DJI Matrice 300 vs. WingtraOne GEN II

DJI is a Chinese tech giant with an established hold in the consumer drone market. The Matrice 300 RTK (M300) is their solution for longer, high-accuracy data-collection flights with a multicopter. Wingtra is a Swiss-based professional drone company focused on robustifying its efficient, high-accuracy survey and mapping VTOL drone WingtraOne, now in its second generation. You’ll find in this report a short read followed by an in-depth comparison of the drones.

To compare the drones, we met with a local DJI dealer—Ueli Sager, of Remote Vision, Switzerland—who joined us in the village of Gansingen to conduct a specific set of flights. In the first flight scenario, we measured the coverage of each drone on one set of batteries, flying at the same height based on a common mapping altitude above ground level (AGL). In the second scenario, we flew both drones at the same, lower height AGL over a smaller area to capture established ground points and compare accuracy. We also discussed the user experience with several customers and resellers who fly both drones.
Table of contents

The short read: quick overview of essential differences

The DJI M300 RTK is marketed as the “new standard” in the commercial drone industry, which before the addition of its P1 high-resolution RGB payload was mostly focused on search and rescue, and inspection applications. A VTOL drone, WingtraOne is a dedicated mapping solution capitalizing on a hybrid configuration of both fixed-wing and multirotor capabilities. I.e., it lifts off and lands vertically, but for flight it transitions into a fixed-wing mode.

Customer voices

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Summary

As a large multirotor, the M300 is a good drone for inspection, and search and rescue, as well as other medium-range applications. With the introduction of its P1 payload, DJI now markets it as a large-scale mapping drone. Yet even with this payload, the system is challenged in several key ways to compete with a more dedicated mapping system in terms of efficiency. The most obvious one being that the M300, while bigger than a Phantom 4, is still a multirotor that relies exclusively on its own energy—via sizable batteries—to lift it. This explains why its advertised 55 minute flight time is only possible without a payload.

In addition to coverage efficiency, robust flight times are critical in mapping situations to capture data when weather permits. Maps are meant to be a snapshot in time used for analytical purposes, so the quality of the entire map needs to be consistent. In many cases, daylight and weather only afford small windows of flight time to achieve this. A single flight over a large area makes it more likely.

As you take both of these drones out into the field, it becomes apparent that WingtraOne GEN II is a commercial drone engineered for mapping projects. Fundamental to being a dedicated mapping solution is intuitive software plus a long flight time with a high-end payload. WingtraOne GEN II can fly for up to 54 minutes with its RX1R II payload, a spec which has been exhaustively tested. Its flight planning software features all necessary parameters for surveying and mapping, with key items integrated into a smooth pre-flight checklist.

I think Wingtra is really superior, especially on the software side. DJI, I don't know if they will ever catch up as far as software.
Matthew Lanzer
Cornerstone Engineering

While WingtraOne GEN II is not a drone suitable for missions that require image capture while hovering, it is a robust, high-accuracy solution that enables pilots to take off and land safely from a range of spots while capturing reliable data on any size project as fast as possible. It’s a focused solution, with an entire engineering team working specifically on optimizing mapping functionality, and with every software update dedicated to helping pilots get their small or large-scale data as fast as possible without the need for replanning or reflying.

Quick overview graphic

DJI Matrice 300
WingtraOne GEN II
WingtraOne GEN II
27 minutes flight time DJI Matrice
Tested 27 minute flight time with the P1 payload on a charged set of batteries at 120 m (394 ft).
53 minutes flight time WingtraOne GEN II
Tested 53 minute flight time with the RX1R II payload on a charged set of batteries at 120 m (394 ft).
Matrice 300 coverage full batteries 120m
WingtraOne GEN II coverage full set of batteries 120m
DJI M300 software options and no elevation data
Wide range of applications and options with software and no elevation data or pre-flight checklist.
WingtraOne GEN II software streamlined with checklist

Dedicated mapping software that includes elevation data and option to custom upload, plus pre-flight checklist.

Hidden costs of DJI Matrice 300
While this solution starts at an affordable price, spare batteries/parts and billed field hours can mount up as hidden costs.
Fewer hidden costs with WingtraOne GEN II

Starting price of drone includes payload, batteries (2 pairs), PPK software, and other efficiency features to save time in the field.

