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    Autonomous drone vs self-flying drones, what’s the difference?

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    When it comes to the cool aerial maneuvers your drone can do all by itself, there is a bit of a debate, are those autonomous flights, or just self-flying / self-piloting actions? We’re going to be exploring this as an opinion piece today, hopefully we get all the technical details accurate.

    The idea today is simple, where autonomy and self-flying, or self-piloting, have been interchangeable terms in the past, we think the industry is advancing. In short, we think autonomy is a bigger deal than we give it credit for.

    Drone Rush our philosophy


     

    The basics of autonomy

    Our favorite drones began shipping with a few self-flying modes to enhance our flights. The most popular mode today is the Follow-Me function. There are different ways to implement a following mode, but there are few ways to initiate it.

    Whether a follow mode, following a waypoint track or other, these are modes in which the drone flies itself. Here is the major distinction we are here to explore, the drone may be flying itself, but you have told it where to go, and you hit the start button to get that started.

    Related reading: Intel drone business

    We would like to pose that true autonomous flight does not take place until the drone or flight system decides where and when to fly without direct human input.

    We are not expecting full AI here, not yet at least, we fully accept a flight system that accepts scheduling, for example. We are going to fall back on farming and security a lot today, they’re easy examples to work with.

    A farmer could program a drone to survey the fence line every day starting at 6am. I’d even go so far as to allow the drone to have its flight path programmed ahead of time, but that drone will need to operate entirely without pilot interaction to qualify as autonomous in my books.

    Thing is, good autonomy would change the game. Instead of flying at 6am, what if the drone knew to fly when the sun came up. Don’t forget to add some intelligence to consider the time of day, ambient light and the weather before take-off.

    Now, what should the drone do mid-flight? Every drone I’ve flown has a very small set of parameters that trigger an automated RTH. I certainly have not flown a drone that can autonomously identify an intruder then alter its flight to both stay safe and to ensure that video of the intruder goes to the right place. Not to mention setting off alarms.

    Surveying a fence line is little different. If the farmer has to retrieve the drone, download the footage then watch the footage to see what the fence looks like, they may have just gone out themselves instead. No question flying a drone for this task can be way more efficient than going for a walk, but if you have to watch the footage, why not manually pilot and watch it live.

    Intel and their new Insight software is designed for this sort of workflow. The software is able to automatically view and compare images. If the fence is different than it was yesterday, the software can flag it for your attention.

    AI on captured images after the flight is a great start, but what about having the drone identify the fault. The drone could email an image to the farmer instantly, leading to less time for those cows to get out.

    NVIDIA and their Jetson super computer have been building navigation into drones, those same smarts could easily fuel the broken fence problem alert I speak of.

    In conclusion of the definition, self-flying techniques of drones are merely a part of a true autonomous flight.

    Things to know before you fly


    I’m not a farmer, why should I care?

    I am also not a farmer, don’t you worry. I am also not a heavy user of self-flying features on my drones. I’ve said this before, part of my passion to fly is that I like to be on the sticks of my drone. Follow me modes are fun and certainly have their place, but the only self-piloting feature I use with any frequency is hover.

    If home security is not a drone necessity for you, and you plan to keep things legal by always flying line-of-sight, truth is, autonomy has little place for you.

    Actually, as it sits, full autonomy is all but illegal in the United States.

    As the laws begin to change, new drone uses will emerge. Right off the bat will be drone deliveries. You know full well that Amazon will be dropping packages on your doorstep in no time. You’ve also heard about the aerial taxi services that are possible.

    Alyssa Newcomb/NBC News

    These flights will need a very capable level of self-flying ability, then at some point the flights will get to a level I’d call autonomy. When you order a ride, the drone self-diagnoses that it is capable of performing the requested flight, then takes off and navigates all without human input, that’s autonomy. Then, the drone should decide the best route to get from start to finish on its own.

    Long story short, farmers and similar type field/rail/power line inspection are going to be huge players in creating and testing the tech you and I can use at home later. This designation is usually reserved for the military, and don’t you worry, consumer and transportation drones that you and I will use will have military tech as well.

    Related reading: DJI Quickshot ‘autonomous’ flight modes

    If you are flying for pay, or any other form of compensation, you must operate under a different set of rules and possess a commercial drone license. We call it the Part 107, it’s not too hard to get, but it will take some time to learn all the rules. We want to help you learn the rules and get your commercial license, check out our drone pilot training material.

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    Special consideration: Hand gestures and voice control

    DJI Spark hand gesture at launch event

    Before we lay out our official opinion, we’d like to ask your thoughts, should we consider control methods such as hand gestures, facial recognition and voice control to be autonomous flight? Self-piloted? Let’s break it down. First, to use these fun features, your machine needs to be able to combine several of the above noted self-piloting techniques. Your drone at least needs to be able to hover in place or be able to follow you as you run in circles in that field.

    Next, all of these fun gesture controls and such are actually manual controls. Voice controls are easy to explain, when you say “take a photo” the drone takes a photo – you are controlling the drone. it feels like magic, but in the case of the Yuneec Mantis Q, your connected mobile device is translating your voice into a signal that the remote controls fires up to the drone. As far as the drone is concerned, you hit the physical camera shutter button on the remote.

    Perhaps we’ve said enough, we don’t consider hand gestures or voice input to be self-piloting, and we certainly don’t think it’s autonomy. However, you certainly use gestures to trigger self-piloted actions.


    Clean up


    I painted a lengthy picture of drones and the future of flight in our world, I feel like I didn’t really address the VS in the title of this article. Sit tight, let’s hit that again in brevity:

    Self-flying, which I might call self-piloting, is the ability of a drone to perform aerial maneuvers without a human at the controls. Autonomy is when the drone decides to perform those self-flying actions without human input.

    Final thought, sorry to say, when your drone goes wildly out of control and crashes into a tree, that is still not autonomy.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    What do you mean “autonomous drones” don’t really exist?

    Mostly, we’re getting into the semantics of the definitions at this point. Autonomy implies the ability to make decisions as well as operate without oversight. When you push a button to tell a drone to fly in a circle, that is simply a self-piloted operation, the drone may have some autonomy over aspects of its route, if it has obstacle avoidance sensors, but will likely never, and probably should never, be 100% autonomous.

    Is it legal to put your controller to the side while your drone is flying?

    The FAA does not explicitly say that you have to have your hands on the controls of your drone at all times. It is legal to set your controller down while the machine is safely self-piloting. However, it is still your full responsibility to ensure safe operations. In many states, it is not legally required that you keep both of your hands on the steering wheel of your moving car, but it’s still your fault if your car travels unsafely – the same concept applies for your drone.

    If my drone is flying safely by itself, can I fly a second drone?

    No. The FAA makes it very clear, unless you have an approved waiver, there must be one pilot per drone in the sky. In a commercial operation, there will always be one Part 107 certified Pilot in Command for each drone in the sky as well – A PiC may not oversee multiple pilots simultaneously. (The fun light shows that Intel and UVify put on are waivered operations.)

    The post Autonomous drone vs self-flying drones, what’s the difference? appeared first on Drone Rush.

    The drone apps you need to fly – from the manufacturer

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    DJI Mavic Air review

    Most drone manufacturers have opted for proprietary software to control their respective drones, we’ll explore that today, a contrast to our Best drone apps list, with the best apps for any drone enthusiast. Those were the generic apps independent of drone manufacturer, this list today is the apps you need to fly a drone from each of the major manufacturers.

    We chose some of the more popular drone manufacturers out there, including DJI, Autel Robotics, Yuneec and Hubsan. Please feel free to let us know in the comments below if there is a manufacturer you’d like to see in the list.

    Drone apps

    • DJI GO 
    • DJI GO 4
    • DJI Fly
    • Parrot FreeFlight Pro
    • Yuneec CG03
    • Yuneec Pilot
    • X-Hubsan
    • Autel Robotics Starlink
    • 3DR Solo
    • GDU Pro
    • B4UFly
    • Airmap
    • Vision+2
    Back to the top

    We’d hate to be presumptuous about the drone you are flying, but unless it’s a custom racing rig, there’s a high likelihood you’re flying a DJI drone today. Let’s start there.

    DJI Go 4

    DJI Go 4

    For those flying later DJI hardware, look no further, this app is for you. Designed for all Phantom 4 series drones, the Inspire 2 and everyone’s favorite, the Mavic Pro, DJI GO 4 packs the very latest and best features that DJI has to offer in retail drones.

    This is also the app you’re going to want on hand to operate your new DJI Goggles with your Mavic Pro. And if you do not this app for some reason, why not check out our list of DJI GO 4 app alternatives

    DJI GO 4 is free in the Google Play store or the Apple App store.


