DJI unveils ADS-B-enabled Mavic Air 2
By UAV Canada Staff
DJI of Shenzhen, China, on April 27 introduced the Mavic Air 2 drone, which the company describes as the best all-around drone it has ever made. In developing the 570-gram drone, the company focused on three primary areas for improvement, including imaging, flight performance and safety. Mavic Air 2 is a folding drone that features 8K functionality, with a larger Quad Bayer 1/2-inch camera sensor and new programmed flight modes.
“Mavic Air 2 is another milestone for DJI, demonstrating that our smartest consumer drone does not have to be the largest,” said DJI president Roger Luo. “While the Mavic Air 2 bears all the hallmarks of the Mavic drone family, we had to completely rethink its design and development process. Our goal was to create a drone that offered the best overall experience possible to even the most novice pilot. We hope our drones can help boost creativity and become a fun yet educational experience that can be enjoyed, even at this unprecedented moment in history.”
DJI explains Mavic Air 2 is the first drone in the Mavic series to offer 4K video at 60 fps and 120 Mbps. Additionally, users can record content using HDR video, 4X Slow Motion in 1080p at 120 fps or 8X Slow Motion in 1080p at 240 fps. Pilots can record 12-megapixel images or choose a new high-resolution 48-megapixel feature, while a mechanical 3-axis gimbal helps compensate for camera shake.
The newly added SmartPhoto on Mavic Air 2 records 12-megapixel photos using what DJI describes as advanced scene analysis and deep learning to automatically choose one of three image capture options, including:
• HDR photos, which automatically captures seven varying exposures of the same photograph, merging them together to bring out a highly dynamic image;
• Hyperlight, designed for low-light scenarios, taking multiple photographs and merging them to bring out a clear image with less of the noise which usually occurs in low-light scenes; and
• Scene Recognition, which can recognize five categories of scenes including sunsets, blue skies, grass, snow, and trees, then optimize settings to make the photograph pop by bringing out the highest degree of color, detail, and tones.
Weighing just 570 grams, Mavic Air 2 features new motors, new electronic speed controllers (ESCs), enhanced battery technology and an aerodynamic design to provide a maximum flight time of up to 34 minutes.
DJI’s proprietary OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology has been upgraded to deliver reliable and stable HD video feed from the drone at a maximum distance of 10km. OcuSync 2.0 supports both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequency bands and uses an auto-switching feature to move between the two based on signal strength, while anti-interference technology blocks unwanted signals to keep the video feed clear.
Mavic Air 2 is equipped with new safety features, including obstacle sensors on the front and rear of the drone to warn pilots when they’re too close to an object. The system allows setting the drone to stop it from moving any closer to avoid collision. Additional sensors and auxiliary lights on the bottom of Mavic Air 2 assist with several functions, including automatic landing even in difficult lighting. Mavic Air 2 also comes equipped with DJI’s GEO geofencing solution to help keep drones away from high-risk locations like airports.
Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 3.0 brings a new level of autonomous flying to DJI drones. When users enable APAS 3.0, as obstacles come into the drone’s path, Mavic Air 2 will create a new path around, under or over the object to avoid collision. Using 3D mapping, DJI explains the updated version aids in smooth transitions and more fluid movements around objects even in highly complex environments.
In accordance with DJI’s 10-point Elevating Safety vision published last year, Mavic Air 2 is also DJI’s first consumer drone designed to include AirSense technology, which provides enhanced safety by warning drone pilots of other aircraft nearby. AirSense uses ADS-B to receive signals from nearby airplanes and helicopters, and displays their location on the drone pilot’s control screen. As these other aircraft approach the drone, DJI explains AirSense will warn the drone pilot with messages, sounds and vibrations.
“DJI has an unwavering commitment to enhance drone safety with technology, and Mavic Air 2 implements yet another pioneering safety solution for drone operations,” said DJI VP of Policy & Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman. “Our ambitious commitment to installing ADS-B in our new product models means Mavic Air 2 will be the world’s largest single deployment of ADS-B receiver technology, fulfilling and furthering our vision as the industry’s leader on voluntary safety efforts.”
More features, tracking, editing and imaging
Mavic Air 2 also includes a FocusTrack tracking feature with three different capture modes, including:
• ActiveTrack 3.0, which allows users to elect a subject for Mavic Air 2 to automatically follow. The third iteration of ActiveTrack uses mapping technology and new flight path algorithms to offer improved subject tracking and obstacle avoidance, along with the ability to quickly re-engage the subject if it temporarily moves behind an object;
• Point of Interest 3.0, which allows users to set an automated flight path around a specific subject. The updated iteration improves surface recognition to better dynamically track subjects; and
• Spotlight 2.0, which is often found in professional DJI drones, to lock a subject in the frame while the user has free operation of the drone’s movement.
As well, a Hyperlapse feature brings what DJI describes as the visual appeal of timelapse but with the added element of the drone physically moving. For the first time, Hyperlapse can be shot in a max resolution of 8K, while pilots can choose four flight modes, including: Free movement, Circle, CourseLock and WayPoints. Pilots can also choose from several pre-programmed flight maneuvers known as QuickShots, which use a 3-axis mechanical gimbal and electronic image stabilization for unmatched video quality. Pilots can choose Rocket, Circle, Dronie, Helix, Boomerang or Asteroid.
Mavic Air 2 also leverages an updated version of the DJI Fly app as a tool to edit and adjust captured footage. Mavic Air 2 will be available in two purchasing options, including a standard package which includes Mavic Air 2, one battery, remote controller and all the required wires and cables for US$799. The Fly More option includes all of the items from the standard version as well as a shoulder bag, ND filters, charging hub, and 3 batteries for US$988.