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Is Skynet finally here? DJI Dock shows what's possible with autonomous drones

DJI M30
(Image credit: DJI)

At the recent DJI Enterprise event (opens in new tab) the manufacturer launched the brand new  DJI M30 and M30T (opens in new tab) drones, and alongside them the DJI Dock – an autonomous docking station for the new devices, which offers human-free functions so startling that you might think Skynet is finally here.

Essentially the DJI Dock is an autonomous takeoff, landing and charging station that allows for fully automatic, programmed flights with the DJI M30 Series (Dock Version). It widens the horizon for automated missions that can be monitored and supervised remotely. After setup, the fully charged M30 drone can take off to the skies from the DJI Dock through FlightHub 2-programmed automatic missions anywhere within a 7km radius. 

Let's break this down: when you really think about it, this is an amazing leap forward in technology and drone surveillance all rolled into one. So you have a drone that's between ten and fifteen grand, depending on which model you order, and it's able to do amazing things like geotag locations of a specific interest and then communicate that information to boots on the ground.

The DJI M30 series is able to do this thanks to its laser rangefinder (opens in new tab), and flight and geomapping capabilities through the FlightHub 2 management software. To me that sounds like pure witchcraft, but it shows just how intelligent drones have become. 

The whole point of the DJI Dock is to have these amazing drones situated at various locations around the world, and automatically launch to survey an area. Be it an oil field or a vast mountain range, it will collect data and video feeds and then share them to the FlightHub 2 which can be remotely operated. Which sounds amazing, but again – is this this Skynet as we know it?

There are very passionate options about autonomous cars, let alone autonomous drones in our skies. You can just imagine being on a hike and a drone comes out of nowhere and starts patrolling the area – creepy, right? But we mustn't forget that these are first responder drones and are there to do good. If you break your leg on said hike, you would want to be found as soon as possible; these drones could be your only chance of finding you and alerting your incident and position.

Think of these new autonomous drone as gatekeepers to a safer world and environment. With them we can keep constant eyes in the skies to overwatch areas for conservation purposes, environmental impact, equipment inspection in extreme and highly remote areas – it all sounds great, and I am sure many within the enterprise sector think the same.

What about everyday people, though? Is this just another step closer to “big brother” being able to track your every move or spoil your leisure time? Only you can be the judge, and you will either be extremely impressed with this new technology and service from DJI or be thinking the complete opposite. Either way, autonomous drones are here – and now that DJI has set its sights on it, it's only a matter of time until we see them be a more regular sighting in everyday lives.

Read more:

Best drones for beginners (opens in new tab)
Best drones for kids (opens in new tab)
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Best underwater drones (opens in new tab)
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Best drones for fishing (opens in new tab)

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Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.


He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 


He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.