Pros and cons

WingtraOne GEN II pros

  • Large coverage in a single flight
  • Plug-and-play integration of high-end mapping payloads
  • Optimized default settings, smooth pre-flight checklist, no locked geo zones, elevation data and desktop planning
  • Enables larger project bidding/fast ROI
  • Reasonable battery prices, sizes, charging options and numbers needed for large projects
  • The color orange for VLOS
  • Smaller, focused company that responds quickly and personally to customers

WingtraOne GEN II cons

  • Limited to five payloads
  • Cannot reprogram flight mid-mission
  • Telemetry not integrated into ground station
  • Not suitable for inspection of vertical structures
  • No LIDAR*

DJI Matrice 300 pros

  • Large range of payload possibilities
  • Real-time, in-flight view on the app
  • Obstacle detection feature helps to avoid collisions
  • Remote control over camera position in-flight
  • Telemetry integrated into ground station
  • Fine-control multirotor functionality
  • RTK receiver and redundant GNSS module enable real-time location correction in ideal conditions
  • LIDAR compatibility

DJI Matrice 300 cons

  • Listed 55 min flight time is without payload and in specific flight modes**
  • Massive batteries and more changes needed per project
  • Bulky generator and general setup for large areas and high accuracy
  • Locked zones that can drain significant time in the field
  • Not a strong choice for mapping to achieve ROI (see above video)
  • Hidden costs: batteries, payloads, project field time
  • Elevation data for terrain following must be uploaded and is cumbersome
  • Larger, impersonal company with mixed customer service

*LIDAR is a useful form of data collection in a narrow niche of cases involving vegetation. In the majority of mapping cases, photogrammetry shines as a way to collect all needed information. It’s also more economical in terms of hardware investment and workflow, since a specialist is often needed to process it. For more in-depth information on the difference between LIDAR and photogrammetry and which applications are covered best by each, visit this article.

**According to our and other industry tests, flight with the P1 on a full set of batteries lasts around 30 minutes (see battery section).

The verdict

If you need reliably high image quality and accuracy on survey and mapping projects across industries, with a minimal learning curve for the majority of projects, go for the WingtraOne GEN II. It is continually honed as an end-to-end streamlined aerial mapping solution, from planning to data processing. While it’s not optimized for inspections or projects requiring data capture in hover mode, it’s repeatedly described as a go-to for applications that demand reliable, high-accuracy coverage combined with nimble, secure take-off and landing.

If you need a drone that provides a payload for any number of variegated applications, the M300 is worth a closer look. In the case of mapping, we’d only recommend in cases that are not time critical. Since its planning interface is designed for a variety of flight modes and situations, the learning curve around the M300 for mapping can be sizable, demanding extra time around projects that feature unusual challenges like mixed-terrain, Geo-zones, limited signals, and 3D capture over broad areas. Beyond this, the setup can be quite bulky for large projects, with all of the battery requirements. Finally, the noise level on forward flight could impact wildlife and people.

The long read: detailed review of WingtraOne GEN II vs. DJI Matrice 300

Here is our in-depth analysis of features, detailed test pictures and the most important specs.
DJI Matrice M300 and WingtraOne GEN II
Key differences between WingtraOne GEN II and the DJI M300 include field time for mapping projects, single-flight coverage, dedicated mapping functionality from planning to post-processing, and lifetime costs.

Pricing

The DJI M300 base bundle price varies from reseller to reseller in both what it contains and overall price. We found that a bundle, with the P1 payload, flight controller, pair of batteries and basic accessories would start at about 20K USD. Customers we interviewed said—considering all accessories needed for the M300 as a mapping drone—the initial investment is about the same for both drones (see video for customer experience).

Cost estimates for DJI Matrice 300 and WingtraOne GEN II
On its face, the DJI Matrice 300 bundle cost appears more affordable, but consumables and field time will raise this price significantly. Estimates are based on research, customer and reseller interviews.

Consumable parts for the M300 are a significant price consideration if you plan to use this system for large-area mapping projects. For example, batteries cost about 845 USD each (making them four times as expensive as WingtraOne GEN II’s). At the same time you need five sets for continuous mapping.

Another price consideration, since coverage is limited, is field time. The larger a project gets, the more additional field time will be required for the same area—a cost that will be billed as man hours or project time.

That’s why we had the ability at the company to buy one of the two drones, and we bought the Wingtra first. And eventually we’ll get the M300 as well, but the Wingtra has to be first. Because we have to be able to fly large areas … it’s just a matter of where I can get the most value initially, and where I can pay back that value.
Matthew Lanzer
Cornerstone Engineering

WingtraOne GEN II starts off at about 32,000 USD, including ground station, carrying sleeve, two sets of batteries, PPK with license, and the RX1R II payload. For any bundle options, you can generate a fast estimate for a specific region through a cost configurator tool. The software and system out of the box handles projects from 1 ha (2.4 ac) to any kind of large-area mapping project you can imagine.

