WingtraOne vs. eBee X

senseFly is a Swiss drone company that is most widely known for its fixed-wing mapping drone eBee, which has been a pioneer in the industry since 2009. Wingtra, also a Swiss company, focuses solely on vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drone technology for surveying and mapping applications. 
Here is your summary followed by the ultimate long-read comparison of the drones. 

The summary: VTOL vs. fixed-wing

Both quality Swiss drones, the eBee X and WingtraOne lead the survey and mapping fields for distinct reasons: eBee X is a well-industrialized and reliable fixed-wing survey and mapping drone, and WingtraOne offers VTOL combination with unsurpassed image quality for coverage. 

While they both cover 7 to 14x more than multicopters can achieve, the WingtraOne can cover almost 2x more area than eBee X at the same GSD in one flight. What differentiates these two drones the most, however, is their take-off and landing technology.

WingtraOne relies on vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) to lift off and touch down like a multicopter, while it transitions to a fixed-wing to cover wide areas. The eBee X is a traditional fixed-wing drone that requires hand launching and lands on its belly.



Best Possible GSD at 65 m (213 ft) Altitude


WingtraOne + Sony RX1R II

GSD: 0.8 cm (0.3 in)/px
Real resolution: 0.9 cm (0.4 in)/px

eBee X + S.O.D.A

GSD: 1.5 cm (0.6 in)/px
Real resolution: 1.8 cm (0.7 in)/px

eBee X + Aeria X

GSD: 1.4 cm (0.6 in)/px
Real resolution: 1.7 cm (0.7 in)/px

Test images at the lowest possible GSD of each drone. The 42MP full-frame sensor of the WingtraOne pays off with more than three times lower GSD and striking resolution lines* for the RX1R II. You can easily compare these lines by looking at the center of the Siemens Stars, which show the degree of clarity or blur. More test images at the same altitude and same GSD are below in the test image section. Note: all coverage figures in this report are theoretical and calculated based on listed coverage unless we list them as tested.

*Real resolution for all images is based on measurements of the fine-lined Siemens Star, which reduces measurement errors.

WingtraOne pros

  • VTOL, no hand launch, no belly landings, fully automated with option to control landing manually, safe on gravel and in confined areas
  • Down to 0.7 cm (0.3 in)/px GSD
  • Best-in-class absolute accuracy — down to 1 cm (0.4 in) with WingtraOne PPK + 42 MP RX1R II payload
  • Saves time: high coverage for resolution—190 ha (469 ac) at 1.4 cm (0.55 in)/px GSD
  • Robust composite glass fiber airframe
  • Weight and actuators offer stability and position adaptation in high wind
  • Rugged tablet for mission planning included in the package

eBee X pros

    • Mature mission planning options—including pause and resume mission and in-flight adjustable camera settings
    • Endurance Extension feature allows 90 min single flight time, comes at extra costs though
    • Oblique camera option available with S.O.D.A 3D (20 MP)
    • Custom elevation data
    • PPK option in case RTK fails


WingtraOne cons

  • Fixed in-flight camera settings
  • No custom elevation data yet
  • Thermal payload in development
  • No pause and resume mission

eBee X cons

  • Belly landings—possible damage on gravel, high plant and forest
    stands—and unpredictable landing area, means you must plan 100 m2 (109 yd2) to be safe
  • Smaller sensor of the cameras and lower pixel density limits real resolution and GSD to 1.8 cm (0.7 in)/px
  • Absolute accuracy down to 3 cm (1.4 in)
  • Handlaunch can be dangerous for you and the equipment if you don’t have the experience
  • Base station (tablet, computer) not included


The Verdict

The eBee X is well established and well industrialized. It also features a thermal mapping solution. It’s a good drone that clearly surpasses multicopter performance. But landing is a real problem and makes everyday use a challenge while potentially reducing the drone’s lifetime. VTOL solves the landing issues on gravel and confined areas, and if you need good data quality, WingtraOne will put you substantially ahead.


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Published: 07/03/2019


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