    DJI Fly


    Drone Rush our philosophy

     

    DJI Fly

    Designed for the DJI Mavic Mini, DJI Mini 2, and DJI Mavic Air 2

    DJI Fly app for DJI Mavic Mini live view map overlay

    The focus with the new DJI Mavic Mini is a simplified flight experience that doesn’t skimp on the core functionality, this described the DJI Fly app as well. Experienced DJI pilots may not find all of the manual tweaks and settings they’ve gotten use to for the larger drones, but the truth is, they were not necessary for flight. Focusing on the live view from the drone, and key mapping and navigation telemetry, the DJI Fly app won’t confuse new pilots, and, just like the drone, is a great stepping stone toward more advanced flight.

    Check out DJI Fly for Android or iOS.

    Check out the DJI Mavic Mini, Mavic Air 2 and newest DJI Mini 2:

    DJI Mavic Mini






    (9.0)
    • 30 – Minutes
    • 2.7K – 12MP
    • 29 – MPH

    DJI Mavic Air 2






    (9.6)
    • 34 – MIN
    • 4K – 60 FPS
    • 42.5 – MPH

    DJI Mini 2






    (9.4)
    • 31 – Minutes
    • 4K – 12MP
    • 36 – MPH

    November 2020

    Release Date

    DJI Go

    DJI GO

    For all of you early adopters, the ones that took to the sky with a quadcopter from the Phantom 3 series or earlier, this is the app for you. Packing all but the very latest of features, and supporting all but the latest drones, DJI GO is the app for your Inspire 1, Phantom 3 or older, Matrice 100, Matrice 600 or the Osmo series of handheld gimbals.

    DJI GO is free in the Google Play store or the Apple App store.

    Parrot FreeFlight Pro

    Parrot FreeFlight Pro

    With growing popularity, Parrot drones are proving not only entertaining, but functional as well. Mostly built for the Bebop 2, Parrot FreeFlight Pro is the base up to get you airborne. Look for in-app purchases to unlock additional flight features.

    Parrot FreeFlight Pro is free in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

    Yuneec Breeze Cam


    Yuneec Breeze Cam

    Yuneec has more than a few great flying machines on the market today. If you are taking to the sky with the smallest craft in their line-up, Yuneec Breeze Cam will help you get the most from your Yuneec Breeze 4K drone.

    Yuneec Breeze Cam is free in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

    Yuneec CGO3


    Yuneec CGO3

    For the larger machine aficionados in the Yuneec stables, you’ll want the CGO3 or CGO4 app to fly your Typhoon H and other machines equipped with the CGO3 camera. Obviously, for those with the Tornado H920 and up, with the CGO4 camera, grab the CGO4 app. I like how simple Yuneec kept that to understand.

    Yuneec CGO3 is free in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

    Yuneec Pilot


    Yuneec Pilot

    Yuneec Mantis Q Yuneec Pilot app camera options

    Released alongside the Yuneec Mantis Q in mid 2018, Yuneec Pilot is a familiar looking app that provides all of the settings and controls you need to get the most out of your folding drone. We’ve haven’t stress tested the app yet, but after a few short flights with the Mantis Q, we’re impressed. Just a solid and simple app experience to fly the new Yuneec drone.

    Yuneec Pilot is free in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store

    X-Hubsan


    X-Hubsan

    As far as we’re concerned, Hubsan is pretty much king of the toy class drone, but they have some serious machines as well. These more capable fliers require a little more than a small toy remote, and Hubsan has embraced the mobile device to make it all happen. For machines like the X4 H501A, X4 H501S Brushless and the H109S X4 Pro, look no further than the X-Hubsan app.

    X_Hubsan is free in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

    Autel Robotics Starlink


    Autel Robotics Starlink

    Autel Robotics Drones guideAt this stage in the game, the Autel Robotics X-Star Premium is the only drone up for sale from the robotics company. At least for normal retail sale. While major flight controls are handled by the supplied remote control, the Starlink app brings FPV video to your hands while in the sky.

    Autel Robotics Starlink is free in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

    3DR Solo


    3DR Solo

    3DR Solo drone app

    Yes, the name of the drone is the same as the name of the app to control it. The 3DR Solo is an older drone that has been discontinued, you can still find it new and it is a big, fun drone to fly. Although, you’ll need the older GoPro 4 if you want a camera, and the gimbal may well cost more than the drone itself at this point. Anyhow, 3DR Solo is the app you’ll want to fly your 3DR Solo. 

    3DR Solo is free in the Google Play store and in the Apple App Store.

    PowerVision Vision2+


    PowerVision Vision2+

    PowerVision Vision+2 VisionPlus2 app on iOS

    PowerVision has been a leader in underwater drones, while they’ve had a few flying machines, the PowerEgg X marks a point where they can compete in the consumer market. To run this transforming drone, you’ll want to download the Vision+2 app for Android or iOS. It has a look and feel similar to most out there right now, including DJI GO. Vision+2 allows you to control your PowerDolphin or PowerEgg X, and in camcorder or drone mode. 

    PowerVision Vision+2 is a direct download for Android, or grab it from the Apple App Store.

     

    GDU Pro

    Matching the technique of the best players on the market, GDU offers full flight control of the GDU Byrd series from the provided remote, but add in extra camera controls and an FPV stream using the GDU Pro app.

    GDU Pro is free in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.


    If you are flying for pay, or any other form of compensation, you must operate under a different set of rules and possess a commercial drone license. We call it the Part 107, it’s not too hard to get, but it will take some time to learn all the rules. We want to help you learn the rules and get your commercial license, check out our drone pilot training material.

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    For everyone!

    Legal and safety

    B4UFly and/or Airmap

    We know we already have a full list of the best apps for every drone pilot to take a look at, but we can’t put together a list of drone apps without mentioning one or two that will help you fly legally. That’s all there is to it, we don’t want you to get in trouble, please consult the FAA’s B4UFly app, or the similarly powerful Airmap to make sure your flight plan is safe and legal.

    B4UFly is free in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.


    Airmap

    From pre-flight airspace analysis through your drone flight and safely back to the ground, the folks at Airmap have a powerful tool for you. For the most part, Airmap is what the name implies, a mapping program for your drone flight, behind the scenes, Airmap offers difference services for different levels and stages of our flight, including integration with drone insurance.

    For our hobby and basic commercial flights, we fire up Airmap first, it is an extensive airspace map that helps us decide where we can fly. If that flight area is in restricted airspace, Airmap has integration with LAANC, providing you with FAA authorization to put your drone into the sky. Just indicate your desired flight area and altitude, answer a few questions about your craft and the purpose of the flight and let Airmap handle the request with the FAA.

    Once you are in a registered flight within Airmap, it is able to show you a real-time map view of all ADS-B and other reported aircraft in the area. Flight safety and airspace situational awareness are key to a successful flight, Airmap has got your back.

    Airspace Map – powered by Airmap

     

    Things to know before you fly


    Wrap up

    That’s all we have for today. Please note that whatever brand of drone you purchase, there is probably a companion app to help you get more from the flight, or to outright control the craft. Please consult your manufacturer’s website and documentation for details. Of course, drop us a comment below and we’re happy to look up and add your required app to this list.

    Fly safe out there, and be sure to check out the available apps for your drone to get the most from the experience.


    Looking for another drone?

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    FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I have to use manufacturer apps to fly my drone?

    No, however, there may be very few alternatives available. If your manufacturer has exposed an API or SDK to allow third-party software to control your drone, then you’re in business. Most manufacturers involved with the Dronecode and PX4 systems are included here, as are DJI drones. We’ve got a full list of DJI GO 4 app alternatives, if that’s what you’re looking for.

    Do I have to use an app to fly a drone?

    Some drones require an app, but most can be controlled with just the remote control. The trade-off is a lack of fancy flight features. For example, you can fly your DJI Mavic Air 2 with just the remote, capture photos and video, engage RTH and more, but you will need an app on a connected mobile device to enable Quickshot flight modes or swap to panoramic photos. Don’t forget that your live view from your camera is also locked into the app for most drones.

    Should I pay for those expensive drone apps?

    Please consider your needs before you spend money on alternative apps. Most are worth it, but only if you need the features they provide. For example, Pix4D is out of the price range of many hobby pilots, but the advanced mapping features they provide are crucial to some commercial operations. 

    The post The drone apps you need to fly – from the manufacturer appeared first on Drone Rush.

    DJI Mavic 2 review – Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom

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    It’s always exciting to learn about new drones. This time around, we get to talk to you about the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, let’s look at the series as a whole in a little in-depth DJI Mavic 2 review.

    This DJI Mavic 2 drones review was originally released in September, 2018.

    Truth is, aside from the camera and software, the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are the same drone. Those differences enable different flight modes, but the core flight characteristics remain the same. Allow me to nearly spoil all of our coverage going forward: These are fantastic drones, the only real question is whether or not they are right for you and your budget.