From flight planning, to comprehensive pre-flight checks, to lean data sets for coverage and accuracy demanded, it is a system that is honed to save as much time as possible from start to finish on survey and mapping projects.

Transport and handling

The DJI M300 case is about the size of a standard check-in, hard-shell suitcase. You then need a same-sized case for batteries and charging.

The WingtraOne hard case fits into a small car. The soft-shell backpack option lets one person carry it easily and safely on their back practically anywhere while carrying a pilot box in one hand. You can fit four pairs of batteries and a field charging kit in the pilot box.

WingtraOne GEN II with pilot box and ground station
DJI Matrice 300 setup

The setup for the WingtraOne GEN II includes a pilot box that’s smaller than a standard carry-on suitcase and a soft carrying case/ backpack. The M300 setup includes two check-in-sized hard cases—one for the batteries, and one for the drone and ground station.

Both Wingtra and DJI supply small, hard-shell cases for every payload. They are comparable in size and durable with a foam interior for shock protection.

In terms of traveling with each system, WingtraOne’s batteries are safe to fly with since they are 99 Wh each and within specifications for carry-on luggage. DJI M300s batteries are 274.20 Wh each, exceeding the typical 160 Wh limit and qualifying them as “large” batteries, which are prohibited on many airlines as check-in or carry-on items.

If a job requires you to fly with the M300 to a remote project, you will need to buy batteries to be shipped to the project location since they are not within specifications for air travel.

Product and quality

The WingtraOne GEN II is built in Zurich, Switzerland, and each unit is tested extensively before shipment. It features a high-quality glass fiber airframe. As a ground station, you get the durable, weather-resistant latest generation Samsung Tab Active 3. The payload is safely integrated into the hull of the drone for maximum protection.

The M300 is a quadcopter with foldable propellers for transport and detachable legs. The ground station features a remote control and telemetry console with integrated tablet. This integration gives a consistent product feel. The payload bracket allows any payload to be fastened and suspended below the drone.

WingtraOne GEN II close-up

DJI Matrice 300 close-up

Flight planning and settings

The DJI pilot flight planning software can be downloaded for free and is compatible with a range of DJI drones, covering many applications. It can be used on various android devices. It comes pre-installed in the M300 ground controller, which features a remote control console and a notably small 5.5 in (14 cm) display screen. Flight planning with DJI Pilot is not possible on a desktop.

Due to the range of applications DJI Pilot software is meant to take on, there are a lot of customization options that can cost time for new or non-frequent flyers. A range of third-party apps can be, and are, used with the M300, each presenting advantages and disadvantages.

The M300’s terrain-following feature is not straightforward to work with. First, elevation data is not included in the DJI Pilot software, and from our conversations with customers it is complicated to upload (see video). Next, according to its default settings, you will end up with too many pictures, which will weigh down your post process.

If you manage to set up terrain following and keep the connections going, you will have consistent GSD along complicated mapping areas. You will need to plan VLOS in this respect, as the drone can disappear fast as it changes altitude swiftly along peaks and valleys.

When planning a DJI Matrice 300 flight amidst obstructions or variegated terrain, you need to consider the signal for continuous data transmission to enable RTK accuracy during capture. For large areas, you may need to move a base station a number of times.

WingtraOne GEN II and DJI Matrice 300 drone comparison pilots
Pilots flew the DJI M300 and the WingtraOne GEN II over undulating terrain typical of Switzerland.

With the M300, there is no checklist that accounts for any of these factors. You must calculate them yourself and plan before take-off and give it a try. It is therefore likely that you will be re-starting flights several times because you need to remember to check every detail amidst the large range of settings before take-off.

WingtraPilot comes preinstalled on the drone’s included ground station, featuring a Samsung Tab Active 3 with 8-inch display. The software is tailored to the WingtraOne GEN II and its integrated cameras. Planning can be done on a desktop or the ground station itself. The software is intuitive and straightforward to use, even on massive projects with multiple parts.

Unlike the M300, WingtraOne GEN II with terrain following enabled does not follow the undulation of terrain according to its every rise and fall. Instead, it flies lines parallel along the gradient of each slope. In places with a high density of slopes, you can break down the flight plan to get constant GSD. Wingtra recommends flying with its terrain following-feature for all projects since it keeps flight altitude above ground/GSD stable.

Additionally, with terrain following activated, the flight is checked against elevation to ensure that you only take off when the entire flight is safely planned to avoid hitting any obstacles. Elevation data is included, but you can also load custom elevation data and KML files to simplify and organize flight plans for large projects. For large areas—that require several flights or just to maintain VLOS—you can create smaller sub-plans that are part of a whole, and the system will keep track of them. I.e., the drone will return home and the mission will resume after a change of batteries.

