[Review] Yuneec H520 – Can This Be a Worthy Successor to Typhoon H?

With the recent drought of commercially-viable drones, Yuneec finally has their say with a proper machine. If we are to be more precise, I am referring to the all-new H520 which aims to bring a breath of fresh air to an otherwise boring section of the market.

H520 is basically a successor to the Typhoon H which fares extremely well for industrial buyers. However, with rapid advancements in sUAV technology, Typhoon H is slowly (but surely) becoming obsolete and being replaced with H520 which brings a couple of well-placed improvements. With improved hardware and new software features aimed exclusively towards industrial scenarios, one thing is for sure – Yuneec H520 is bound to become an instant hit!

However, most of you must be wondering what led to drones being made exclusively for industrial/commercial purposes as this wasn’t the practice a few years ago. To find out the answer to that question, I’m afraid you’ll first have to understand the capabilities of this birdie. But, instead of jumping straight to Yuneec H520 review, we have several sections that might shed some light onto the topic as well. So, without much further adue let’s kick things off…

Commercial drones are making a difference!

Ever since the FAA started allowing drones to be used for commercial purposes, there is no doubt many industries have begun a comprehensive process of implementing drones in their businesses. With the sheer versatility drones possess, it is not surprising to see them making quite the difference across so many industries. Let’s take a look at how innovative project management can lead to successful business with the help of drones… Yuneec H520 in particular:

*We will be focusing on 4 biggest industries known for a heavy drone use*

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Cinematography has become the pioneer of successful drone implementation in their line of work. Drones seem to be represented everywhere from fully fledged cinematography to event photography, and even music videos. Yuneec H520 makes all those tasks a breeze with an excellent choice of professional-grade cameras, making the operator flexible at any given time.

INSPECTION

Whether it is revolving around solar panels, wind turbines, buildings, bridges or any other type of inspections, there is no doubt Yuneec H520 can make a good job. It greatly reduces the general cost and man-hours required for such tasks. Thanks to HD real-time video transmission and output to several monitors, Yuneec H520 seems to be a great drone for this job as it allows an entire inspection crew to focus on finding potential issues.

Yuneec H520 Commercial Uses

SEARCH AND RESCUE

Firefighters are starting to use search and rescue drones for their own operations. Yuneec H520 seems like a great choice for them as it contains smart flight features as well as a thermal camera that can do wonders in terms of threat exploration, data collection and helping with the decision-making process. Plus, it has quick payload release mechanism which allows operators to switch sensors/cameras/other payloads in a matter of seconds and get H520 right back up in the air to collect more data.

SECURITY

Given the fact this birdie sports the ST16s transmitter, it can fly up to 1500 meters away from it. With that said, H520 can be used for various security task as well. Plus, it is also equipped with GPS and a whole bunch of supporting features that will greatly reduce the time it would take to operate it in a manual manner. Of course, it has a great choice of cameras too. E90 or CGO-ET seem like the perfect option as they’ll provide you with plenty of evidence and data of potential security breaches.

 

Paving the way to fully autonomous systems

Of course, there are fully autonomous systems today, integrated across a wide variety of industries. Mostly, we are talking about manufacturing systems which develop sophisticated items from scrap materials. However, with the rise of drones, we could witness the development of fully autonomous systems that go from scrap materials to customers.

Obviously, I am referring to AIO (all in one) production systems with drone base stations at the very end of manufacturing line; delivering the produced goods from one customer to another. And this system can do all this without any sort of human contact other than the deployment of scrap materials.

However, we still have a long way to go in order to accomplish this. In addition to technology, the second most notable hurdles are laws and regulations which are preventing the use of autonomous drone delivery systems. However, that’s a story for a different occasion. We need to shift the focus back onto today’s topic and that’s the all-new Yuneec H520. Perhaps a couple of introductory words regarding Yuneec would be an appropriate beginning!

 

Yuneec – General Info

Yuneec Logo

Yuneec is a Hong Kong based company founded way back in 1999. The full name is Yuneec International Co. Ltd. and, as you probably know, it is among the world leaders in electronic aviation.