    Drone Rush our philosophy

     

    Back to the top
    Mavic 2 overview

    Overview

    FLIGHT TIME

    31

    MIN

    CAMERA

    4K

    30 FPS


    SPEED

    44

    MPH

    RANGE

    6.2

    MILES

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro

    POSITIVES

    Reliable drone
    20MP 4K camera with 1-inch sensor
    Solid build
    Powerful and fast
    Long range connectivity
    Great flight time
    Responsive controls

    NEGATIVES

    Well priced, but too much for many users
    Does not accept many Mavic Pro accessories

    Dronerush Score

    9.7
    8.3

    User SCOREYour Score

    Bottom Line

    As one of two machines launched together for the consumer drone market, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is near identical to the Mavic 2 Zoom, with the main difference being the camera. The Pro rocks a 1-inch sensor that shoots 4K video at 100Mbps, making it one of the very best cameras in the sky for this size of drone,…

    FLIGHT TIME

    31

    MIN

    CAMERA

    4K

    30 FPS


    SPEED

    44

    MPH

    RANGE

    6.2

    MILES

    DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

    POSITIVES

    Reliable drone
    Solid build
    Powerful zoom on the camera
    Powerful and fast
    Long range connectivity
    Great flight time
    Responsive controls

    NEGATIVES

    Well priced, but still a little expensive
    Only a 12MP, 1/2.3-inch sensor
    Does not accept many Mavic Pro accessories

    Dronerush Score

    9.5
    8.9

    User SCOREYour Score

    Bottom Line

    As one of two machines launched together for the consumer drone market, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is near identical to the Mavic 2 Pro, with the main difference being the camera. The zoom capabilities of the Mavic 2 Zoom are impressive, with a hybrid 4x zoom in total. As great as that is, we wish they would have used…

    Released in August 2018, the DJI Mavic 2 series of folding quadcopters was touted as an iterative update to the ever-popular DJI Mavic Pro. There is no doubt that they look very similar, but the differences on the inside almost make for a new class of drone – a compact folding professional drone.

    The Mavic 2 series won’t replace the Inspire 2 in the air, but folks considering even the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 should take a moment to figure out if the Mavic 2 Pro offers what they need – spoiler alert: It might.

    What we are looking at is a slight modification to the overall design of the original Mavic Pro. The design language is the same, the drones fold in the same way and have the same general shape. The Mavic 2 series is larger and heavier, but with the removable joysticks on the remote control, the overall package is comparably manageable for travel.

    The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Pro sit side-by-side on a white table. Notice the color and size differences between these epic folding drones.

    The Mavic 2 series is a lighter grey color. I prefer the darker grey of the original Mavic Pro, but that’s just my preference.

    The battery is a new design as well. It’s taller and the connector is on the back instead of the front. While it offers almost the exact same Lithium Ion Polymer capacity as the original Mavic Pro, the new version is not cross compatible between drone generations. If you were wondering, however, the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom use the same battery.

    If you are new to the Mavic series of drones, you’ll find the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom to be folding quadcopters. The front propeller arms fold straight back and the rear arms fold underneath. The propellers themselves fold as well. These are the same high-efficiency props you can find on the Mavic Pro Platinum edition.

    DJI Mavic Pro Platinum Propellers on og mavic featured yt DR

    The cameras hang from 3-axis stabilized gimbals under the nose of the drone. DJI gives you hardware controls to tilt the camera from straight down to a few degrees upward, as well as software controls to rotate the camera side to side and up and down. Twisting the camera is reserved for auto-leveling while you fly around.

    In the big picture, DJI has put a lot of effort into stabilizing the camera. Most of their drones offer industry leading stabilized video. Many drone enthusiasts believe that stabilized video is the most important aspect of a drone, thus, DJI continues to be the top drone manufacturer around.

    dji-mavic-2-pro-front-camera-4

    The Mavic 2 series has a new style of gimbal for DJI, offering several levels of dampening and motorized control to produce some of the smoothest video we’ve captured from the sky. And we’re not just talking about lucking out with some stable hover footage, we’re talking about completely stable footage while booting along at over 30mph with wind gusts in the 3-7 mph range. We’re seriously impressed.

    Safety appears to be DJI’s second highest priority with the Mavic 2 series. They are not the first to hit the market with all-direction obstacle avoidance sensors, and those sensors are only all active in certain modes, but they are there. There is also a landing light, so you can see the ground clearly when landing in the dark. Of course, that’s within the FAA’s allowable twilight flight allowances, right?

    dji-mavic-2-zoom-bottom-gimbal-2

    In the event of a collision, the motor overload identification brings all of the propellers to a stop very quickly. We put this to the test, our conclusion is that you’ll still have very sore fingers if you come into contact with a spinning prop, but the motors halt before they’d cause serious harm, to you or themselves. If you were wondering, we tested by trying to take-off with one motor in taller grass. The motor was able to spin up, but the grass was enough resistance at take-off power to trigger the over-load – all props stopped almost instantly.

    The remote control is almost exactly the same size and shape as the original Mavic Pro. It has the same folding arms to hold your mobile device, same folding antenna at the top and a small LCD display on front with all the most important flight telemetry. It has the removable joysticks first found on the Mavic Air as well.

    DJI Mavic 2 Zoom remote TPS slider function switch

    This iteration of the remote has a three stage switch on the right hand side that swaps between flight modes. Marked T P S, you’re looking at Sport mode, to get up to 45mph, Tripod mode for super slow, safe and stable flight, and P-mode, offering the default GPS and obstacle avoidance sensor enabled flight.

    Updates and upgrades since launch

    What’s new?

    (Updates since initial launch of this review in October 2018.)

    December, 2018: DJI launched the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise. Using the same base frame, they updated some internals and added accessories to make a solid search and rescue drone. A few weeks later they launched the dual camera version of this new Enterprise drone, providing an infrared camera for all your inspection needs. DJI still has the Matrice 200 series for enterprise operations that allow a larger drone to take tot he sky, but the new Mavic 2 Enterprise offerings are vastly more portable for constrained operations.  

    January, 2019: DJI launched the DJI Mavic Smart Controller for most OcuSync drones. This new Mavic remote pack a built-in display with all the required features you’d find from your connected smartphone. That said, the remote itself is simplified from the standard Mavic Pro, Mavic 2 Pro or Mavic 2 Zoom remotes, as there is a built-in full color display, they’ve removed the small basic LCD panel some of us have come to appreciate. Love it or not, this is the best remote you can get for your Mavic drone. 

    Summer 2020: Your DJI Mavic 2 drones have new firmware ready that will increase your connectivity range. After the launch of the DJI Mavic Air 2 proved that OcuSync 2.0 can connect at even greater distances, the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom can now also connect up to 10KM, or about 6.2 miles.

     

    Things to know before you fly


    Mavic 2 performance

    Performance

    In the air, you may feel some similarities to the original Mavic Pro, but we find the new Mavic 2 series a fun new flight experience.

    The first thing you’ll likely notice, the Mavic 2 drones are fast. Granted, the Mavic Pro and Mavic Air are just shy of the top speed of the Mavic 2 line. They all top out just over 40mph. The real value here is the speeds you’ll see while shooting absolutely stable video. We found both the Mavic Pro and the Mavic Air to coast along at about 17-19 mph, so we were amazed to see a little over 30mph from the Mavic 2.

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro DJI Mavic 2 Zoom flying

    DJI indicates on paper that the Mavic 2 series has the same stability at hover as previous DJI drones. I must admit, I’ve moved since my last DJI review, I am no longer flying in the same place with the same magnetic interference and all that fun stuff, but the Mavic 2 series appear to be way more stable than other DJI machines, thus far.

    The last time I flew the Mavic 2 Pro before writing this was to take photos and video of it in the sky. It was a windier day than I usually fly in, with an average wind speed of about 4 mph and gusts up to 10 mph. Not bad, but enough to throw a drone off at hover. Truth is, the Mavic 2 Pro didn’t care about the wind.

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro flying trees

    Without actually measuring, I’d say the Mavic 2 series can hold it’s position in the sky with accuracy down to 10 inches horizontal and 4 inches vertical. This is true, at least, when you are within 10 feet or so of the ground and within 20 feet of an obstacle. GPS does a great job, but the visioning systems really make the difference for precision.

    Having said this, the Mavic 2 drones do not like being close to objects. They will appear to drift when they are trying to get away from things. I let the drone hover, then stood so it was between me and some trees. I received constant warnings that there were objects in front of and behind the drone, and it started shifting around, presumably to even out the distance between the obstacles. I can’t verify that that is what it was doing, but it certainly maintained a fairly even space front and back.

    dji-mavic-2-zoom-back-sensors-close-3

    This is where the all-direction obstacle avoidance sensors can be a hassle. A life saver for the drone, but a nuisance for a precision flight. With the Mavic Air, for example, if I got caught in a place where there were obstacles front and back, meaning the drone would not maneuver forward or backward, I simply turned the drone ninety degrees and flew sideways to get where I was trying to go. With the Mavic 2 series, it is possible to get stuck completely, unable to move any direction. I would worry about flying through a gap in the trees or a hallway.

