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Professional VTOL drone comparison

Quantix vs. WingtraOne

Aeroenvironment is the Pentagon’s top supplier for drones. Their Quantix drone is an attempt to address the civilian agriculture market. Wingtra, on the other hand, is a Swiss company focusing purely on VTOL drone technology for surveying and mapping. Here is our comparison of the two systems.

The summary: Dual payload versus top image quality

Both drones feature VTOL and fixed-wing technology. They take off, land and fly well. Most importantly, you get rid of risky belly landings. But that’s where the similarities stop. The Quantix is designed for agriculture, so it comes with a dual payload for RGB and multi-spectral images that is fixed on the mainboard of the drone. The WingtraOne, by comparison, carries swappable payloads, used one at a time. Each Wingtra payload offers high-end solutions. Here is the lowest GSD test image comparison of the two drones:

wingtra rx1r ii best lowest gsd image
wingtra best gsd image

WingtraOne + Sony RX1R II


GSD: 0.8 cm (0.3 in)/px
Altitude: 65 m (213 ft)
Real resolution: 0.95 cm (0.4 in)
Coverage: 110 ha (272 ac)

wingtra qx1 best gsd image

WingtraOne + Sony QX1


GSD: 1.4 cm (0.6 in)/px
Altitude: 66 m (217 ft)
Real resolution: 1.74 cm (0.7 in)
Coverage: 150 ha (371 ac)

quantix best gsd image

Quantix


GSD: 2.55 cm (1 in)/px
Altitude: 110 m (361 ft)
Real resolution: 3.63 cm (1.4 in)
Coverage: 160 ha (395 ac)

Test images at the lowest possible GSD of each drone. The 42MP full-frame sensor of the WingtraOne pays off with more than three times lower GSD and striking resolution lines* for the RX1R II. You can easily compare these lines by looking at the center of the Siemens Stars, which show the degree of clarity or blur. More test images at the same altitude and same GSD are below in the test image section. Note: all coverage figures in this report are theoretical and calculated based on listed coverage unless we list them as tested.

*Real resolution for all images is based on measurements of the fine-lined Siemens Star, which reduces measurement errors.

Download original images

WingtraOne pros

  • VTOL, no belly landings
  • Top image quality with 42MP full-frame sensor
  • Top GNSS module with L1/L2 receiver delivers down to 1 cm (0.4 in) accuracy
  • High coverage for resolution—190 ha (469 ac) at 1.4 cm (0.55 in)/px GSD
  • Swappable payloads and modular GNSS PPK
  • Composite airframe
  • The color, if you like orange
  • Adjustable flight altitude and custom overlap settings
  • Terrain following

WingtraOne cons

  • Costs more for higher-quality frame, payloads and results
  • Does not carry multiple payloads per flight
  • Telemetry is not integrated in tablet of ground station

Quantix pros

  • VTOL
  • Subscriptions start at affordable prices
  • Comes with its own post-processing solution (which we didn’t test)
  • As a foam drone, its industrialization and build quality are very good
  • Takes RGB and multi-spectral pictures at the same time
  • Good flight controls

Quantix cons

  • No PPK or RTK option
  • Lacks essential settings needed for surveying, e.g., the flight altitude is fixed
  • No option to adjust GSD
  • No terrain following
  • Low image quality
  • Very large box that needs two people to handle it
  • Some question marks around coverage and battery life

The verdict

If you need high quality and accuracy in surveying, go for the WingtraOne. It is the better drone for surveying. If you are on a tight budget and need the drone primarily for agriculture, then give the Quantix a closer look, but make sure you can extract the analytics you need.


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The long read: Review of WingtraOne vs. Quantix

You really want to know everything about the two drones before spending thousands of dollars? Here is our in-depth analysis of features, detailed test pictures and the most important specs.

wingtra vs quantix drone VTOL
WingtraOne and Quantix are both tailsitter vertical take-off and landing drones (VTOL). Quantix has two integrated cameras—an RGB and a multispectral. WingtraOne has modular payloads that can be interchanged—Sony QX1 20 MP 20 mm/15 mm, Sony RX1RII 42 MP full-frame and MicaSense RedEdge-MX multispectral camera.

Contents

wingtraone vs quantix : which is the better drone for surveying?
Although both fixed-wing with VTOL take-off and landing, Quantix and WingtraOne differ in some key ways.