Right off the bat, Yuneec focused on model-making enthusiasts as their primary audience. Nowadays though, they’re aiming at a completely different section of the market. More precisely, Yuneec is sitting on the throne as one of the best brands for commercial drones.

With a stellar lineup of models, this comes as no surprise. Just think about it – Q500, Typhoon H, Tornado H920… all 3 models are absolutely bestial in their own right. Plus, they provide decent versatility allowing them to be used across several industries.

If you’re a fan of Yuneec then I got some great news for you – their success is going to get even bigger now. With the introduction of H520, Yuneec is setting the bar high since their all-new commercial drone possesses exceptional performance at a moderate price tag. But, there are people who are calling it an “Orange Typhoon H” which is a completely false claim… and we’ll talk more about that later on! For now, let’s concentrate on what matters the most, and that’s the actual performance of this little bugger!

Yuneec H520 Flight Time

As far as the flight time is concerned, H520 bears good news for all of its potential buyers. Even though there were speculations that this birdie will come equipped with a 6850mAh LiPo, the reality shows that there’s no such thing. Instead, Yuneec opted for a “lower” 5250mAh LiPo with an increased voltage standing at 15.2V. 4S LiPo’s are usually 14.8V as a point of reference. This increase will obviously give more thrust to the drone but keep it in the air for slightly more than Typhoon H.

If we are to be more precise with our numbers here, Yuneec H520 is expected to achieve up to 30 minutes of flight time. However, if you plan on using one of the 3 cameras available, you will be looking at approximately 25 to 28 minutes, depending on which one you go for.

 

Yuneec H502 Review : Design

Yuneec H520 WebAs I’ve already stated above, there are numerous people calling H520 an orange Typhoon H. Long story short – they’ve probably never read a single word about H520 other than perhaps look at its picture. They are similar, I can agree with that, but in no way are these 2 the same… However, we already discussed their differences above so I’ll just cut to the chase:

Starting off with the design, the H520 is a bit wider and has slightly longer propellers. As a matter of fact, it got the name due to the fact its size (motor to motor in a diagonal manner) is 520mm. That’s slightly bigger than Typhoon which is a 480mm model. Despite being bigger, H520 is still relatively lightweight with its takeoff weight being under 2 kilograms. Lastly, the landing gear is cushion with slightly thicker pads and the E90 camera’s antenna is no longer hidden inside the camera body but has its own compartment below it.

 

Yuneec H520 Range

Yuneec ST16s TransmitterWhen it comes to the operating range, I am afraid there hasn’t been any improvements in this department. You see, this birdie comes with essentially the same transmitter (ST16s) that has all the bells and whistles you could ever wish. To top it all off, it sports a 7-inch Android platform with a precise touchscreen that will help you control your new drone with proper ease. But, since both H520 and Typhoon H sport the same transmitter, it means they have the exact same range as well. To be fair, it’s pretty good – 1500 meters. However, if Yuneec was already making an upgrade to Typhoon H, they might’ve added at least 500 meters more to the distance.

 

Yuneec H520 Camera

Now we are going to take a closer look at the imaging solution that comes with Yuneec H520… or imaging solutions since you can choose from a list of 3 camera models. For more detailed information about those cameras check out the explanations down below.

E90

E90 camera H520If you want the very best camera for your H520 (and you don’t need thermal imaging capabilities) then E90 is the obvious way to go. Thanks to its 1-inch sensor and wide-angle lens, this camera can provide perfect images and aerial videos for every occasion. That 1-inch sensor can capture 20MP still images and record 4K videos with the all-new H2 IP (image processing) chip. So, whether you need this drone for filmmaking, 3D mapping, inspections or something else, E90 camera should be your first choice since it will provide you with the best image quality.

CGO-ET

CGO ET Camera H520On the other hand, if you are in desperate need for an aerial thermal imagery platform, then CGO-ET is your only way of getting just that out of Yuneec H520. We are talking about a dual sensor setup here, one for thermal images and one for standard ones. The latter will provide you with a 1080p feed of the area (works great in low light conditions) while the former will give you a thermal visualization of the scenery. There are advanced settings incorporated as well, including temperature detection slider which will help you focus on the problematic spots.