    I encountered the obstacle avoidance issue on one flight. My landing pad was situated about 5 feet from some tall grass and 6 feet from my car. When I came to land, I could not get the drone to line up with the landing pad, it sensed the obstacles and just would not move horizontally in any direction. I had to bring the drone back up, move the landing pad and try for a landing again. For the most part, you can choose to either have the obstacle avoidance sensors turned on or off, I’d like something in between.

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro obstacle avoidance sensors

    Speaking of the obstacle avoidance sensors, did you know that they are not all running by default? That’s right, forward, backward and downward facing sensors are on by default, the sensors on the sides are only active in certain modes. Fly in Tripod mode or ActiveTrack to enable the side sensors.

    To help minimize lost air time due to obstacles, the Mavic 2 series is equipped with APAS. Introduced with the Mavic Air, APAS is DJI’s smart flight mode that can navigate the drone around obstacles. Fly straight toward a fence, for example, and the drone can shift to the side and/or up and over the fence.

    The Mavic 2 drones are equipped with ActiveTrack 2.0. DJI has added updated 3D mapping systems with trajectory prediction. It’s not designed for bullet-proof follow-me modes, but it certainly helps keep objects in frame.

    Science of Flight series

    We have plenty more to read if you are interested in the science of drone flight. We are not physicists, but we know just enough to explain some of the basic concepts of how drones operate, how they fly and how to do so effectively. Be sure to check out our other Science of Flight articles to learn more.

    Flight modes

    Flight modes

    In addition to APAS, ActiveTrack and other flight modes we’ve already discussed, the Mavic 2 drones offer many of the same modes as other DJI drones. Quickshots is packed with Asteroid, Rocket and other modes, for example.

    DJI Mavic 2 APAS

    New modes include Hyperlapse, a Task Library and HyperLight. Some old modes include panoramic shots, HDR, multi-shot, timed shots and more.

    The Task Library is cool, the drone remembers a set flight path or position, you can than duplicate shots from that flight at different times of the day, or in different weather. Fun for artistic photography, great for commercial inspection.

    HyperLight is a similar concept to the also available HDR modes. While HDR focuses on capturing a balanced image, HyperLight focuses on capturing clearer night shots. I could only test during twilight, legally, but in the dark of night, while looking at the bright lights of a cityscape, for example, you can expect better contrast and less light bleed from your images.

    In addition, we will talk more about the specific modes available to each of the Mavic 2 drones in their own articles. For now, know that the Mavic 2 Zoom offers something called Dolly Zoom. This is a really old camera trick that creates a warping look to your video. Create your own now with just one tap.

    Hardware and components

    Hardware and specification

    The DJI Mavic 2 series is built of the same metal and plastic materials as the initial Mavic Pro. Or so it seems. There are subtle changes to some things, such as the propeller arms appearing to be two-piece construction.

    DJI Mavic 2 Zoom propeller arm gap top

    If you look closely, you can see a groove just inside the silver line on the front propeller arms, and the matching distance from the main fuselage on the back arms. We haven’t tried to tear down the Mavic 2 drones to verify for certain, but it appears DJI has made is easier, and possibly less expensive to repair outer arm damage.

    Both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom feel heavy in the hand. Not unwieldy, just sturdy. I do not feel like I will damage the Mavic 2 with some improper handling.

    The camera cover is a single piece design now. We’ve seen this on other DJI drones, but Mavic Pro owners are accustomed to the clamp and the cover being separate pieces. The clear plastic dome does not come with a rubber cover this time, and there is a bit of a dimple near the center of the camera. Bottom line, you will not be flying this drone with the cover on.

    DJI Mavic 2 Zoom gimbal cover dome

    We’ve seen folks expressing grief over how the gimbal cover works. We admit, it takes some patients to learn, and further patients to install each time. It is easiest with the drone set upside down somewhere, slide the clamp in and align the camera with two hands. Once most inserted, the two small clips will fit into the drone, then simply swivel the dome over the camera until it clips into place. Just don’t push if it’s sticking, the mechanical leverage is enough to damage the gimbal.

    The remote control maintains the great size, shape and features as the remote for the Mavic Pro. You get removable joysticks this time, for improved maneuverability. Connect a phone up to about 6-inches with the micro USB, USB Type-C or Lightning cables provided.

    Connectivity has been improved with OcuSync 2.0. Dual frequency 2.4 and 5.8GHz frequencies can keep you connected in congested areas, as well as improve the experience with controls on the 2.4GHz range and video on the 5.8GHz range.

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone and remote on a box

    With video on the 5.8GHz range, it is possible to end up on the same channel as a racing or other hobby drone with FPV setup. Please be a good neighbor if flying around others. Communicate what you are doing. You might not be able to change channels, but they probably can.

    With all this, OcuSync 2.0 on the Mavic 2 drones is able to stream 1080p live video up to 5 miles away. This sound unnecessary, considering the line of sight rules in the U.S. pretty well limit you to less than a mile of range. Thing is, you may end up flying in an area with interference. Myself, the metals in the volcanic rock in my area throw magnetic interference warnings for most of my DJI drones. I haven’t seen them yet with either Mavic 2 drone.

    Update: In the summer of 2020, DJI issued a firmware update that pushes the connectivity range up to 10,000 meters, that’s roughly 6.2 miles.

    DJI Mavic 2 Zoom battery top

    Once airborne, DJI’s claims of up to 31 minutes of flight time translate into about 26 minutes of safe flight before landing. By default, the low battery warning was set to 30% on our Mavic 2 Zoom. I manually reduced that to 20% for my flying style. Let’s be honest, most of my early flights are in close range to test all the modes. I’ll put it back up to 30% when I do longer distance flights.

    The biggest thing I hope you don’t notice with the Mavic 2 drones is the noise. Make no mistake, when they throttle up, they can produce that familiar drone roar. however, at hover, on a still day, this is one of the quietest drones we’ve flown.

    Throttling up is a treat with the Mavic 2 series. As mentioned, you’ll see about 30 mph with stable camera. Sport mode jacks that up to 45 mph. You’ll get around the neighborhood a lot faster than you might expect with this machine.

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro flying top

    As for the feel of it. It is more responsive than the Mavic Pro, but less so than the Mavic Air. The Mavic Air is a little twitchy sports car if you go nuts on the sticks. The Mavic Pro is a little more reserved, the Mavic 2 drones are on the sportier side, but still try to keep it smooth for the camera.

    If you do not like the feel of the Mavic 2, if you think the gimbal tilts too fast when you spin the wheel, or that the drone rotates too quickly when you push the stick, you can dial these back in the settings.

    If the adjustments in the settings are not enough, don’t forget about that switch on the side of the remote to bounce between normal flight, Tripod mode and Sport mode.

    Drone Rush Drone Pilot Training banner Pilot-Training-Banner

    Cameras

    Cameras

    Obviously, the purpose of these new drones is to put a camera into the sky. Both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom offer many of the same camera modes, despite the dramatically different cameras.

    We’ll keep it short for now, as we will discuss more in an in-depth camera review for each drone, soon.

    The DJI Mavic 2 Pro has a 20MP, 1-inch Hasselblad camera with 28mm lens. 10-bit HDR video and a 10-bit Dlog-M color profile, along with the adjustable f/2.8 – f/11 aperture, are a step and a half passed simply capturing images from the sky.

    dji-mavic-2-pro-front-camera-3

    The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom has a 12MP, 1/2.3-inch camera with a variable 24 – 48mm lens. There is an additional 2x digital zoom, if you really want to get in there, for a total of 96mm. There is also a Super Resolution photos capture mode that will stitch together multiple shots into a high-detail 48MP photo.

    GDU Byrd Premium 1.0 review

    Specifications

    The TLDR is that these are the best cameras of all of DJI’s drones under the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0. We’ll be checking if the Mavic 2 Pro is as good as the top Phantom drone, they certainly compare similarly on the spec sheet. Bottom line, if you are considering one of DJI’s compact offerings, and you want the best camera, one of the new Mavic 2 drones is the machine for you.

    Specifications

    9.5
    DRONERUSH SCORE
    FLIGHT TIME
    31
    MIN
    CAMERA
    4K
    30 FPS
    SPEED
    44
    MPH
    RANGE
    6.2
    MILES
    8.9

    User SCORE

    9.7
    DRONERUSH SCORE
    FLIGHT TIME
    31
    MIN
    CAMERA
    4K
    30 FPS
    SPEED
    44
    MPH
    RANGE
    6.2
    MILES
    8.3

    User SCORE

    Photo gallery

    DJI Mavic 2 Zoom camera sensors

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro camera photo sample trees zoomed

    dji-mavic-2-compare
    dji-mavic-2-compare-bottom-camera
    DJI Mavic 2 Pro camera photo sample sunset street zoomed
    DJI Mavic 2 Pro camera photo sample trees

    Time to fly the DJI Mavic 2 drones

    2018 has been a wonderful year for consumer drones. More players are stepping up their game, healthily competing with some of DJI’s offerings, and DJI keeps pushing forward as well. There is no doubt in our mind, the new Mavic 2 series are the best drones you can buy if you need an all around drone for hobby flight.