Transport and handling

The Quantix case is quite large and you will need a pickup or SUV to transport it. It’s also hard for one person to carry. Needing two operators can double your salary cost. That said, the Quantix case looks and feels rock solid—able to take strong impact.

On the other hand, the WingtraOne hard case, while solid and protective, fits into a micro car, and 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.


wingtraone vs quantix transport and handling
Clockwise from left: Quantix hard case, WingtraOne hard case, WingtraOne soft case backpack option.

Product and quality

The WingtraOne has a high-quality glass fiber airframe featuring replaceable side stands and a middle stand. As a ground station, you get a Samsung Tab Active 2, which passed military spec testing for 21 environmental conditions, including temperature, dust, shock/vibration and extreme pressures. The base station also includes a charging station and two sets of smart batteries, as well as a remote control, telemetry module, and an anemometer to gauge wind.

Quantix is a foam drone, but it is well industrialized. Batteries snap nicely and same as the WingtraOne, have state-of-charge indicators. The telemetry is integrated into the tablet.

Flight planning and settings

The Quantix pre-flight checklist is straightforward. You only see one step at a time and pass consecutively through them. Everything related to this feels intuitive. However, there is no way to download the map when you create a flight plan, so you can’t fly without a WiFi connection. When you do attempt to download maps with Quantix, it’s not really clear when the download actually happened. We thought we downloaded our map but actually hadn’t. It is also impossible to edit a flight area after creating a flight plan. So you end up drawing flight plans multiple times, if you don’t get a good area the first time (see area check image below). These little glitches cost time in the field.

All of this said, the functionality is rather inflexible and lacks some essential settings for surveyors. You can only fly at one altitude of 110 meters (361 feet), and we didn’t find a way to change that. Similarly, you cannot change transition altitude, transition direction or return to home altitude, and there is no terrain following. The image-overlap settings in Quantix are fixed, limiting the quality of the results to those settings.

You don’t have good control over where the Quantix will fly. On the tablet, the flight plan appears with a thick line randomly drawn around the outside of the flight area you’ve chosen. It’s not possible to adjust this line.

wingtra and quantix flight planning software
You don’t have good control over where the Quantix will fly. The blue section on the Quantix tablet is the survey area, while the yellow section is where the drone could fly. What makes flight planning difficult is that the yellow area is created automatically, so you can’t really influence its shape. For us it was unclear why the flight plan goes so much further than the survey area. If any obstructions exist in the yellow area, you need to restart the plan to see where the yellow will appear on the next try.

There is  little control over where the drone flies or its transition direction, which in some cases—e.g., where trees or buildings fall within the yellow zone—could prove dangerous. These constraints might be okay for agriculture and industries with few obstacles to consider. But for surveying, that would not work well.

By comparison, the WingtraOne pre-flight checklist is interactive and also runs automated checks on the drone. Once you have checked all the points on the list, you are ready to fly. Downloading maps for offline use is a clear process when creating a flight plan in the flight planning software WingtraPilot. You can also choose to include elevation data and activate WingtraPilot’s Terrain Following feature in areas of the flight where mapping along a slope is required. Front and side image overlap as well as altitude and GSD are easy to set in the app. The interface is intuitive—layered in such a way that you are not overwhelmed by all choices at once. You see highlighted  information that applies to your stage of flight prep.

Flying the drones

WingtraOne takes off and lands smoothly and is visible on the WingtraPilot as it flies according to plan. If the altitude or transition angles need to be adjusted, you press a button to enter manual mode and change its flight with the intuitive controls.

The Quantix drone takes off and lands smoothly, even in slight wind. In flight, the drone feels stable, and the transitions inspire confidence when operating. The flight controls work intuitively. It is possible to see where the drone is in real time, even though it appears that it was not flying along the straight line.  A green square blinks whenever the drone takes photos.

Batteries and coverage

Quantix advertises a 45 minute flight time with its battery. We charged the battery fully and flew two weeks after that. After flying seven minutes, we could not fly a 2nd time, because we received a low battery warning. So we are unsure about the real endurance of the Quantix. According to specs, Quantix’s flight coverage is 160 ha (400 ac) at 2.5 cm (1 in) GSD, at 110 m (361 ft). The coverage area for Quantix is limited mostly because its flight height is set at an altitude of 110 m (361 feet) and its payload is fixed.

