Phantom 4 Multispectral (RTK)

Hainich national park – in March 2020, Burgberg – Berka vdH. RGB 5-3-2 (NIR/R/Gr). Spatial resolution from 100m altitude is at 10 cm.

DJI did it again – the leading manufacturer of compact “of the shelve” drone solutions modified the Phantom 4 RTK and added a fully integrated multispectral camera. Those that are working with these (micro)multispectral camera systems on small UAV platforms couldnt really believe this news. DJI modified the Phantom 4 RTK (that turned out to be a game changer in some fields – notably surveying and precision change analysis in forest applications and vegetation change mapping) and now includes a 5 channel multispectral camera with additional RGB sensor.

Here some recent figures from first test flights with the P4M. The system uses an iPad to do the App controlled flight management. The mobile telecom card also sits in the iPad. Imo not an optimal solution. My first tests clearly revealed less good connection quality to the SAPOS server compared with the P4R solution (card installed in the Remote Control). In fact the best solution would be to have the card installed in the UAV since the SAPOS signal would be much easier to receive in 100 m altitude – but the flight times could be compromised – since the card reader and access needs to be installed than directly on the UAV hardware.

However flying the P4M is like flying the P4R – works kind of flawless. So far the only problems I encountered: missing or lost SAPOS connections, lost custom stick mode as an option in the firmware (please DJI: give it back!) and GSPro cannot connect to a mission that had to be paused due to low batteries.

The battery of the RC cannot be exchanged – the solution of the P4R is much better. Here you can easily change the power-supply in the field. This isnt possible anymore with the P4M.

P4Multispectral with 5 multispectral channels (NIR/rededge/red/green/blue) and one RGB camera system installed (6 optical systems).
The P4M uses the old (P4Pro) type of controller with an iPad and GSpro on the Ipad. Unfortunately you cannot hot-swap the batteries of the RC. Better have the iPad and the RC fully recharged for a full day of flying – this can be the botlleneck for long days in the field.

Sören Hese

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