Drones

Yuneec targets industrial and commercial markets with H520 camera drone

The Yuneec H520, with its new high-quality E90 camera, has industrial and commercial users in its sights
The Yuneec H520, with its new high-quality E90 camera, has industrial and commercial users in its sights
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Yuneec H520: upgraded hexacopter has industrial users in its sights
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Yuneec H520: upgraded hexacopter has industrial users in its sights
Yuneec H520: sample image
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Yuneec H520: sample image
Yuneec H520: asset inspection
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Yuneec H520: asset inspection
Yuneec H520: very similar to the consumer grade Typhoon H airframe
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Yuneec H520: very similar to the consumer grade Typhoon H airframe
Yuneec H520: donut delivery trial
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Yuneec H520: donut delivery trial
Yuneec H520: three new upgraded camera options
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Yuneec H520: three new upgraded camera options
Yuneec CGO ET thermal imaging/low light camera
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Yuneec CGO ET thermal imaging/low light camera
Yuneec CGO ET thermal imaging/low light camera
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Yuneec CGO ET thermal imaging/low light camera
Yuneec E50: a medium focal length, small sensor camera
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Yuneec E50: a medium focal length, small sensor camera
Yuneec E50: a medium focal length, small sensor camera
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Yuneec E50: a medium focal length, small sensor camera
Yuneec H520 with E90 high-quality wide angle camera attached
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Yuneec H520 with E90 high-quality wide angle camera attached
Yuneec H520 with E90 high-quality wide angle camera attached
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Yuneec H520 with E90 high-quality wide angle camera attached
Yuneec E90: high quality wide angle camera with Sony Exmor 1-inch sensor
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Yuneec E90: high quality wide angle camera with Sony Exmor 1-inch sensor
Yuneec H520: in-built forward facing obstacle avoidance
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Yuneec H520: in-built forward facing obstacle avoidance
The Yuneec H520, with its new high-quality E90 camera, has industrial and commercial users in its sights
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The Yuneec H520, with its new high-quality E90 camera, has industrial and commercial users in its sights
Yuneec H520 DataPilot screen: waypoint programming
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Yuneec H520 DataPilot screen: waypoint programming
Yuneec H520 DataPilot screen: area survey mode
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Yuneec H520 DataPilot screen: area survey mode
Yuneec H520 DataPilot screen: maps can be downloaded so you can program flight paths even without a data connection
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Yuneec H520 DataPilot screen: maps can be downloaded so you can program flight paths even without a data connection
Yuneec H520 DataPilot screen: surveying an oddly shaped area
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Yuneec H520 DataPilot screen: surveying an oddly shaped area
Yuneec ST16S controller with built-in 7-inch high brightness screen
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Yuneec ST16S controller with built-in 7-inch high brightness screen
Yuneec E90: high quality wide angle camera with Sony Exmor 1-inch sensor
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Yuneec E90: high quality wide angle camera with Sony Exmor 1-inch sensor

Chinese aircraft manufacturer Yuneec has taken aim at the industrial and commercial drone markets with a new hexacopter based on its consumer-grade Typhoon H aerial platform. The H520 features new mission planning software and a range of upgraded cameras, including one with a 1-inch Sony Exmor sensor.

The H520 airframe itself doesn't appear to differ greatly from the Typhoon H, although it weighs a little less at 1,633 g (57.6 oz) and offers a slightly more efficient battery platform that gives you up to 28 minutes flight time instead of 25. It's the same exterior design, with fold-away carbon propeller arms for easy transport and retractable landing gear to give its camera payload an unimpeded view in 360 degrees. You're unlikely to confuse the two, though, as it's Hazard Orange for high visibility.

Yuneec H520: very similar to the consumer grade Typhoon H airframe
Yuneec H520: very similar to the consumer grade Typhoon H airframe

We're currently testing the Typhoon H, and in advance of the full review, I can tell you its reasonably substantial size and weight certainly has advantages in terms of stability when you're flying in windy conditions. And the six-prop design offers a degree of redundancy; it can limp home on five of its six props if one goes down.

Targeted at high-end industrial and commercial applications, such as construction, asset inspection, search and rescue and video production, the main difference between the Typhoon and the H520 are its upgraded camera payload options and new flight planning and execution software available through a tweaked version of the enormous ST16 control station.

Yuneec E90: high quality wide angle camera with Sony Exmor 1-inch sensor
Yuneec E90: high quality wide angle camera with Sony Exmor 1-inch sensor

In terms of cameras, the H520 will launch with a new E90 wide-angle camera using a 1-inch Sony Exmor sensor and f/2.8 aperture. It should be a significant step up from the Typhoon H in terms of resolution, clarity, distortion and color, and it offers a number of frame rate options up to 120 fps, thanks to an improved H2 image processing chip. The picture looks terrific.

Coming soon will be a new CGO-ET thermal imaging camera, with low light capabilities some 20 times greater than the human eye can manage, as well as the E50 camera, which will be a medium focal length, smaller sensor camera that should be a better option for close inspection of assets.

Yuneec ST16S controller with built-in 7-inch high brightness screen
Yuneec ST16S controller with built-in 7-inch high brightness screen

The giant ST16S controller doesn't appear to vary physically from the Typhoon's ST16, but will include new software capabilities, including automated flight mission planning that the Typhoon can't do as yet. Range on the controller is the same at roughly 1 mile (1.6 km), and vision is transmitted back to the built-in screen at 720p.

In addition, Yuneec has partnered with Pix4D to offer a software development kit that could let developers build their own 3D imaging or volumetric scanning tools.

Pricing will range from US$1,999 to US$4,699, depending on camera options.

More information: Yuneec

2 comments
Daishi
There are so many competent lesser known drone manufacturers out there I have no idea why GoPro didn't aquire one or more as the starting point for their pivot into producing drones to compete with DJI.
Dan Lewis
I like drones for personal and commercial uses...but all, to date, are poop until they wake up and put spherical prop guards on. Some little wicker basket company or a savvy woven plastic concern is going to make a massive killing when they wake up and start marketing spherical (or other 360 degree) prop guards for all sizes of drone. It's simply stupid to go flying these things with high speed spinning blade around people. How many little children have lost blood or fingers to these things? One is too many, and I know of a case where that has happened. How stupid IS humankind? Amazing.