    The Mavic 2 Zoom offers a number of fun and functional camera modes and features that few other machines can compete with and the Mavic 2 Pro is the biggest camera on a smaller drone around.

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro flying in front of trees

    These are powerful machines that are both sporty and fast as well as able to maintain an impressively stable hover. More important, the camera gimbals are some of the very best we’ve seen for capturing silky smooth video from the sky.

    Buy the Mavic 2 drones

    We were unashamedly huge fans of the Mavic Pro. DJI calls the Mavic 2 line an “iterative update” to that first folding drone, and we are all in on the improvements. We will remain subjective, we understand that there are limitations, and maybe some issues, we’re also aware that these machines are prohibitively priced for many users, but if you can afford one, totally worth it.


    Pro

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro

    August 2018

    Release Date

    Introduced in August of 2018, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro instantly became the best consumer-class folding drone that DJI had to offer. A marked upgrade over the original Mavic Pro, the Mavic 2 Pro rocks a 1-inch camera sensor for 4K video capture at 100Mbps, multi-direction obstacle avoidance sensors for some of the safest drone flight possible, and much more. OcuSync 2.0 enhances connectivity to the remote control and other accessories, now able to transmit 1080p live stream video well beyond the legal line-of-sight.

    With an initial launch price of $1449, plus another $319 to get the Fly More kit with extra batteries, there is a barrier to entry with this machine, but if the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is within your budget, we think you will not be disappointed.

     


    Zoom

    DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

    August 2018

    Release Date

    If you run down the spec sheet, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro are the same machine, with one major exception, the camera. The folding quadcopter design offers great portability, the multi-direction obstacle avoidance sensors assist in safe flight, and the new capabilities of OcuSync 2.0 add versatility for control and accessories. That is true for both of the drones, the Mavic 2 Zoom, on the other hand, rocks a 2x optical zoom lens on top of a 12MP camera. It shoots 4K video at 100Mbps and can digitally double that zoom for an impressive close-up.

    Launching with a price of $1299, plus $319 for a Fly More kit, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom was an instant crowd favorite.

     

    DJI Mavic 2 Fly More Kit

    dji-mavic-2-fly-more-kit

    Earlier DJI drone buyers are familiar with the Fly More combo offerings for the drones. DJI decided to make this a separate kit instead of a drone bundle this time around. The Mavic 2 Fly More Kit rounds out your flying package with two more batteries, a charging dock, extra propellers and other spare parts, plus a handy carrying bag.

    We explored the Mavic 2 Fly More Kit already, check it out. The DJI Mavic 2 Fly More Kit is $379. (Initial retail price at launch was $319.)

    That wraps it up for today. Please stay tuned for our dedicated DJI Mavic 2 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom separate camera and feature focus articles. We believe these are great drones, but which is the right option for you will be determined in the coming articles.

    Mavic 2 drones vs some competition: 

    • DJI Mavic 2 Pro






      (9.7)


      $1,449.00+

      BUY

      • 31 – MIN
      • 4K – 30 FPS
      • 44 – MPH
      • 6.2 – MILES
      DJI called the Mavic 2 Pro an iterative update over the original Mavic Pro; It may look like a simple upgrade, but the Mavic 2…
    • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom






      (9.5)


      $1,299.00

      BUY

      • 31 – MIN
      • 4K – 30 FPS
      • 44 – MPH
      • 6.2 – MILES
      Along with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic 2 Zoom is one of the safest drones in the sky. You’ll enjoy the flight with…

    • Mavic

      More Info

      DJI Mavic Air 2






      (9.6)


      $799.00

      BUY

      • 34 – MIN
      • 4K – 60 FPS
      • 42.5 – MPH
      • 6.2 – MILES
      The DJI Mavic Air 2 is the first “air” to look like a Mavic drone. It’s the perfect midway between the Mini and larger Mavic…

    • Yuneec

      More Info

      Yuneec Typhoon H Plus






      (9.4)


      $1,899.00

      BUY

      • 28 – Minutes
      • 4K – 30 FPS
      • 30 – MPH
      • 1 – MILE
      The hexacopter design of the Yuneec Typhoon H Plus offers a reliable and smooth flight experience for the attached 20mp camera.

    • Phantom

      More Info

      DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0






      (9.7)


      $1,799.00 $1,519.00

      BUY

      • 30 – MIN
      • 4K – 60 FPS
      • 45 – MPH
      • 4.3 – MILES
      Taking the core of the solid DJI Phantom 4 Pro, the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 adds more efficient motors, OcuSync connectivity and more.
    FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Which Mavic 2 drone should I buy?

    Your camera needs should determine which Mavic 2 drone you purchase. Simply put, the Mavic 2 Pro has a larger camera sensor and will capture better overall images and video, however, it is a fixed lens, so what you see is what you get. The Mavic 2 Zoom has that zooming lens, making it ideal long distance imagery, maybe even for inspection services, so you can look close in on a bolt, without having to fly too close to the wall or pole. The other advantage to the zooming lens is your ability to reduce drone noise by flying further away from the subject. Great for not being annoying while filming your friend’s wedding, for example. 

    Is the Mavic Air 2 better than the older Mavic 2 drones?

    There are many advantages to the newer DJI Mavic Air 2, and for your needs, indeed, the Mavic Air 2 may be the better drone. The Mavic 2 drones are larger, stronger, and safer, plus they have better camera capabilities, but they do have a much higher price. The camera sensor in the Mavic Air 2 is better than the sensor in the Mavic 2 Zoom, but the overall camera package of the Zoom is still superior. They now all have the same connectivity range. Bottom line, if you need zoom, get the Zoom. If you want the best camera, get the Pro, and if you want the best bang for the buck portable package, get the Mavic Air 2.

    Should I wait for the Mavic 3?

    A fun question, there is always an advantage to waiting for the next version of a DJI drone. There is no question that the Mavic 3 series will have better cameras, which is reason enough to upgrade, even without any other improvements. However, when do you need a drone? DJI does not follow a strict release schedule, they bring machines to market when they are good and ready, even if that means postponing an announced release event. If you want to fly one of the higher-end Mavic drones in 2020, you should probably go buy a Mavic 2 drone now. The Mavic 3 may land in the fall of 2020, but it may not launch until spring 2021, we just don’t know.

    What’s the difference with the Mavic 2 Enterprise?

    Make no mistake, the base airframe of the Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Pro, and Mavic 2 Enterprise is the same, save for a connection point to put accessories on top of the Enterprise. Optionally, you can add a thermal camera alongside the same zoom camera capabilities as the Zoom. On the inside, the Enterprise offers data encryption. The Enterprise package is a powerful search and rescue tool, if nothing else, but if you were considering upgrading for hobby purposes, the Pro has a better camera, and they all fly the same.

    The post DJI Mavic 2 review – Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom appeared first on Drone Rush.

    Best follow me drones – smart flight feature

    0

    Drone companies have been incorporating smart features into their consumer drones, to allow for an easier and better experience for customers. One of the first smart features added to make pilot’s lives easier was a follow me mode. Today we will be looking into follow-me mode, and give you a list of the best drones that follow you.


    • Skydio 2

      More Info

      Skydio 2






      (9.4)


      $999.00

      BUY

      • 23 – Minutes
      • 4K – 60 FPS
      • 36 – MPH
      • 2.17 – MILES
      The Skydio 2 is a consumer drone with the power of a commercial drone. An array of sensors and a powerful on-board computer make for…

    • Skydio

      More Info

      Skydio R1






      (6.8)


      $1,999.00

      BUY

      • 15 – Minutes
      • 4K – 30 FPS
      • 25 – MPH
      • 300 – ft
      The Skydio R1 is perhaps the best autonomous 4K drone around, superb when it comes to follow-me modes, but that’s nearly the end of its…
    • DJI Mavic 2 Pro






      (9.7)


      $1,449.00+

      BUY

      • 31 – MIN
      • 4K – 30 FPS
      • 44 – MPH
      • 6.2 – MILES
      DJI called the Mavic 2 Pro an iterative update over the original Mavic Pro; It may look like a simple upgrade, but the Mavic 2…
    • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom






      (9.5)


      $1,299.00

      BUY

      • 31 – MIN
      • 4K – 30 FPS
      • 44 – MPH
      • 6.2 – MILES
      Along with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic 2 Zoom is one of the safest drones in the sky. You’ll enjoy the flight with…

    • Air 2

      More Info

      DJI Mavic Air 2






      (9.6)


      $799.00

      BUY

      • 34 – MIN
      • 4K – 60 FPS
      • 42.5 – MPH
      • 6.2 – MILES
      The DJI Mavic Air 2 is the first “air” to look like a Mavic drone. It’s the perfect midway between the Mini and larger Mavic…

    Our goal today is to help you find some of the best follow me drones on the market.

    Back to the top


    What is Follow-me?

    What is Follow me mode?