Before flight, WingtraPilot guides you through a drone-responsive checklist for the planned mission based on the terrain and the settings you prefer to capture at. Specifically, as you prepare for take-off, the WingtraPilot app pairs with the drone to give you feedback about where you are in the flight-prep process. Whatever has not been prepared on the drone is highlighted on a list. When the checklist has been fulfilled, you are ready to fly. This ensures that the drone is ready for flight and that all parameters are within a safe and viable scope.

Flying the drones

WingtraOne takes off and lands vertically, but transitions into fixed-wing flight for the mission. Take-off is immediate, like a rocket, so that the noise and air flow around the craft is minimized. It reaches its transition height and then moves horizontally. Overhead flight noise is minimal, like a distant hum.

An orange drone icon moves on the WingtraPilot app as it flies according to plan. Everything happens autonomously, from take-off to landing. Terrain following happens lengthwise along a slope gradient, so the flight lines are steady.

In-app controls allow pause, loiter and resume of the flight at any time. You can also pause the drone mid-landing and reposition it should the home point become blocked. Return to home automatically activates and, as a safety feature, is enforced on low battery, or you can activate it at any time during the flight by sliding a control button on the app.

Although in the past, fixed-wing/VTOL drones might have been unsteady in wind, thanks to leading-edge engineering and software fine-tuning, the GEN II demonstrates repeated and verified stability in wind, both on take-off and landing, and during data capture. It captures data in sustained 12 m/s (27 mph) speeds and gusts of up to 18 m/s (40 mph). To ensure data integrity, the drone will automatically return to home if wind speeds exceed 12 m/s (27 mph) during data capture for more than 30 seconds.

Tested, demonstrated wind tolerance of WingtraOne GEN II

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A quadcopter, the DJI M300 lifts off and touches down during take-off and landing, respectively. It hovers according to plan during flight. As the drone starts up, it creates turbulence around itself and noise, but once it is gradually higher in the air, these diminish. The reverse is true on landing, the craft becomes louder and the surrounding turbulence increases. Overhead flight noise is akin to a small airplane.

The M300 can withstand winds and turbulence of up to 15 m/s (34 mph) thanks to its inverted propellers. The gimbal allows for fine-tuned image capture in wind as well. Keep in mind that its flight time will be reduced as its batteries both generate lift and movement against higher winds, and flight speed can be compromised.

DJI Geo Zones limit flight in certain places that are deemed unsafe or high-security. In these zones, DJI drones will not take off unless the pilot submits the necessary paperwork to temporarily unlock the drone according to their verified DJI account. In sensitive national security zones, flight is strictly blocked. DJI lists these zones as advisory and advertises that pilots still need to check official sources and get approvals for their flight plans. Furthermore, and quoted: “DJI has selected widely-recommended general parameters without making any determination of whether this guidance matches regulations that may apply specifically to you.” In short, even if you are certified and granted express permission to fly in certain locations, you will need to spend time unlocking DJI drones for specific projects that may include or even border on sensitive areas, according to Precise Visual Technologies, a subsidiary of Borton Lawson, w illustrates this in a real-world context.

You can activate audio on the ground station so that you can hear every picture that the drone takes. You can watch the drone icon fly its plan on the screen or you can watch from the drone’s point of view via in-flight camera so long as there is a stable connection. Everything happens autonomously, or you can take control manually on the remote control stick features of the ground station—to move the drone or the camera mid-flight. The M300 features obstacle sensing to avoid crashing into nearby objects, and smart return-to-home when batteries are exhausted.

To note: the M300 system allows pilots to manually overhaul the automatic battery RTH and continue to map in autonomous mode, which presents a risk of running out of battery power in the air. So while manual controls present powerful options with this drone, they are also a reason for user-fault crashes.

Batteries

DJI M300 batteries are TB60 intelligent LiPo and support hot-swap functionality, allowing you to change the battery without switching off the drone. The batteries are advertised to provide 55 minutes of flight time, but this is only without a payload. This review at 22:30 details the average flight duration of 32 minutes with brand new batteries for the M300.

Claims and tested flight-time specs

Flight time comparison WingtraOne GEN II and DJI Matrice 300 GRAPH
The dots along the sloped lines in the graph represent the specs of the payloads as carried by each drone manufacturer. The transparent triangles mark the specs for the two mapping payloads that we tested—the RX1R II in red and the P1 in blue.

