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DJI Seals Largest Ever Commercial Drone Deal: Continues Plans for World Domination

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The undisputed King of the Drone market, China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd (DJI), have reportedly sealed a deal with Japanese construction company Komatsu for the single largest sale of commercial drones in history.

The Shenzen-based UAV behemoth will sell Komatsu 1,000 custom Matrice 100 drones equipped with Skycatch technology. Skycatch is software that generates 2D and 3D data products from data captured from UAVs. It is particularly useful for companies in the construction, architecture or similar industries to process and analyze data captured from sites.

The Matrice 100

The Matrice 100 – the commercial drone that just made DJI a bucket-load of cash

This drone is primarily designed for commercial applications and as such has some extra features that most consumer drones do not. The Matrice has ports that allow users the ability to attach any kind of sensor they want to the craft. They also come with software developer kits enabling developers the ability to create custom flight controls and bespoke mobile application to suit any job.

How much is this deal worth?

The exact figures from the deal have not been publicly revealed but with each of the Matrice 100’s costing around $3200 and the guidance GPS module costing an additional $1000 – that would already put the deal at around $4.2 million. Add to this the cost of Skycatch’s high-precision software package, which will cost Komatsu around $21,000 a year.

Past DJI controversies

Last year in November, the New York Times reported on a memo produced by the Los Angeles Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau (ICE). The memo accused DJI of using their commercial drones to spy on critical US infrastructure and send that data back to China.

“”Critical infrastructure and law enforcement entities using DJI systems are collecting sensitive intelligence that the Chinese government could use to conduct physical or cyber-attacks against the United States and its population,” – the memo concluded.

DJI strongly denied the accusation stating that users could control what data was sent from their drones and that the NYT’s reporting was based on false and misleading claims.

Given the Chinese Communist Party’s strong links with large Chinese tech firms, it is not a completely unsurprising allegation. In China’s authoritarian regime, it is virtually impossible for a big company to get ahead in the international arena without the blessing and involvement of the party.

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