    As the name suggests, follow me mode on your drone is a smart flight feature that allows your drone to follow you, or another selected object, completely autonomously. This is achieved through various techniques, including object detection, controller follow, and GPS/GLONASS follow. All of these modes use their own unique setups of ultrasonic sensors, GPS/GLONASS, Bluetooth connectivity, and/or cameras to get the best shot possible for the user.

    DJI Quickshot object detection follow me

    There is a large gap between the entry level drones and the best machines on this list. Some of the basic follow-me functionality is to use a Bluetooth connection between the drone and remote. For these machines, there may not be obstacle avoidance, you need to tread carefully, literally. Advanced machines combine visioning systems that perform smart computational object detection, with laser and other sensors to avoid obstacles, and many can even self-navigate around trees and more to keep a lock on you.

    Some of our favorite follow me drones are from DJI, Yuneec and Skydio.

    Best follow-me drones

    Related reading: DJI Quickshot smart modes

    The Best follow me drones

    This list is in no particular order, have a look through for the drone that best fits your budget and needs. Although, if we had to absolutely pick the very best follow me drone, that would be the Skydio R1, it has some serious next-level capabilities compared to most drones out there.


    Skydio 2

    Skydio 2

    November 2019

    Release Date

    Skydio 2 is the follow up to the impressive Skydio R1, a powerful drone with unheard of autonomy for its time. The power of both Skydio drones is in the Nvidia Jetson on-board computer and an array of obstacle avoidance sensors. The Skydio 2 uses six cameras, with a total of 48MP of resolution, for obstacle avoidance purposes, making it one of the safest drones around, in terms of avoiding a crash. They believe in this tech so much that they offer free repair or replacement if your machine happens to crash.

    Skydio is not the only company that has drones powered by the Nvidia Jetson computer system, but at the time of launch, we know of no other Jetson powered drone that is designed for consumer use with a price tag less than a thousand dollars. Of course, the Skydio 2 integrates with DroneDeploy, for those looking to perform inspection or mapping tasks.

    For the consumer side, the Skydio 2 offers a fairly standard 4K camera, that shoots at up to 60 fps. It is a class-leader in follow-me modes and finally offers additional control options. You can control Skydio 2 via your smartphone, just like the earlier models, or you can opt for the new remote control or the Skydio Beacon, which gives you some control of the drone, but mostly acts as a wireless tether, to ensure the drone follow you even when it cant see you.

    Launch price for the Skydio 2 is $999 with pre-orders in October 2019, first shipments due in November 2019.

    Purchase links coming soon!


    Skydio

    Skydio R1

    February 2018

    Release Date

    The Skydio R1 got the entire drone world excited. At a time when most drones offered some basic follow-me modes, and moderate obstacle avoidance capabilities, the Skydio R1 came along with near unbeatable follow and extreme obstacle avoidance. This was not the drone for folks wanting to put a serious camera into the sky, but this was a dream device for action cam fans. It wasn’t perfect, however, a lack of dedicated remote controller was a problem for many, and the price tag was, well, prohibitive.

    Considering the parts used to create this drone, and the features made available for custom coding flight modes, we don’t think the price is out of hand. The advanced nature of the Nvidia Jetson on-board computer makes this a niche product that isn’t actually ideal for someone that just wants a flying GoPro, so to speak. Sadly, that’s exactly what this drone is best at, so we hope a new version of this product comes soon with a more consumer friendly price tag.

    The Skydio R1 runs $1999 before any discounts.

    Note: Skydio is teasing the new drone coming Fall 2019. As such, the Skydio R1 is out of stock most places.


    Pro

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro

    August 2018

    Release Date

    Introduced in August of 2018, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro instantly became the best consumer-class folding drone that DJI had to offer. A marked upgrade over the original Mavic Pro, the Mavic 2 Pro rocks a 1-inch camera sensor for 4K video capture at 100Mbps, multi-direction obstacle avoidance sensors for some of the safest drone flight possible, and much more. OcuSync 2.0 enhances connectivity to the remote control and other accessories, now able to transmit 1080p live stream video well beyond the legal line-of-sight.

    With an initial launch price of $1449, plus another $319 to get the Fly More kit with extra batteries, there is a barrier to entry with this machine, but if the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is within your budget, we think you will not be disappointed.

     


    Zoom

    DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

    August 2018

    Release Date

    If you run down the spec sheet, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro are the same machine, with one major exception, the camera. The folding quadcopter design offers great portability, the multi-direction obstacle avoidance sensors assist in safe flight, and the new capabilities of OcuSync 2.0 add versatility for control and accessories. That is true for both of the drones, the Mavic 2 Zoom, on the other hand, rocks a 2x optical zoom lens on top of a 12MP camera. It shoots 4K video at 100Mbps and can digitally double that zoom for an impressive close-up.

    Launching with a price of $1299, plus $319 for a Fly More kit, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom was an instant crowd favorite.


    Air 2

    DJI Mavic Air 2

    May 2020

    Release Date

    The DJI Mavic Air 2 drone is more than just a successor to the original Mavic Air, it’s more of a transition from its own form-factor into a true Mavic drone. The Mavic Air 2 maintains its place as a mid-tier drone in DJI’s lineup. In terms of size, price, and capability, the Mavic Air 2 sits almost perfectly in between the Mavic Mini and the Mavic 2 series drones.

    In the same way that the Mavic Air stepped up the camera game for small drones, the Mavic Air 2 is an exciting update in the camera department as well. You’re looking at a new 1/2-inch sensor that shoots 12MP stills, but does so from a 48MP sensor! You can capture 48MP stills as well, but the 12MP shots are better, using pixel binning managed by Quad Bayer technology. Photos are great, but the new 4K video capture at 60fps, and a data bit rate of 120Mbps, are more exciting to many users.

    Check out the DJI Mavic Air 2 for a starting price of $799 for the base package, $988 for the Fly More combo at launch in May 2020.



    Mini 2

    DJI Mini 2

    November 2020

    Release Date

    The original DJI Mavic Mini was a very important machine for the consumer hobby drone market. The DJI Mini 2 is the next generation of super-compact camera drone, it’s a solid improvement over the original Mini, especially in terms of the camera and flight capabilities. You still get a sub-250 gram drone, but now get a 4K camera, vastly improved connectivity, a more durable design, and more power.

    The newer 1/2.3-inch sensor produces 12MP stills, and 4K video at 30 fps and 100Mbps data rate. For some, the most exciting update is lossless zoom. With up to 4X zoom, you can safely fly at distance from your subject, perfect for those pet photos or to capture shots of a waterfall in the distance.

    DJI continues their accessory package trend, you can get the DJI Mini 2 for $449, or grab the DJI Mini 2 Fly More combo for $599.


    Typhoon

    Yuneec Typhoon H Plus

    July 2018

    Release Date

    The hexacopter design of Yuneec’s Typhoon line of drones has been quite popular, if not successful. The design has become an icon in the industry and the safety of having extra propellers has been well accepted in the commercial market. The Yuneec Typhoon H Plus is a second generation model of their consumer focus. The Typhoon H Plus lands somewhere in between the DJI Phantom and DJI Inspire line of drones in terms of specs and price. Packing a 20MP 4K camera on a 3-axis gimbal, folding design and market average flight times and speeds, the Intel RealSense obstacle avoidance sensor may a leading reason to consider this drone over others.

    You’ll be able able to check out the Yuneec Typhoon H Plus for about $1899 from a few retailers.


    Water

    Swellpro Spry+

    January 2019

    Release Date

    Swellpro announced the Spry, waterproof drone, at CES 2019, followed by the Spry+ at CES 2020. Compared to their previous models, this is a compact machine that floats on water and enjoys time in the sky. The 4K camera sits inside of a waterproof housing that submerges below the surface when the drone sits on water. You can fully submerge the drone, but it does not dive on its own, it’s made to float. The Spry+ puts the GPS antenna in the disk on top, enabling better connectivity even while the drone is mostly submerged.

    In case things go wrong, the remote control is also waterproof and made to float, making the Swellpro Spry one of the only drones you can safely take out surfing and kayaking, never mind boating or just flying at the lake.

    Check out the SwellPro Spry+ for $987.


    Wrap up

    There you have it, the best follow me drones on the market today. What are your thoughts on drones doing the work for you? Would you rather fly a drone yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments below or head over to our social media accounts.

    FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why do I want a drone that can follow me?

    As you know, there are many uses for drones today, pilots of racing drones or those looking to capture amazing video from the sky might not care so much about follow-me modes, but action sports enthusiasts rely on the feature to capture their epic moves. The bottom line is that a follow-me mode is an automated flight, helping you get some epic shots without having to manually control your aircraft.

    What if my drone doesn’t follow me?

    Each drone will offer a different way to control the follow-me modes. Some drones lock onto the remote control, so your drone will simply follow you, but others use vision systems and AI to track an object. It is fairly easy to trick the second type of drone, it can lock onto another person, lose sight of you behind an obstacle and more. You can put a certain amount of trust in the drone, but it is always best to be paying attention and ready to manually take control if something isn’t going as planned. You’ll have to practice with your drone to find out what factors lend to a successful flight.

