Is the DJI Phantom RTK about to be announced?

DJI Phantom 4 RTK

Are the rumours true? Let’s see what we already know…

On Friday 6th April this month, DJI received FCC approval in the United States for a ‘C1 – Digital Transmission System’ aka remote controller. Then a few days later, on Tuesday 10th April, DJI received FCC approval for their ‘Phantom 4 RTK – Digital Device’. Skip back over the past 2 or 3 months and you’ll have seen global sales across multiple DJI products including the Mavic Pro Series, Phantom 4 Advanced and Spark aircraft, leaving many of us to speculate at the reason why and what’s coming next from DJI.

It’s not entirely news to us that the Phantom 4 RTK is being developed, after DJI confirmed to DroneDJ back in December 2017 they were developing the prototype: “DJI unveiled the Phantom 4 RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) at an event in China, though it is still a prototype and we do not yet have a timetable for when it will be available for purchase. It uses the Phantom 4 Pro 20-megapixel camera and is augmented by a high-precision GNSS (satellite positioning) module to provide much more accurate RTK-level data. This is designed for surveying and mapping applications that need centimetre-level accuracy in flight as well as post-processing. As this product comes closer to market, expect us to have more to say about its capabilities and availability.”

In case you were wondering, Real Time Kinematic (RTK) is a technique used to increase the accuracy of GPS signals, which enables the GPS engine to fix the position of the antenna to within 1-2cm. RTK precision-mapping is effective across various applications such as surveying and inspection for construction, infrastructure, mining, energy and agriculture. Pairing RTK-level data with drone technology allows surveyors to generate accurate data maps in half the time and at half the cost than previously. With the release of the Phantom 4 RTK imminent, the opportunity to dramatically increase commercial efficiency will be widely available to anyone that wants it. We anticipate the Phantom RTK will further strengthen DJI’s place in the league of drone technology development for commercial enterprise.

But what do we actually know about the Phantom 4 RTK? A good question – and the honest answer is that the information is limited. From the details we do have, it seems the new aircraft will feature various design and technological modifications to the Phantom 4 Pro (such as a 20MP camera) but won’t be too far off the original. There’s currently no pricing available, although DJI’s 45-day short-term secrecy cycle suggests all may be revealed before the end of May…

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