The first set of DJI Matrice 3D drone rumors has been circulating so long it's hard to remember where it all started. In September known DJI leaker NGDrone shared images of a swept-back aerodynamic-looking new drone sitting in a new automated landing dock, so we expected that, too.
There were packaging images with the name 'Matrice 3D,' which seemed to establish the product name, while a look at the dock (even with some areas blurred out) made clear we were looking at a new design. There were even flying clips to be found on Twitter/X. (The dock is a platform onto which DJI drones can automatically take off from, conduct automated missions, and land back on.)
One reliable DJI leaker, Igor Bogdanov (@Quadro_News) posted images which claimed to be the Matrice 3D fresh from field testing at the end of last month and, it seems he was right? Perhaps he was told to post it!
At this point, these rumor sources have been so reliable it seemed to negate the point of the soft launch this week at which DJI eventually acknowledged the Matrice 3D and 3DT (the thermal camera drone variant).
According to DJI, the new drones have a 50-minute flight time, 10-kilometer flight capability (presumably the range from the base station), six-directional object avoidance, 4/3 CMOS 20MP wide and 1/2-inch 12MP telephoto cameras for 1:500 surveying & inspection missions. The thermal adds a thermal camera.
The Dock 2's main improvement over its predecessor is in portability, slashed to 75lbs (34kg) and holding a five-hour battery, it could easily fit in the back of a car.
Getting hold of the Dock 2 (or "Airport set") for your enterprise, however, might be more of an art. It has been seen some stores in China (see tweet below) so far. While pricing for the Dock is just shy of $10,000, you shouldn't bank on a hurry to expand given limited availability and hostility in some areas (like the US government).
DJI DOCK 2 pic.twitter.com/xLcRjGxj5NNovember 8, 2023
Evidence that the original NGDrone probably has the right ideas (or access to them) was provided by the intervening Mini 4 Pro launch – the drone was also leaked thoroughly by the same source, including box images and the device itself.
For now, it seems, rumors might also be the best way to see when the product comes to English-language territories – we'll keep an eye out for you!
In the absence of availability, we do keep a guide to the best thermal drones.