    If you are asking about turning a drone that does not have a follow feature into a drone that follows you, things get more difficult. Bottom line, adding third-party navigation tools can be very expensive, and will require a flight controller and systems that let you plug in modules and code to make them work. It’s very fun to equip Intel RealSense technology onto a PX4 powered drone, especially if that drone is powered by an NVIDIA Jetson computer, but I’ve just named components that each cost about as much as a DJI Mini 2.

    The post Best follow me drones – smart flight feature appeared first on Drone Rush.

    DJI Mavic Air 2 review – Hard to beat

    0

    The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a compelling purchase for any drone or aerial photography enthusiast. It offers some of the best flight time you can expect from a consumer drone, and a camera that surpasses almost every drone under $1400.

    FLIGHT TIME

    34

    MIN

    CAMERA

    4K

    60 FPS


    SPEED

    42.5

    MPH

    RANGE

    6.2

    MILES

    DJI Mavic Air 2

    POSITIVES

    Compact size
    Great camera
    Easy to use
    Very fast
    Great battery life
    Fun flight features
    Good price at launch

    NEGATIVES

    Lacks LCD in remote
    Perhaps too powerful for first-time pilots
    Had hoped for a lower starting price

    Dronerush Score

    9.6
    9.2

    User SCOREYour Score

    Bottom Line

    The DJI Mavic Air 2 Picks up where the initial Mavic Air left off, hitting the market as the perfect drone in between the smaller Mavic Mini and larger Mavic 2 series drones. It also continues the trend of being one of the best camera drones on the market. The new 1/2-inch sensor, with 4K 60FPS capture and 120Mbps data…

    Familiar operation and reliability are enhanced by extended flight range, and the inclusion of Ocusync makes the Mavic Air 2 a viable contender for medium-duty aerial tasks. We like this new machine, and we think you will too, this is our DJI Mavic Air 2 review.

    Notice: We will regularly update this article with new information, or otherwise to refresh it. It initially published in May, 2020.

    Back to the top


    Drone Rush our philosophy

     
    DJI Mavic Air 2 overview

    DJI Mavic Air 2 overview

    DJI Mavic Air 2 flying camera angle

    The first thing you’ll notice about the DJI Mavic Air 2 is that it is now in-line with the looks and functions of other Mavic drones. We never faulted the original Mavic Air for being different, but we’ve been fans of the familiar Mavic folding design since the Mavic Pro in 2016.

    Despite the similarities, we’re sad to report that the Mavic Air 2 has all unique parts. You cannot swap propellers, batteries or remote controls with the other Mavic models. The Mavic Pro and Mavic 2 series share propellers, but that’s pretty much the only cross-over across any of the drones.

    The Mavic Air 2 is a little bit smaller than the more expensive Mavic drones. In fact, it measures almost exactly halfway in between the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic Mini. That comparison does not stop there, as the Mavic Air 2 is roughly the in-between weight and price of those two as well. DJI obviously had a plan with this new machine.


    Air 2

    DJI Mavic Air 2

    May 2020

    Release Date

    The DJI Mavic Air 2 drone is more than just a successor to the original Mavic Air, it’s more of a transition from its own form-factor into a true Mavic drone. The Mavic Air 2 maintains its place as a mid-tier drone in DJI’s lineup. In terms of size, price, and capability, the Mavic Air 2 sits almost perfectly in between the Mavic Mini and the Mavic 2 series drones.

    In the same way that the Mavic Air stepped up the camera game for small drones, the Mavic Air 2 is an exciting update in the camera department as well. You’re looking at a new 1/2-inch sensor that shoots 12MP stills, but does so from a 48MP sensor! You can capture 48MP stills as well, but the 12MP shots are better, using pixel binning managed by Quad Bayer technology. Photos are great, but the new 4K video capture at 60fps, and a data bit rate of 120Mbps, are more exciting to many users.

    Check out the DJI Mavic Air 2 for a starting price of $799 for the base package, $988 for the Fly More combo at launch in May 2020.

    We are very excited for one of the biggest updates to the Mavic line we’ve seen, a new camera! Make no mistake, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro still has a superior camera in almost every way, but the Mavic Air 2 is the next generation of non-pro camera, and we’re pretty excited.

    If you’ve been following the smartphone market in late 2019 and beyond, you may have seen a new camera standard there as well. No, not the 108MP sensors, that’d be nice on the drones, instead, the 48MP, 1/2-inch sensor that typically produces 12MP images via pixel binning. That’s the one that shoots 4K video at 60fps, and has some solid HDR capabilities.

    We’ll discuss the camera in more depth below, but I’ll sum it all up: The image quality from the Mavic Air 2 is beyond our expectations. DJI must have taken a page out of Google’s playbook for a software-driven camera experience. Well done.

    Things to know before you fly


    Is the Mavic Air 2 any good?

    Is the DJI Mavic Air 2 any good?

    DJI Mavic Air 2 flying front bottom

    We hate to assume that any DJI drone is going to be great, but they’ve proven themselves time and again, and again with the Mavic Air 2. Yes, it is good.

    The Mavic Air 2 balances form and function. The initial Mavic Air was ideal for packing down and taking on the go. The Mavic Air 2 is less portable, but still easier to pack than the Mavic Pro or Mavic 2 drones. The trick here is that there is no compromise in the camera or flight for the reduced size and weight.

    The Mavic Air 2 feels like the most responsive drone that DJI has produced. Its rated top speed is no different than the larger Mavic drones, but it has an acceleration rate that you need to be aware of if flying in tight places. If you jam on the sticks, the drone will be gone in that direction at full speed before you can look up from the controller.

    DJI Mavic Air 2 remote control

    You should utilize Tripod mode if you are a first time pilot, or need to snag some slow moving shots from the sky. It is possible to be gentle on the sticks to get slow and smooth movement while in Standard mode, a task that is even harder in Sport mode, but it can be done.

    Connection to the remote is solid, and the reaction time from button press to drone action is minimal. You may notice some latency, but you’ll have to go looking for it.

    Video feedback from the drone is also very solid. We flew the drone in the same place we’ve flown every other consumer drone we’ve touched in the last 2 years. The Mavic Air 2 produced the best video stream quality we’ve seen from them all.

    DJI Mavic Air 2 remote top

    We attribute this connectivity to Ocusync 2.0 and the newly rated 10KM connection range.

    The remote control had us a little worried. It is a new design that is larger and very blocky. Indeed, we wonder why it is so large. It looks like a merge between the initial Mavic Air remote and the newer DJI Smart Controller from 2019. This new Mavic Air 2 remote has more than enough room for a built-in display, even if only the simple LCD from the Mavic Pro and Mavic 2 series. Perhaps we’ll see an option with a display in the future.

    Mavic Air 2 specifications

    Mavic Air 2 specifications

    9.6
    DRONERUSH SCORE
    FLIGHT TIME
    34
    MIN
    CAMERA
    4K
    60 FPS
    SPEED
    42.5
    MPH
    RANGE
    6.2
    MILES
    9.2

    User SCORE

    On the flip side, the Mavic Air 2 is good, but there are a few compromises to consider. First, the lack of sideways obstacle avoidance is a downgrade from other offerings on the market. Admitting that this is more of a premium feature is to admit that the Mavic Air 2 is not a premium drone. It’s one of the very best consumer-grade drones, but not quite premium.

    The second complaint we have is that all of the parts and accessories are brand new. Sure, you can use things like bags and cables from other Mavic drones, but we would love to see more cross-over of propellers, if not batteries. As best we can tell, the props are slightly smaller, but the exact same design as the low-profile props that introduced with the Mavic Pro Platinum, and continued with the Mavic 2 drones. The Mavic Air 2 is smaller and lighter, it does not need as large of props, but us consumers of multiple DJI drones have yet another set of parts to purchase and keep organized.

    Let’s be fair, our complaints are not deal breakers, we are liking this drone.

    Drone Pilot Ground School 1920x238 banner save 50 mavic air 2 photo

    Mavic Air 2 safety features

    How safe is the DJI Mavic Air 2?

    DJI Mavic Air 2 back belly

    The first thing most of us worry about when flying a drone, is trying not to crash it. All drones have risk, but the Mavic Air 2 does a solid job at mitigating them.

    Multi-direction obstacle avoidance is a plus for the Mavic Air 2. You’ll get warnings and the drone will automatically come to a stop for your forward, backward, and downward flight. We can always wish for all-direction protection, but you’ll have to upgrade to the Mavic 2 series and up for that.

    The biggest safety tool introduced with the Mavic Air 2 is called Airsense. On the surface, Airsense is simply an ADS-B receiver.

    DJI Mavic Air 2 back

    DJI makes it clear that the ADS-B functionality of the Mavic Air 2 is ADS-B In only. Your drone will not transmit its location. As a receiver, you will receive notifications for manned aircraft in your area.

