Equipped with high-end features normally found in professional equipment, the Yuneec Typhoon H is a 6-rotor camera drone dedicated to high quality aerial photo- and videography. With retractable landing gear, continuous 360 degrees panning gimbal, 4K 12-Megapixel camera, sonar based collision avoidance, and lots more, the standard version is priced at a very enthusiast-friendly US $1,299. The Pro version, which includes an Intel RealSense collision avoidance system and other extras, will set you back US $1,899.
The list of goodies is fairly extensive as we will soon discover, point being that Chinese company Yuneec promises to deliver a lot of drone for your buck. With the Typhoon H they aim to compete directly with other well-established aerial imaging platforms such as the DJI Phantom 4. Deliveries began at the end of July, and at the moment the drone can be ordered from major retailers.
Features at a glance
CGO3+ gimbal camera. The 3-axis gimbal camera unit with 360 degree panning abilities lets users capture smooth vibration-free 4K UHD footage or 12-megapixel photos, which can be captured either as RAW(DNG) or JPEG. The 14mm wide-angle lens has minimal fish-eye distortion, thus offering very aesthetically pleasing results. With such a capable imaging unit an automatically retractable landing gear which stays out of view was a logical addition.
Foldable rotor arms. These make the aircraft very portable and easy to manipulate. These added joints can be potential weak spots for the airframe when shocks or mild crashes are experienced, we’ll how these prove themselves over time.
ST16 ground station. This dedicated ground station runs on Android and presents the user all the controls required to pilot or program the UAV. The controller is equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen for displaying telemetry data and 720p video in real time. Views can be customized and several advanced camera controls are exposed, such as white balance, exposure, or resolution. This unique addition, not found at competitors, means that an additional smartphone or tablet is no longer necessary.
Another nice touch is that users can connect a secondary ST16 controller for independently controlling the Typhoon H hexacopter and the CGO3+ camera, yielding even more predictable results.
Wizard remote. This smart compact device can be used either as a standalone flight controller, or as a homing device when the drone follows you autonomously.
Autonomous flight modes. Relying on GPS and its sensors the drone can perform on its own in several ways:
- Orbit me – as the name implies, the drone flies in a circular around the user;
- Point of interest – Typhoon H orbits a predefined POI;
- Journey – users can capture “selfies” from as far as 46 meters or 150 feet;
- Curve cable cam – users can program a set of coordinate points and the drone will fly between these on its own;
- Follow me – the aircraft can follow the user at speeds up to 70km/h or 43.5mph;
- Dynamic return to home – Typhoon H will of course return and land automatically within 8 meters (26ft) of the takeoff site.
Redundancy. This safety feature enables the Typhoon H to automatically detect a rotor malfunction and safely fly to its takeoff site with only 5 working rotors.
Collision avoidance. This is another highlight of the Typhoon H hexacopter. Front sonar sensors map the environment for potential obstacles in the drone’s flight trajectory. Data is then processed by means of motion planning algorithms, selecting the optimum path to follow. This makes the aircraft a lot safer and easier to operate.
Intel RealSense technology
Initially designed as a perceptual input platform for computers or mobile devices (i.e. gesture or face recognition, augmented reality, object scanning), this is the first time the technology finds its way into an UAV, thanks to continuous development and updates.
The upscale Typhoon H Pro model is equipped with an Intel RealSense R200 camera coupled to an Intel Atom processing module, thus offering intelligent obstacle detection and collision avoidance capabilities.
The RealSense R200 camera is actually a module combining two stereoscopic IR cameras, a standard RGB camera and an IR Laser projector.
The camera’s abilities are quite impressive for such a small and cost-effective package, and since ambient lighting will not be a problem in most cases it would be interesting to see how fast the system reacts in the real world.
Indoor positioning system (IPS). This is another feature available with the Pro model and implemented by means of an optical flow sensor. A camera pointed downwards provides data for the drone to determine is relative position and speed inside buildings – where GPS reception is not reliable – greatly improving control in such areas.
Typhoon H aircraft:
- Airframe: 6 rotors, foldable arms, retractable landing gear;
- Dimensions: 520x457x310mm (20.5x18x12.2in);
- Take-off weight: 1950g (68.8oz);
- Battery: 79.9Wh LiPo (4S 14.8V, 5400mAh);
- Flight characteristics:
- Flying height: 122m (400ft) AGL – restricted by FAA;
- Ground speed: 70km/h (43.5mph);
- Climb and descent speed: 5m/s, 3m/s;
- Roll angle and rotation rate: 35deg, 85deg/s.
GCO3+ gimbal camera:
- Gimbal: 3-axis free rotating 360 degree;
- Imaging sensor: 12.4 Megapixels;
- Lens: 14mm, F/2.8, 98 degree FOV;
- Shutter speed: 1/30 to 1/8000s;
- Capture modes: 4K/30fps, 1080p/60fps, 12Mp RAW/JPEG.
ST16 ground station:
- Control and video transmission range: 1.6km (1 mile);
- Radio communication: 5.2-5.8GHz WiFi for control and video;
- Real-time video: 720p;
- Channels: 16;
- Battery: 31.3Wh Li-ion (3.6V 8700mAh);
- Other: 7-inch touchscreen, audio and tactile feedback
I hope you have found this helpful. Head to the Typhoon H page for more info and detailed specs.
Images credit: Yuneec