E50

E50 Camera H520E50 camera is the optimal choice for both filmmaking and any sort of inspection tasks. With a medium focal length and 4K ready sensor, it can capture in detail everything you put it up against. It sports a 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor with 12MP resolution and crams it inside a small package. It’s wire-free meaning you can rotate it in any direction as much as you want without it getting tangled up with wires. Furthermore, E50 incorporates 40mm focal length that excels at capturing close-up objects at safe distances.

 

Smart Features

Of course, Yuneec H520 has a whole bunch of smart flight features that will allow it to fly autonomously. However, I’d like to set the focus onto something else… and that’s safety! I’m sure that the safety of a drone (that you’ll potentially end up buying) is more important than its features… At least before you buy it, that is. With that logic, let’s see what does H520 have in store for us!

Yuneec is one of those companies which never take safety options for granted. That’s why they’ve equipped H520 with a huge array of safety-oriented features. Here’s what’s supported:

SONAR SENSOR FOR COLLISION AVOIDANCE
This sensor will help your drone get out of sticky situations by sensing and avoiding upcoming obstacles. Even though there were some speculations that H520 will support Intel RealSense technology, so far  I wasn’t able to find any concrete info about this.

GPS+GLONASS+GALILEO
With 3 supported large-scale navigation systems, H520 is one of the safest commercial drones available on the market. By connecting to this many systems, Yuneec has ensured pinpoint flight accuracy and worry-free flying experience which lets its operators concentrate on the task at hand instead of manually flying the drone.

5 ROTOR FAILSAFE
For Typhoon H users this feature will be familiar. However, for everyone else, here’s what 5 rotor failsafe means – Basically, if you set up H520 for a mission and then in the middle of action one of its rotors goes dead, your expensive investment won’t crash to pieces. Instead, it will safely land avoiding any further damage to itself or property in the near vicinity.

Advanced Software For Commercial Purposes

Yuneec DataPilotIn addition to all those smart flying features, Yuneec takes software to a whole different level with an app designed for specifically for experts. I’m referring to the DataPilot program. It basically allows its users to effectively do their jobs in a simple and intuitive environment. From orthomap creation, data imagery, cropping, cinematic movements and 3D scans all the way to aerial flight paths, patrolling setup and so on… DataPilot does it all.

In addition to that, Yuneec also has their own SDK (Software Development Kit) to help experts achieve the most out of their mighty hexacopter. By sharing the software development tools, Yuneec basically allows its users to create applications that work with their hardware. One thing is clear, both parties are winning in this deal.

 

Yuneec H520 vs Typhoon H

Now that we are at the business end of this article, I suppose it is only logical to do a comparison between these 2 models. I’ve already mentioned all of the following information somewhere in the review above so don’t mind me for repeating myself:

Let’s start off with the design, Typhoon H is smaller by just 4 centimeters which aren’t exactly a big difference. Furthermore, Typhoon H weighs in at 1950 grams while H520 stands slim at only 1890 grams with just 60g separating the two. Obviously, the biggest difference is in the colors of these two. While Typhoon H keeps the shy black, H520 goes all in with an edgy choice of bright orange.

Moving forward to the specifications, the operating range has stayed roughly the same at cca 1500 meters. But, the flight time has received a slight boost thanks to a more powerful battery. Let me remind you, Typhoon H sports a 4S 14.8V 5400mAh LiPo which could get around 25 minutes of flight time. However, Yuneec H520 boasts an upgrade in the form of 5250mAh 15.2V 4S LiPo which can get anywhere from 25 to 28 minutes depending on the camera you’re using.

Yes, cameras. H520 takes this section home with the choice of 3 cameras – CGO-ET, E90, and E50. Typhoon H still gets consolation points for being able to support Flir Vue thermal cameras.

Conclusion

So, with all that taken into consideration, it becomes pretty clear that these 2 drones are not identical. Sure, there are some similarities but that’s only logical since they’re from the same drone series (just like DJI P3 and P4 for example). Finally, I want to add that I really do like what Yuneec H520 has to offer. Of course, I don’t recommend it to casual fliers… but if you have your own company and think you could use drones to boost your production, then Yuneec H520 is definitely a viable option!

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