    We fly in an infrequent flight path, with maybe five to ten aircraft per day that soar overhead. We had the Mavic Air 2 in the sky when one such plane came over.

    Airsense gave me more than enough time to descend and/or alter course to avoid collision

    Before I could hear the incoming aircraft, the DJI Fly app vibrated to let me know something was up. Around the time I could hear the craft, the app automatically expanded the map in the lower left corner to show us the real-time location and direction of the nearby aircraft.

    This was a 2D visualization, I was provided no altitude info for the airplane, but as the little airplane icon passed within 1000ft horizontally of the drone, I was able to identify the craft at a few thousand feet above.

    Being that I was flying below the roof line of the nearby buildings, there was really no risk of collision. Had I been higher in the sky, the inclusion of Airsense gave me more than enough time to descend and/or alter course to avoid collision.

    Important note: Airsense is not available in all markets. We can confirm that it works within the United States, but it is not available in the EU at this time.

    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera

    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera samples

    DJI Mavic Air 2 180 degree panorama

    Panoramic 180 degree

    If you read the tab when you’re visiting DJI’s website, it tells you they are the world’s leaders in camera drones. There are some insane professional rigs that DJI only sort-of competes with, but for the consumer market, drones like this Mavic Air 2, we can’t argue.

    The new 1/2-inch size sensor is exciting to us. Most drones previously housed a 1/2.3-inch sensor, or jumped up to a full 1-inch camera. It was easy to tell the difference between the two older sensor sizes, and believe it or not, it’s pretty easy to see the improvements just 0.07-inches can make.

    DJI Mavic Air 2 flying nose camera

    The pixel count of the camera is vastly increased as well. This is a 48MP camera. DJI intends that you shoot 12MP photos, using pixel binning to get the clearest shots possible. You can shoot a full 48MP photo if you choose, but it really is not as good as the 12MP output.

    Familiar shooting modes are equipped as well, including several panoramic shots, DJI’s Hyperlapse, and multiple multiple-shot burst features. Don’t forget to enjoy the DJI Quickshot flight features as well.

    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample Single sun
    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample HDR sun
    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample 48MP sun
    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample Single houses
    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample Single field 2
    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample Single creek
    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample HDR creek
    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample 48MP creek
    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample Single field
    DJI Mavic Air 2 camera sample 48MP sun edits

    DJI Mavic Air 2 video sample

    The larger sensor is capable of shooting 4K video at up to 60fps. The bump up to 120Mbps is welcome, which means even more data is being captured to enhance your images. If you turn on HDR capture, however, the frame rate drops back to 30fps.

    When it comes to video, we applaud DJI for their camera Gimbals. The Mavic Air 2 shoots extremely smooth video, and the camera has great articulating range. We have not confirmed that the Mavic Air 2 uses any digital stabilization for video capture, but there are certainly enough pixels available on the sensor to work some software magic.

    Our first images with the Mavic Air 2 were impressive. Make no mistake, they don’t compare with our DSLR cameras, nor with the images we captured with the Inspire 2, but they’re respectably comparable to the Phantom 4 Pro.

    Mavic Air 2 price and availability

    How much is the DJI Mavic Air 2? When can I buy the Mavic Air 2?

    Good news, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is up for sale right now. The first shipments began arriving to consumers on May 11th, 2020.

    In a familiar move, DJI is offering the Mavic Air 2 in two packages, the standard pack with all you need to fly, then the Fly More combo, which includes extra batteries and more.

    DJI Mavic Air 2 package

    DJI Mavic Air 2 for $799

    • Airframe
    • Remote control
    • One battery
    • Charger
    • One pair additional propellers
    • All cables to connect

    DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More combo for $998

    • Airframe
    • Remote control
    • Three batteries
    • Charger
    • Charging hub
    • Additional propellers
    • All cables to connect
    • ND filters
    • Shoulder bag
    Should I buy the Mavic Air 2

    Should I buy the DJI Mavic Air 2?

    DJI Mavic Air 2 side logo

    As always, you must weigh the options when you are looking to buy a new drone, but rest assured, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is a solid purchase, well worth it for anyone that doesn’t have the budget for the DJI Mavic 2 series drones or better.

    Did you know? The Mavic Air 2 has the same Sony camera sensor as the more expensive Autel Robotics Evo II? There are other perks to the more expensive drone, but for a camera-to-dollar comparison, the Mavic Air 2 is hard to beat.

    For owners of the original Mavic Air, the Mavic Pro, Spark or anything in between, the Mavic Air 2 is the better drone. For those that enjoy the Mavic 2 Zoom, but do not rely heavily on the zoom functionality, we’d even call the Mavic Air an upgrade there as well.

    DJI Mavic Air 2 flying top

    DJI has done a good job with the Mavic Air 2, particularly in terms of rounding out their consumer offerings. Grab the Mavic Mini if extreme portability or a sub-$500 price tag is important to you, snag the Mavic 2 Pro for $1449 if you want a superb camera, or land almost precisely in between to get the Mavic Air 2 for $800.

    DJI Mavic Air 2






    (9.6)
    • 34 – MIN
    • 4K – 60 FPS
    • 42.5 – MPH

    Some DJI Mavic Air 2 competition:

    FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions

    But really, how good is the DJI Mavic Air 2?

    As with most things in life, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is absolutely amazing, or rather terrible, all depending on what you need out of it and what you are comparing it to. This little drone will never keep up with image quality of something like the Inspire 2 with Zenmuse X7 camera, and it’ll never out-pace your racing drone around the track, but we stand by our opinion that the Mavic Air 2 will capture better images from the sky than almost every drone on the market in mid-2020 that costs less then $1,500, and it’ll fly further and for longer than most of them, too.

    Is the Mavic Air 2 48MP or 12MP?

    The camera sensor in the Mavic Air 2 is a 48MP sensor, and the drone can capture 48MP photos, but capturing at 12MP provides the best results.

    We mentioned pixel-binning in the article, that is where multiple pixels on the camera sensor are treated as one pixel to produce the final image. Camera sensors work by capturing light on the pixels, the more light you can capture on the pixel, the more accurate it will depict the colors it was exposed to. Since this has to happen in a flash (pun intended,) there is limited light exposed to each pixel on the sensor. By pixel binning, you are taking the average of four different pixels, and can computationally add values together from the four, to produce a more accurate color value. This is all done in the software, which takes educated guesses at what the best image should look like, but with teams like Google and DJI working on the concept, it’s proven very effective and destined to get better.

    10KM range is huge, I can fly to my grandma’s house!

    Respecting your enthusiasm, please remember the line-of-sight laws in effect in your country. For us in the United States, the law almost specifically says “unobstructed line-of-sight,” but what they really mean is that you should always be able to see your drone with your naked eye. I have an unobstructed view of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens from some of my favorite flight spots in Portland, that’s a direct ~60 miles of unobstructed sky, but my eyesight is only good enough to see the Mavic Air 2 at less than 2,000 feet distance. Maybe one day I’ll get to fly in a country that allows BVLOS flights with hobby drones, but for now I’ll ask you to be like me, please keep your drone within visual range.

    What is this ADS-B stuff?

    ADS-B is simple, it’s a platform with which aircraft are able to transmit their current location, and see the location of other aircraft. The ADS-B infrastructure is a little bit older, and the skies are crowded enough that the decision was made to not add drones into the mix. They did not want to crash the system, nor overwhelm pilots with all the extra blips on the map. However, it is an open system that you can receive data from if you have the right gear. If you have a new DJI drone, you have the right gear. ADS-B on your Mavic Air 2 is simply a tool to show you when there are manned aircraft in your area. It is well integrated into the app, but it’s nothing that you can’t find for yourself with your own gear, find within the Airmap app when you’re in an active flight, or by visiting a site like flightradar24.com.

    Should I buy the DJI Mavic Air 2, or wait for the Mavic 3?

    Our gut reaction is to ask if the Mavic Air 2 looks like it will satisfy your flight needs, if you will have a budget of about $1,500 and can wait until the Mavic 3 series launches maybe late 2020, but likely early 2021? The Mavic Air 2 is a superb little drone, but it is not going to keep up with everything a Mavic 3 drone will be able to do. That said, they are likely to have a similar camera sensor, if not the exact same one – while the Mavic 3 machines will likely have better overall cameras with larger lenses, and may enable 8K video recording, only the most discerning will be disappointed with the Mavic Air 2.

    Does the DJI Mavic Air 2 have Remote ID?

    Please stay tuned for further info, as of January 2021, we know that Remote ID is coming, but the official rules and effective dates are not yet published. Most DJI drones include some telemetry in the radio signal broadcast to your remote, this data may satisfy the FAA’s requirements for Remote ID, but until that is confirmed, please expect to need an external transmitter. We’ll update when we know more.

    The post DJI Mavic Air 2 review – Hard to beat appeared first on Drone Rush.

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