The WingtraOne’s Li-ion smart batteries can transmit their state of health and charge to the WingtraPilot. Wingtra advertises a flight time of 55 minutes in no wind with new batteries, and this has been tested repeatedly. WingtraOne’s QX1 20 MP 20 mm coverage for 2.5 cm (1 in) GSD is 240 ha (593 ac) at 110 m (361 ft). For WingtraOne’s RX1R II payload, coverage for 2.5 cm (1 in) GSD is 310 ha (766 ac) at 179 m (587 ft).

Note that for either drone, you will observe reduced flight times in heavy winds and when flying at higher altitudes.

wingtra vs quantix coverage

Camera options

Quantix comes standard with two cameras fixed inside the drone. So you are limited in your GSD to the resolution and sensor quality of those cameras. The shutter speed and aperture settings are also fixed, and low. We ran this test in the winter season, when flight conditions can get quite dark. The day of the test was overcast, so we would have liked to adjust the camera settings to let in more light.

Since two cameras—both 18MP for RGB and multispectral photos—are integrated into Quantix,  you get two types of images at once, which is a nice feature. However, both types are stored in the same folder as outputs. Separating the infrared from the RGB files would be a great improvement. Bottom line, you don’t have any other image resolution or sensor options with Quantix.

Wingtra features three interchangeable aerial mapping camera options, flown one at a time, for a range of project needs—from 3D mapping along mixed elevations to ultra-precise survey-grade maps for resource and cadastral studies. The MicaSense multispectral camera captures 5 light bands: Green, Blue, Red, NIR (Near Infrared) and RedEdge.

However, the most outstanding camera option with the WingtraOne is the Sony RX1R II 42 MP full-frame. This payload’s sensor size improves the light sensitivity and reduces the noise in images. The 42 MP resolution with this WingtraOne payload means that both your GSD and your absolute accuracy are much lower due to more pixels covering the same ground and each pixel linked to a geo-located point. With this ultra-high accuracy payload, you can thus achieve the same GSD at a 179 m (597 ft) altitude as the Quantix, which means up to two times more coverage per image and overall flight.

wingtra and quantix camera sensor sizes
Sensor size affects the amount of light let into the image. Larger sensors mean better light sensitivity. Full-frame also captures a wider field of view with every shot. In cases where you need a lot of images, and a high overlap, this difference adds up.

Accuracy

WingtraOne PPK drone has a built-in PPK GNSS antenna from Septentrio. It ensures best-in-class image geotag correction after the flight. You don’t need ground control points (GCPs) for accurate map reconstruction, although they can be used as checkpoints to verify the accuracy of the project. This greatly reduces the time spent in the field. With WingtraOne, only three checkpoints would be recommended to check and confirm absolute accuracy.

Quantix does not feature PPK or RTK for correction of location information. So results will be at best GPS accuracy, i.e., 4.9 m/ 16 ft without GCPs. Given that the industry is now widely adopting PPK options for drone surveying, this will be a no-go for most surveyors. However, if you are in agriculture, you may be fine with less accuracy.

Post-processing

With the WingtraOne, you have the choice of any image-processing software like Pix4D, 3DR Site Scan, 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.

Quantix features a data uploader, a mobile survey tool app, an intuitive interface and dashboard, farm management software, charts and field reports. Images are uploaded with their geo-tags, which is a nice feature. We like that it comes with its own software, but we struggled to make it work. It is available via subscription based on the payment option you choose for the drone. We don’t know how reliable their NDVI algorithms are compared to other solutions like Pix4D.

To our surprise, Quantix staff contacted us to check if we faced any post-processing problems when they saw that we did not fully post-process our map. It’s great that they do this, but it raises some questions about privacy of the map data.

Test images and image quality

Test Setup

As a test image we used a custom reference poster you can download here. The Siemens Stars allow us to calculate real resolution, which we then compared to the GSD according to specs.

wingtra test setup poster
The reference poster measures 2 m (6.6 ft)  x 3 m (9.8 ft). To assess image quality, we show GCPs and two Siemens Stars. For scale, we printed a black and white ruler, a footlong sandwich, a banana, a Swiss 5 Franc coin and a Leica GST20s tripod.

