Autel Robotics Dragonfish VTOL was first introduced at CES 2017 as a prototype and has been slowly developed over the past three years. Dragonfish is now available on the Autel website with a maximum flight time of 120 minutes and a video streaming range of up to 30 km.
Autel Robotics advertises Dragonfish with the slogan “Breaking tradition, commanding the future.” The Dragonfish is claimed to have a maximum flight time of 120 minutes, a video transmission range of 30 km, and the ability to take to the air in less than 4 minutes. The drone boasts three interchangeable cameras, including a 4K camera with 20x optical zoom, a hybrid 4K camera with thermal imager, and a multi-spectral RGB camera with infrared detection up to 2000 meters.
Dragonfish has a maximum flight speed of 108 km/h and is capable of flying in wind speeds up to 14 m/s. The maximum takeoff weight of the drone is 7.8 kg, of which 1.5 kg is reserved for payload. And also, thanks to two duplicating RTK modules, Dragonfish provides an accuracy of up to one centimeter with a measurement error of one millionth, which can significantly improve the quality of the metadata of the resulting images for photogrammetry, as well as improve the accuracy and safety of the flight as a whole.
Max. flight time (with standard payload):
Max. FPV Removal Distance:
Max. flight speed:
Degree of protection:
Wind resistance level:
Slave. temperature range:
-20 ~ 55°C
Highest transition height:
Max. ceiling above sea level:
1 cm + 1 ppm
Assembled and ready to fly:
Intelligence and autonomy
The big advantage of this drone is its intelligence and autonomous capabilities. Dragonfish can complete a mission and automatically return home, track vehicles, circle over a selected object, fly at a constant altitude above the ground, and complete multi-point missions. All this is possible thanks to advanced algorithms that control the drone and make it easier for the user to control it.
Takeoff and landing with one button
Adaptive ground tracking
Advanced Mission Planning
point of interest
Intelligent tracking of moving targets
Security and redundancy
Looking at the image below, you can see that Autel puts a lot of emphasis on security and redundant systems to make Dragonfish as secure as possible. Dragonfish has two batteries, IMUs, barometers, compasses, and GPS RTK modules in case one of them fails, thus allowing a backup device to come back online immediately after the first fails. If the aircraft detects that it is about to stall or is unable to continue flying in the current mode, it will switch to motor mode, in which the propellers will take a vertical position, simulating a quadcopter.
The condition of the fuselage surfaces and its elements is monitored via a CAN bus with double redundancy in case one connection fails. The drone also uses AI to continuously monitor the health of its systems throughout the flight in order to detect malfunctions before they occur.
Interchangeable payload system
Dragonfish currently has three payload proposals ready:
- Camera with two 4K sensors, where one of which acts as a 4K camera with 20x optical zoom, and the other as a 48-megapixel wide-angle camera.
- A camera with three sensors, where one of which acts as a 4K camera with 20x optical zoom, the second as a 48-megapixel wide-angle camera, and the third matrix as a thermal imaging camera.
- 48-megapixel wide-angle multispectral RGB camera with five 2‑megapixel multispectral sensors capable of infrared detection of objects up to 2000 meters away.
It also supports third-party payloads.
To control the Dragonfish, Autel Robotics has developed a ground station with a 9.7‑inch 1000 nit display, for which Autel Voyager software has also been developed, capable of advanced mission planning, intelligent tracking, flight history tracking and other autonomous functions. The station provides the stated drone removal distance in FPV mode — 30 kilometers.
The drone from Autel Robotics is focused on applications in such areas of human activity as public safety, fire fighting, energy, traffic control, agriculture and monitoring.