The cost of one TB60 battery is around 845 USD, and a pair is required for flight. As mentioned, several pairs are required for medium projects. A TB60 battery station is required to charge the batteries. There is no other way to charge them. While it holds eight flight batteries and four ground station batteries, it only charges one pair of batteries at a time. The listed charging time is between 70 minutes and 130 minutes, depending on normal or colder temperatures, respectively.

We have four sets of batteries for both the Wingtra and the M300. With the M300 going consistently, it was close to keeping up but we would get ahead of it. So we’d have to take a break at some point, and let it catch up with the charging. We could keep our batteries charged and keep up with our four sets with the Wingtra.
Sarah Cockerton
Four Rivers Group

Compare battery charging setup

WingtraOne GEN II battery setup

WingtraOne GEN II battery charging illustration

DJI Matrice 300 battery setup

DJI Matrice 300 battery charging illustration

In the field, WingtraOne presents the option to charge via the battery charger from an outlet or your car batteries. DJI M300 batteries only charge via the case, and only two batteries at a time—so at least five, fully-charged sets of batteries, a generator in the field and/or an extra charging station is required to keep up with recharging times and large-area projects.

You are then faced with the cost of more batteries or another charging case should you have a large project and need more capacity. Additionally, there is no discharge option on the case, so if you have prepared batteries that you don’t use, there is no way to discharge them for storage other than to fly with them. Finally, you cannot fly/travel on an airplane with these batteries (see transport and handling section).

The WingtraOne’s UN-certified Li-ion smart batteries transmit their state of health and charge to the WingtraPilot in-flight. Wingtra advertises a flight time of 59 minutes with a payload (see chart above), and this has been tested repeatedly. The batteries are compact—four pairs fit in the medium-sized pilot box should you need extra pairs.

They can be charged and discharged with the charger unit, which plugs into a socket or works with a car battery in the field. WingtraOne flight batteries take about one hour to fully charge and can take up to 80 minutes if they are fully drained. For continuous flight over large areas, you’ll need three to four sets in the field to keep up with re-charging times. As they are 99 Wh each, they are within spec to check-in multiple pairs on a flight.

Cameras [RX1R II vs. Zenmuse P1]

The DJI M300 supports a line of Zenmuse payloads for a wide range of applications, from search and rescue to power line inspection:

LIDAR/RGB

  • Zenmuse L1 LIDAR +RGB

RGB

  • Zenmuse P1 45MP—24, 35 and 50 mm lenses*
  • Zenmuse H20 LRF, wide-angle, zoom

Thermal

  • Zenmuse H2OT LRF, wide-angle, zoom, thermal
  • Zenmuse XT2 dual-sensor, 4K visual sensor, thermal imaging < 50mK sensitivity

Zoom

  • Zenmuse Z30 30x optical zoom

3rd party

  • Camera adapters for virtually any payload

*24 and 50 mm lens options were advertised but not available at the time of this report, so only 35 mm was tested.

For this report, we chose to focus on the P1 payload, since we are comparing the systems for their performance on high-accuracy mapping applications. The P1 is a full-frame, high-resolution RGB payload offering 45 MP resolution. It’s a great option for RGB. Yet it’s important to understand the implications of carrying this payload on the M300 for real mapping scenarios. We can do this via the claims on the payload page:

“High efficiency—cover 3 km2 in a single flight.” This is with the caveat that you fly with a GSD of 3 cm, which means a flight altitude of 240 meters (790 ft), and a flight time of 46 minutes, which is not tested as possible. This, as well as a 55% side overlap and 75% front overlap.

“Cover 7.5 km2 in a single workday with the P1.” Given our test flights, at 120 m (394 ft) we are not sure how smooth (battery intensive) this process would be, covering just over 1 km2 in one flight.

Wingtra supports five interchangeable Sony and MicaSense payload options:

RGB

  • Sony RX1R II full-frame 42MP
  • Sony a6100

Oblique

  • Sony Oblique a6100

Multispectral

  • MicaSense RedEdge-MX
  • MicaSense Altum

Each Wingtra payload comes with a custom mount and set for optimal mapping capture. The drone covers a range of mapping applications—from dedicated, highly-efficient oblique for infrastructure, to the highest precision maps for resource and cadastral studies. For multispectral capture, the MicaSense payloads offer best-in-class imagery.

For test flights and comparison of high-accuracy mapping data, we focused our test flights on Wingtra’s flagship Sony RX1RII 42 MP full-frame payload. This payload captures high-resolution imagery at the best quality for photogrammetry due to its low-distortion lens. Combined with the WingtraOne drone, it captures as advertised and to spec according to GSD settings and accuracy needs.

