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Pro pilots can now get a 6-mile reach from the Inspire 2 and Matrice 200 drones

DJI users no longer need to use a separate touchscreen device to program their photo settings. On Sunday, April 23, DJI announced the Cendence remote control, a custom-configurable control that allows users to program flight controls as well as camera settings such as ISO and shutter speed. Along with the new controller, the company also announced several other pro-level accessories, including a new high-gain antenna with a range of over six miles, a new series of monitors, and an extended customer service plan ahead of the NAB Show being held from April 24 to April 27 in Las Vegas.

The Cendence is the company’s first multi-platform configurable controller, designed for the Inspire 2 but compatible with DJI’s other pro-level Matrice 2 drones as well. The configurable settings gives drone pilots access to joysticks and control dials to control the drone as well as camera settings, including focus, ISO, shutter speed, and sharpness. The dual dials can also control the pitch and yaw for the drone’s gimbal simultaneously.

With built-in SDI and HDMI ports, the remote controller is also compatible with live-streaming, is adaptable to DJI’s Lightbridge, and can transmit video through Wi-Fi.

The controller uses a modular design that allows the system to be paired with the new Tracktenna and CrystalSky monitors, though the controller can also be mounted on a smartphone or tablet. A secondary screen built into the controller displays telemetry data such as speed and altitude.

The new monitors are four times brighter than the typical smartphone, DJI says, offering pilots more visibility in daylight. The CyrstalSky screens, available in 5.5-inch and 7.85-inch models, are designed to run DJI’s apps and can also use dual MicroSD card slots to store 4K video.

To enhance the communication between the controller and the drone, DJI’s new Tracktenna uses a gimbal to keep the antenna continually pointed toward the drone, allowing for maximum reach within the boosted antenna’s 6.2-mile range. The pro-grade antenna’s maximum 10-Mbps transmission rate is supported within 1.24 miles of the aircraft. The enhanced antenna offers better responsiveness for applications such as search and rescue missions and inspections, DJI says.

Along with the new accessories, DJI is launching an extended customer care plan that gives drone pilots up to $15,000 in damage repairs a year, along with use of a replacement drone until the repair is completed. The membership also gives pilots a battery rental service and makes them among the first to receive the company’s latest products and several additional member perks. However, that insurance against drone crashes comes at a cost that lifts the service above the consumer altitude, as it involves a $4,699 annual fee.

The Cendence controller is expected to start shipping later this year for a $999 list price, while the CrystalSky monitors sell between $469 and $999 depending on screen size and resolution. The price and availability for the Tracktenna have not yet been announced.

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
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