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Yuneec's first commercial drone is ready for filming and rescue

The H520 can carry broadcast and thermal imaging cameras.
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Yuneec may be DJI's biggest consumer drone rival, but you probably have only heard of its consumer and selfie drones. Now, it's taking a step into the big leagues with a new model, the H520. The big, six rotor UAV with bright orange visibility is meant for commercial jobs, including video production, public safety, and inspection. It's equipped with a retractable landing gear, mission planning software and a variety of cameras, including a thermal imaging model and one with a two-inch sensor.

The landing gear allows a 360-degree, unobstructed view, and the stabilizing gimbal can tilt 20 degrees upward for inspections. There are three of hot-swappable camera options, including the E90, with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel Sony Exmor sensor, not unlike what Sony uses on its RX100 models (there's no mention of 4K support). The other models are a 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor wide angle camera (for inspection of cell towers, wind turbines, oil & gas platforms and the like), and a dual thermal imaging camera that can shoot regular and thermal video at the same time.

The H520 package includes a "professional grade" Android controller, with a 7-inch display and 720P real-time video download link, and can support external monitors via HDMI. The DataPilot software, meanwhile, lets you do survey and waypoint-based flight. An SDK is included, and the UAV can also be "operated as a closed architecture," to keep images and data secure, Yuneec says.

To be sure, the H520 drone is a niche product, but it's a good sign that Yuneec is ready to up its game against DJI by entering its commercial turf. It's now available for $1,999 to $4,699, depending on the camera and other options, and a service contract is extra.

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