PPK vs. RTK and accuracy

The M300 flies with a built-in RTK receiver, to geotag images during flight. This eliminates the need for this step after landing. As an additional purchase, DJI sells a D-RTK 2 Mobile Station that is compatible with the drone and offers storage for satellite correction data to use later as a post-processed kinematic (PPK) option.

One thing to note about the D-RTK 2 Mobile base station is that, while it is described as high-precision, this refers to relative accuracy between the base station and the aircraft. It is not capable of offering high absolute accuracy. In other words, for high-accuracy survey and mapping projects, you will need a known point, base station or CORS network to provide correction data that brings the accuracy into the centimeter range.

For the RTK capabilities to serve their purpose, four constant connections need to be maintained throughout the duration of the flight,* including between the base station and the drone. This is perhaps the most fragile of the connections, and if it’s interrupted, the drone will stop and you can choose to continue without RTK, rearrange the flight or return to home.

In the end, if one of these RTK connections fail, you will need to call on PPK as a backup. In the case of the M300, DJI does not offer a PPK workflow, so customers will need to rely on third-party software that comes with an additional yearly cost.

RTK offers the advantage of instant processing, but if it fails, you need PPK. In the case of the M300, a third-party workflow is required for this, while PPK processing is included and streamlined with the GEN II.

WingtraOne GEN II emphasizes reliability by optimizing its system for PPK data correction. Its high-end Septentrio multi-frequency GNSS receiver was carefully chosen to consistently deliver the best possible mapping results. It’s strategically placed in the drone to capture precise location data as the basis for high absolute accuracy.

While you do not get corrected data directly after the flight, the value of this—since data needs to be transferred to software for processing in both cases—is up for discussion when considering the reliability of PPK. Because it only requires two lines of data to stream over the course of the flight, PPK is regarded as more reliable, and workflows do not involve extensive field setup.

The PPK geotagging with WingtraOne GEN II is smooth, lean and straightforward. Specifically, flight data is well-organized on the SD card after each flight and WingtraHub software, which is included with the drone and free to use. The software also features batch-processing to PPK process all the flights for the day with a few clicks.

*For more information about the advantages and disadvantages of RTK and PPK, visit this article.

Post-processing

With both the DJI M300 and WingtraOne, you have the choice of any image-processing software like Pix4D, Bentley ContextCapture, ESRI Sitescan, Agisoft or Propeller, to run your results. While you do need to invest in your own system, you can choose what suits you best. And if you already have a system, you are ready to go.

In the case of both drones, images are ready and geotagged so you can drop them into any photogrammetry software. In the case of WingtraOne GEN II, the geotags are also written into a text (.csv) file, so customers can convert them into their local coordinate system when needed.

Both cameras are recognized by common photogrammetry software, so camera parameters are available to run processing estimates.

Specs: DJI Matrice 300 and WingtraOne GEN II

DJI Matrice 300 WingtraOne GEN II
Hardware
Weight
Drone and batteries
6.3 kg (13.9 lb)

Max payload weight
2.7 kg (5.9 lb)

Max take-off weight
9 kg (19.8 lb)
Drone and batteries
3.7 kg (8.1 lb)

Max payload weight
800 g (1.8 lb)

Max take-off weight
4.5 kg (9.9 lb)
Dimensions
Unfolded, propellers excluded 81×67×43 cm / 32x26x17 in (L×W×H)
Wingspan
125 cm (48 in)
Software
Flight planning and navigation
DJI Pilot with free updates
WingtraPilot with free updates
Desktop planning available
Free WingtraHub PPK post-processing software
Image processing
Agnostic—choose your preference
Agnostic—choose your preference
In-flight
Speed
Mapping speed flying at 120 m (394 ft)
54 kph (15 m/s, 33.6 mph)

Mapping speed flying at 75 m (246 ft)
39.6 kph (11 m/s, 24.6 mph)
Cruise speed
57.6 kph (16 m/s, 35.8 mph)
Wind resistance
54 kph (15 m/s, 33.5 mph)
In cruise
Up to 45 kph (12 m/s, 28 mph)

For landing
up to 30 kph (8 m/s, 18 mph)
Max flight time
Without a payload
55 mins

With the P1 payload**
43 mins listed
With lightest payload
59 mins

With the RX1R II
54 mins
Automation
Full automation with manual takeover at any point, which in some cases, at full speed, will require expert skills
Full automation with smart takeover options, optimized to prevent incidents based on human error, plus options for manual takeover at any point
Results
PPK/RTK option
RTK and PPK (with third-party tools)
PPK
Absolute horizontal accuracy
3 cm (1.2 in)
1 cm (0.4 in)
Absolute vertical accuracy
5 cm (2 in)
3 cm (1.2 in)
Minimum GSD
0.15 cm (0.06 in)
0.7 cm (0.3 in)

*Obstacle avoidance is disabled in this mode
**Field tested flight time for P1 is around 30 minutes

Comparison flights setup and results

Tests setup

We met with a certified DJI reseller, on the 20th of October, 2021, and conducted flights in Gansingen, Switzerland, on an overcast day with negligible wind. We aimed to capture undulating terrain with some urban and landscape features. We flew with the latest software available on that day. 