We flew both drones to take three comparison test images based on:

  • Lowest possible GSD
  • Same altitude
  • Same GSD

Best possible GSD

When we tested for lowest GSD, we could clearly see that the limits in the flight-height settings of Quantix are a disadvantage compared to the flexibility of WingtraOne’s. Quantix has one flight height—110 m (361 feet)—allowed it to achieve a minimum GSD of 2.55 cm (1 in)/px. The WingtraOne can fly at a range of heights and, on average for its payloads, twice lower than Quantix, thus achieving a 3x better GSD with 3.8x better real resolution. (See detailed results below.)

wingtra rx1r ii best lowest gsd image
wingtra best gsd image

WingtraOne + Sony RX1R II


GSD: 0.8 cm (0.3 in)/px
Altitude: 65 m (213 ft)
Real resolution: 0.95 cm (0.4 in)
Coverage: 110 ha (272 ac)

wingtra qx1 best gsd image
wingtra qx1 best possible gsd

WingtraOne + Sony QX1


GSD: 1.4 cm (0.6 in)/px
Altitude: 66 m (217 ft)
Real resolution: 1.74 cm (0.7 in)
Coverage: 150 ha (371 ac)

quantix best gsd image
quantix best possible gsd

Quantix


GSD: 2.55 cm (1 in)/px
Altitude: 110 m (361 ft)
Real resolution: 3.63 cm (1.4 in)
Coverage: 160 ha (395 ac)

Test images at the lowest possible GSD of each drone. This is where the 42MP full-frame sensor of the WingtraOne pays off, with more than three times lower GSD and striking resolution lines for the RX1R II.

Download original images

Same altitude

While flying the drones in the same 110 m (361 ft) altitude, the most noticeable difference appears between the GSDs and real resolutions of the images produced. Quantix drone achieved 2.55 cm (1 in)/px GSD, with 3.63 cm (1.4 in) real resolution, while WingtraOne’s payloads achieved the following according to its payloads: QX1 20 MP 20 mm: 2.3 cm (0.9 in)/px GSD, with 3 cm (1.2 in) real resolution, and RX1R II 42 MP: 1.4 cm (0.55 in)/px GSD, with a 1.5 cm (0.5 in) real resolution.

Even with almost twice the image quality, the WingtraOne RX1R II payload covers more ground than Quantix, 190 ha (470 acres) and 160 ha (400 acres), respectively. It’s clear that while flying at the same altitude, WingtraOne RX1R II offers the best GSD for big projects.

WingtraOne + Sony RX1R II


GSD: 1.4 cm (0.6 in)/px
Real resolution: 1.5 cm (0.6 in)/px
Coverage: 190 ha (470 ac)

WingtraOne + Sony QX1


GSD: 2.3 cm (0.9 in)/px
Real resolution: 3 cm (1.2 in)/px
Coverage: 240 ha (593 ac)

Quantix

GSD: 2.55 cm (1 in)/px
Real resolution: 3.63 cm (1.4 in)/px
Coverage: 160 ha (395 ac)

Test images at the same altitude. Obvious camera quality difference at the same distance from the target—real resolution is less for both Wingtra payloads, almost ⅓ for the RX1R II. Note that the RX1R II achieves almost half the GSD while still covering more area.

Download original images

Same GSD

To compare the data outcome with the same image GSD of 2.3 cm (0.9 in)/px, we flew the Quantix at 110 m (361 ft), WingtraOne QX1 20 MP 20 mm at 110 m (361 ft), and WingtraOne RX1R II 42 MP at 179 m (597 ft) altitude.

As you can see, even with same GSD, the images vary based on the amount of noise, as is evident in a real resolution differences that demonstrate better quality in both WingtraOne payloads. While on the RX1R II image, you can still clearly see a coin and both banana and a foot long sandwich, on the Quantix image, you can hardly tell any object at all.

However, the biggest difference in this case is that, while flying the WingtraOne with the RX1R II 42 MP camera, the coverage is much broader—310 ha (766 ac) compared to 160 ha (400 ac). Practically, this means if you fly WingtraOne with the same GSD as Quantix, you are able to finish projects 2x faster!

