For some time now, VTOL drones have entered the field of aerial mapping. These Vertical Takeoff and Landing drones offer the flexibility and ease of use of a multirotor combined with the range and stability of a fixed wing UAV.

At The Fieldwork Company we have been using both fixed wing and multirotor drones for aerial surveys for many years, and always like to stay at the forefront of technology. So we decided to create a comparison of some VTOL mapping models to guide us in buying the right model for us. Hopefully this will help others choose what fits their needs.

3 commercially available VTOL mapping systems are the Vertical Technologies DeltaQuad, Wingtra WingtraOne and AtmosUAV Marlyn. They all boast impressive websites and present a lot of figures that are not always easy to understand or put into context.

The key focus of our comparison was price (<50k), performance and options. We have omitted several properties that were either identical in all models, or not relevant to the core task. For example, they all offer PPK, a rugged flight case and automated survey generation.

All data below is based on published specifications, information requested from the manufacturer and in some cases derived or based on common sense. So here goes comparing VTOL apples with apples.


DeltaQuad Pro #MAP

Wingtra WingtraOne

AtmosUAV Marlyn

Coverage at 3cm/px

1000ha

400ha

300ha

Coverage at 10cm/px

3500ha

1800ha

1100ha

Lowest ground resolution

0.4 cm/px

0.7 cm/px

0.7 cm/px

Payload capacity

1200g

800g

1000g

Max telemetry range

20 km / Unlimited (4G)

8 km

3 km

Setup time

1 minute

5 minutes

7 minutes

Preflight calibrations

None

Airspeed sensor

Airspeed sensor

Manual remote control required

No

Yes

Yes

4G/LTE support

Yes

No

No

FPV video support

Yes

No

No

Simulator included

Yes

No

No

Backpack included

No

Yes

Yes

Flight redundancy
(separated drives)

Yes

No

No

Swappable payloads

Yes

Yes

No

Supported cameras

Sony A7R-III
Sony RX1R-II
Sony A6000
Micasense RedEdge
MapIR Survey3
Flir Duo Pro R

Sony RX1R-II
Sony QX1
Micasense RedEdge

Sony RX1R-II
Sony QX1
Micasense RedEdge

Dry weight

5.0 Kg

3.7 Kg

5.7 Kg

Wing span

235 cm

125 cm

160 cm

Max flight distance

100 km

50 km

30 km

Max flight time

110 minutes

55 minutes

50 minutes

Max cruise wind specified

45 km/h

40 km/h

45 km/h

Max takeoff & landing wind

33 km/h

30 km/h

Not specified

Effective max wind for mapping *

30 km/h

30 km/h

30 km/h

Package Price **
- RX1R-II camera
- PPK with base
- Ground station
- Rugged flightcase

DeltaQuad Pro #MAP
€ 19.600
Wingtra WingtraOne
- No PPK Base
€ 29.500
AtmosUAV Marlyn
- No PPK Base
- No ground station
€ 30.400


A PDF version of the chart can be found here: https://docdro.id/uorlRIJ

* The maximum wind conditions listed are those in which the vehicle can still operate safely, these are generally not conditions in which a mapping mission is feasible. Wingtra has released a video showing how their vehicle operated in high wind conditions that clearly show conditions unsuitable for mapping: https://youtu.be/aTCK1GOAB-U

** The prices indicated are based on quotations from the manufacturer. To give a fair comparison we have requested exactly the same options on every model: The Sony RX1R-II, a PPK system with base station, a ground control station and a rugged flight case. Not all quotations included all components and the deviations are listed.

Based on our comparison we chose the DeltaQuad as it offers the most range per flight and the most moderate price. So far we have been pleased with the results, their specifications seem to match reality and the system flies very stable.

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