We controlled the altitudes to compare the battery life of the two drones with payloads designated for the same application—high-accuracy RGB mapping. We judged this altitude according to the standard worldwide limit of 120 m (394 ft) AGL to conduct battery life testing in a scenario that would apply to most situations. To compare and verify accuracy, we flew each drone at 75 m (246 ft) AGL in a plan covering a series of established ground control markers.

For all tests and both drones we used the default settings suggested for mapping by the manufacturers. The default overlap for the WingtraOne GEN II is 70/70 (front/side) with a fixed, optimal 16 m/s (35.8 mph) flight speed. In the case of the DJI Matrice 300, the default overlap is 80/70 (front/side), and we chose the maximum flight speed possible to keep up with this overlap at the specified heights: 15 m/s (33.5 mph) at 120 m (394 ft) AGL, and 11 m/s (24.6 mph) at 75 m (246 ft) AGL. Customers we spoke with said they generally fly slower with the M300 to ensure stable data acquisition.

All flights took place on the same day, under the same conditions—overcast with no wind or extreme temperatures—starting and ending from the same location. Each drone carried its high-resolution mapping payload throughout all flights: Wingtra’s Sony RX1R II and DJI’s Zenmuse P1.

Full battery test flight: same altitude AGL—120 m (394 ft)

To test flight durations on full sets of batteries, we flew at a common mapping altitude of 120 m (394 ft).

The test revealed that WingtraOne GEN II covers more than two times the area in one flight than the DJI Matrice 300, so you’d need three M300 flights (and sets of batteries) to match coverage. So you need to account for more time in the field to change batteries and let charging batteries cool before use.

We also found that the processing time would be about twice as long. I.e., for the same area with default flight settings, the M300 would take around 2932 (1466 x 2) images vs. 1846 for the GEN II. Add to this that the resolution is slightly higher with the P1 (45 MP vs. 42 MP for GEN II); so you have more data to process per image. (See processing time in the table below.)

Coverage specs for the M300 and GEN II under the same conditions

Zenmuse P1 Sony RX1R II
Flight time
27 min
53 min
Coverage
102 ha (252 ac)
217 ha (536 ac)
Overlap (default)
80/70
70/70
No. of images
1466
1846
Processing time
8h*
11h
*Despite covering less than half the area, the M300 captured significantly more than half the images and the processing time was significantly longer than half the time for the GEN II data.

Accuracy ground points

For our accuracy tests, the flight height, area and coverage parameters were the same for each drone, i.e., controlled. We used Pix4Dmapper to process each project according to its standard “3D Maps” settings. With Bentley ContextCapture, we also performed aerotriangulation to get deeper insights on camera calibration. We assessed the quality of the two sensors and the checkpoint accuracy via the resultant quality reports, with software settings equal/controlled to remove a bias and allow for straightforward comparison.

In photogrammetry, processing requires a high number of characteristic points—a.k.a keypoints—as well as a high number of matching points per image. These result from accurate camera calibration and assume a high-quality sensor with consistent built-in parameters. These are optimized during a camera’s initial calibration, because once it is sold and used, its sensors are sensitive to vibrations and temperatures across a range of scenarios.

In other words, for consistent high-accuracy outputs it is important that the initial camera parameters provide stability across the range of weather conditions in which you fly.

This is when we see—beneath headline camera specifications—how the quality of the sensor makes a difference in the results when you are going for consistently high-quality data capture that results in reliable and impressive maps. Importantly, distortion varied significantly between these two sensors. Reliable aerotriangulation depends on finding matches in imagery, and low distortion enables this.

Compare distortion via Bentley ContextCapture quality report

Zenmuse P1

Zenmuse P1 distortion report

Sony RX1R II

Sony RX1R II distortion report
Image distortion introduces curves along straight edges due to the curvature of the lens—high-quality optics reduce it. Low distortion, as in the case of RX1R II, supports more image matches and better aerotriangulation.
The resolution of a sensor is important, but just as important in photogrammetry is the quality of the optics in the sensor, to minimize distortion and capture reliable, accurate data.

