DJI has recently announced the new Phantom 4 RTK and it has a lot of people wondering what exactly does it do, and who is it designed for. We will answer these questions and more as we dig into what the Phantom 4 RTK is all about.
DJI has designed with Phantom 4 RTK with the help of experts in the drone mapping and surveying industry to build a system to meet the needs of this growing market. The solution was the Phantom 4 RTK, a compact drone with a high-resolution camera and the ability to capture centimeter-accurate RTK data.
RTK (Real0Time Kinematic) is an advanced satellite positioning system that uses stationary ground stations as secondary references to provide highly precise centimeter-level accurate data.
By using fixed ground stations and combining and cross-referencing the data, the Phantom 4 RTK’s camera can record precision data into the EXIF metadata of each image providing much more accurate data for photographic missions and 3D mapping.
By utilizing the RTK module, you can achieve highly accurate positioning data without the use of Ground Control Points while the Phantom 4 RTK stores the satellite observation data for PPK (Post-Process Kinematic) post-processing.
A new RTK module is integrated directly into the Phantom 4 RTK while underneath the module is a new redundant GNSS module to maintain flight stability in signal-poor regions such as dense cities.
Combining both the GNSS and RTK modules, the Phantom 4 RTK improves flight safety while making sure you are getting the most precise data possible.
The Phantom 4 RTK uses the same 1-inch CMOS sensor as the Phantom 4 Pro with 20m effective pixels, 2.7 vm GSD (Ground Sample Distance) at 100 meters flight altitude.
Radial and tangential lens distortions are measured and backed into the camera firmware for post-post-processing image calibration. The camera is synchronized with the RTK module, delivering millisecond-level imaging deviation. The Phantom 4 RTK’s camera can also capture and store phase compensation data for pros-processing position calibration while the mechanical shutter eliminates rolling shutter distortions.
TimeSync is a new system that aligns the flight controller, camera, and RTK modules on a continuous basis. TimeSync also ensures that each photo uses the most accurate metadata and fixes the positioning data to the center of the SMOS sensor to optimize the result photogrammetric methods and all the image to achieve centimeter-level positioning data.
The Phantom 4 RTK remote controller is specifically designed for the Phantom 4 RTK platform, with a built-in 5.5” 1000 nit high-brightness display. The controller utilizes an interchangeable battery, which is the same battery used in the Cendence, CrystalSky displays, and D-RTK 2 Mobile Station and has an internal battery to ensure the system will continue to operate while hot-swapping the battery.
The Phantom 4 RTK screen has an all-new GS RTK app for mission planning and aircraft control and the controller features OcuSync 2.0 transmission system for a transmission range of up to 4.3 miles (unobstructed, free of interference).
The Phantom 4 RTK controller supports 4G, WiFi, as well as the OcuSync 2.0 system.
The new D-RTK 2 Mobile Station supports GPS, GLONASS, DeiDou, and Galileo navigation systems with OcuSync 2.0 and 4G connectivity.
Multiple Phantom 4 RTK aircraft can connect to a single D-RTK 2 Mobile Station at the same time.
Along with being a base station for the Phantom 4 RTK, the D-RTK 2 station can also be used as a Rover, making it truly a multifunctional tool for surveyors.
While the Phantom 4 Pro is an excellent machine for mapping and photogrammetry, where it lacks is in high precision data and slight lens distortion. Since the Phantom 4 RTK is really a mission-specific aircraft that is built to eliminate the shortcomings of the Phantom 4 Pro, the Phantom 4 RTK is for anyone that needs high precision position data in their images.
The main types of customers for the Phantom 4 RTK are surveying/mapping companies, construction companies, oil & gas companies, mining companies, utility companies, and inspection services companies. Anytime that high-precision mapping is needed, the Phantom 4 RTK is going to be an excellent choice of aircraft.