameras and a central processor to provide the craft with an advanced visual sensing system.
The guidance computer coupled to these sensors enables hovering accurate to within centimeters, even at high speed and without GPS.
The five sensor bars are installed on the lower expansion bay and face away and down from the craft to allow it to read its surroundings.
They are reportedly capable of sensing up to 20m from the craft.
The kit comes with all the cables and mounting hardware you require to attach it to the Matrice.
A few closeups of the guidance control processing unit.
Again we handed the kit to our engineer for a test fitting.
Guidance installed on the Matrice
Without a battery, the finished rig weighs in at a touch over 2kg.
The underside of the craft showing the expansion bay housing the guidance controller and the lower guidance sensor bar.
A Quick Test Flight
With the weather against us, we powered up the Matrice 100 in our warehouse for a quick test flight to check over the systems.
ATTI mode selected, motors up to speed…
With the quadcopter built and configured it was all set for testing. Check out our next blog where we tested the Matrice’s obstacle avoidance and guidance system.