WingtraOne + Sony RX1R II


Altitude: 179 m (587 ft)
Real resolution: 3 cm (1.2 in)/px
Coverage: 310 ha (766 ac)

WingtraOne + Sony QX1


Altitude: 110 m (361 ft)
Real resolution: 3 cm (1.2 in)/px
Coverage: 240 ha (593 ac)

Quantix


Altitude: 110 m (361 ft)
Real resolution: 3.63 cm (1.4 in)/px
Coverage: 160 ha (395 ac)

Test images for the same GSD. Real resolution helps us get a sense of camera quality with this particular comparison. For the same GSD, we can see that this value is better for both WingtraOne payloads. Moreover, the coverage with the QX1 is 1.5 times as much, while it almost doubles with the RX1RII.

Download original images

Specs

QuantixWingtra
HardwareHardware
Wingspan: 1 m (3.3 ft)Wingspan: 1.25 m (4.1 ft)
Weight: 2.26 kg (5 lb)Weight: 3.7 kg (8.1 lb) empty + max payload weight of 800 g (1.8 lb)
Camera: Built-in dual 18MP cameras for RGB and multispectral image capture, with a self-calibrating solar sensorCameras: RGB: Sony RX1RII 42 MP full-frame; Sony QX1 20 MP, 20 mm Voigtländer lens; Sony QX1 20 MP, 15 mm APS-C sensor Multispectral: Micasense RedEdge M / 5.5 mm lens, 5 individual custom sensors, multispectral
SoftwareSoftware
Flight planning and navigation: Aerovironment Decision Support System by subscription via Android tablet with fixed flight plan settings and integrated telemetryFlight planning and navigation: WingtraPilot, intuitive interface with flexible flight plan options, telemetry module, and software with free updates
Image processing: Fixed, AeroVironment’s Decision Support System (AV DSS™) via prescription rates.Image processing: Agnostic—choose your preference
In-flightIn-flight
Cruise speed: 16.6 m/s (37 mph)Cruise speed: 16 m/s (35.8 mph)
Wind resistance: advertises quality image capture in winds up to 32 km/h (8.9 m/s, 20 mph)Wind resistance: Up to 45 km/h (12 m/s, 28 mph) in cruise, up to 30 km/h (8 m/s, 18 mph) for landing
Max flight time: 45 minsMax flight time: 55 mins
Automation: Fully, one-touch launch, no option for manual modeAutomation: Fully with option for manual takeover
ResultsResults
PPK/RTK option: NoPPK/RTK option: PPK
Absolute accuracy: N/AAbsolute accuracy: down to 1 cm (0.4 in)
Minimum GSD: 2.55 cm (1 in)Minimum GSD: .7 cm (.3 in)
Max coverage at preset 110 m (361 ft): 160 ha (395 ac)Max coverage at 110 m (361 ft): 240 ha (593 ac)

Why WingtraOne?

If you require high accuracy—down to 1 cm (0.4 in) with the Sony RX1R II—and want to move beyond agriculture applications, you will want to adjust your budget and invest in this drone. Top-quality, swappable payloads—including the Sony RX1R II full-frame 42 MP option and the latest MicaSense RedEdge-MX for multispectral—flexible flight planning and altitudes, and high coverage for resolution means you can diversify what WingtraOne can do based on your needs. You can take on crop health monitoring, mine surveillance, cadastral mapping, urban planning, wildlife surveys and a wider range of projects. While it does start out at a higher price point, WingtraOne sets a survey industry standard for image quality and absolute accuracy from a professional drone. Finally, it offers the durability and flexibility to handle tasks that would otherwise require several UAVs.

Why Quantix?

Quantix is an option if you are looking for a well-industrialized VTOL fixed-wing drone with good flight controls and a lower price point. It might be a solution for agriculture due to its fixed payload with multispectral and RGB. As well, once out of the box, the Quantix is straightforward for one person to fly. However, if you want to use it in other industrial settings, you will find it too unpredictable and lacking in features. The Quantix does not offer PPK for location accuracy and limits the GSD to 2.55 (1 in)/px in all cases. And you can’t choose your flight transition direction or get a clear sense of where exactly you will fly once you set the flight plan. In environments featuring buildings, trees or mountains, this is a big concern.


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Do you suggest a drone against which we should benchmark? Send us your suggestion.


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Let us know if you’d like to take a test image with your drone and share it, and we might be able to send you a test poster free of charge.

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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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