In the below sensor quality table, we can see that the Sony RX1R II, although capturing at a slightly lower MP resolution, is a superior sensor for capturing data that is used for photogrammetry purposes. Specifically, we see that it provided a higher number of keypoints than the Zenmuse P1 (24,546 vs. 20,655).

A main camera parameter, the focal length for the RX1R II is stable compared to the P1—the uncertainty is larger (2.56) than for the RX1R II (0.27). The median matches per calibrated image is also higher for the RX1R II (6,982 vs. 6,062), despite its flying with a lower front overlap (70 vs 80). Additionally, we see that the camera parameters for the RX1R II are spot on, with less than 0.1 percent difference between the initial and optimized. For the P1, 0.2 percent of adjustment is required. 

Sensor quality

DJI Matrice 300 WingtraOne GEN II
Payload
45 MP Zenmuse P1
42 MP Sony RX1R II
Key points per image
(more is better)
20655
24546
Matches per image
(more is better)
6062
6982
Focal length uncertainty (sigma)
(less is better)
2.56 pixels
0.27 pixel
Camera optimization (difference between initial and optimized parameters)
(less is better)
0.2%
0.06 %

Even though the RX1R II is a 42 MP sensor and the P1 is a 45 MP sensor, we see more keypoints and matches per image with the RX1R II. This is a result of the quality of the sensor.

We flew both drones at a height of 75 m (246 ft) AGL and captured seven verified checkpoints that were each measured 2×15 minutes with a static GNSS station.

We geotagged the WingtraOne GEN II data in WingtraHub on a laptop before processing it in Pix4Dmapper. WingtraOne GEN II data capture resulted in 1.6/1.4 cm (0.63/0.55 in) horizontal accuracy and 1.5 cm (0.6 in) vertical accuracy. This is reproducible based on repeated testing.

We processed the RTK data from the M300 and found that the vertical accuracy was significantly worse. The RTK connection for the M300 flights was to a different (and more remote) CORS station than the GEN II PPK connection. So we reprocessed the M300 data via a paid third-party PPK tool with the same CORS data and saw the accuracy improve. The accuracies overall were comparable; however, we do not know the reproducibility of the M300 results.

Checkpoint accuracy

(RTK) DJI M300 (PPK) DJI M300 (PPK) WingtraOne GEN II
RMS error X
1.4 cm (0.6 in)
0.9 cm (0.35 in)
1.6 cm (0.63)
RMS error Y
2.6 cm (1 in)
2.3 cm (0.9 in)
1.4 cm (0.6 in)
RMS error Z
6.1 cm (2.4 in)
2.8 cm (1.1)
1.5 cm (0.6 in)

Processing outputs

When analyzing the outputs of the WingtraOne GEN II and the DJI Matrice M300, we can see that both are high quality. The point clouds are clean and do not require any additional processing to work with. Due to the additional images captured by the M300, the point cloud is a bit more dense and data-heavy, but both outputs feature all information.

Point cloud results

Longitudinal section through a building showing the point cloud quality of both drones. The low noise level and lack of outliers on flat surfaces enable direct reuse without the need of additional cleaning.
The orthomosaic quality is also comparable, just featuring different levels of brightness based on different default camera settings. Both systems demonstrate the strengths of photogrammetry to capture photo-realistic, high-accuracy, data-rich maps for spatial analysis.

Orthomosaic results

Both systems’ data resulted in rich, high-quality orthomosaic outputs. Camera setting differences result in different levels of brightness.

Why WingtraOne GEN II?

WingtraOne GEN II is a dedicated mapping drone that delivers high accuracy across a range of areas fast and reliably. By design, it cuts time in the field dramatically—not only due to efficient flight and capture but also given a streamlined end-to-end workflow for any application it is built to take on. So it’s a drone that pays for itself within the first several projects. Wingtra focuses a good percent of its efforts on research and development to keep its WingtraOne at the front edge of what is possible for professional survey and mapping solutions.

Why DJI Matrice 300?

The DJI Matrice 300 is a good drone for small mapping projects, inspection, and any cases where hover functionality and a wide-open choice in payload is required. The cost of the system must be considered across the range of parts, and consumables, you must invest in to achieve your goals, as well as additional, billable man hours. For large areas, this system will always be hampered by its design as a quadcopter that carries massive batteries and demands a lot of flights in the field. Additionally, its software is not straightforward for mapping, which can lead to setbacks in the field. This all costs time and can impact results, which will involve many more snapshots over a larger span of time.

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Wingtra
Wingtra

Wingtra develops, produces and commercializes high precision VTOL drones that collect survey-grade aerial data.

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