#016 – The DJI Mavic Pro: A Viable Commercial Drone Platform

In Podcast by Ian SmithLeave a Comment



DJI has announced their Mavic Pro drone, the smallest and most powerful drone they’ve ever created. The new Mavic Pro drone platform has specs and pricing that best the popular Phantom 4 and newly announced GoPro Karma which make it a promising candidate for commercial drone operations. Ian dissects the announcement, features, and viability of using the Mavic Pro for drone inspection and mapping missions.

DJI announced the Mavic Pro drone on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 at 08:30AM Pacific with Michael Perry of DJI as the usual frontman. The tagline for this product is “The world’s first personal drone.”

INITIAL REACTIONS:

  • More portable than the GoPro Karma drone
    • 1/3 the size of a sheet of paper, roughly the size and weight of a large water bottle
  • More features than the Phantom 4 and GoPro Karma at a lower price
    • $749 for just the drone (integrated camera and a battery)
    • $999 for the drone, a battery, and includes the transmitter
      • You definitely want the transmitter version since it includes Lightbridge with new Ocusync technology
    • $1,299 for a bundle of the drone, 2 batteries, spare props, the transmitter, a car charger, a charging hub, and a backpack
  • 27 minute flight time and 24 minute hover time is great
    • 1.64 lbs (743g) total weight
    • 16,404 feet (5,000m) service ceiling
    • 3S LiPo 3,830 mAh capacity
  • The 3-axis gimbal is truly a treat—an impressive engineering feat
  • GLONASS GPS is the acceptable industry-standard at this point
  • 4 vision sensors exist on the Mavic (2 on the bottom and 2 are front-facing) with 49 foot range of obstacle detection
  • The motors supposedly have a new transmission system
  • The 12MP camera is the same sensor as the Phantom 4 but has a slightly smaller FOV
  • 560,000,000 million images and photos were captured from DJI platforms in the past 12 months which is a 200% increase (3x) over the same period a year prior
  • The transmitter (must-buy) gives a 1080p video stream and 720p from up to 4.3 miles (7 km) due to Ocusync technology
    • Will allow “docking” of mobile devices for use of DJI GO app
      • Up to 8.5mm in thickness and 160mm in length (iPad mini is too big but can be used standalone)
      • USB type-C, micro USB, lightning connector
  • Removable windscreen was not addressed but should be used for camera protection and wind resistance for the gimbal at high speeds
    • Not waterproof!
  • Terrain following mode and vision system has a library of object recognition (cars, bikes, boats, dogs, humans) for computer vision tracking
  • Gesture-based drone control is huge (selfies with a hand gesture)—amazing to see DJI taking advantage of computer vision
  • Full SDK support is a must and is fully-compatible with the Mavic Pro
  • Come chat with me at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas on October 31st—we’re a media sponsor!
  • Well-done GoPro Karma/Nick Woodman jab by Michael Perry and crew
  • iJustine “Now I have a drone in my purse” and the marketing video filled with gals are great signs for DJI reaching out to the female demographic who—believe it or not—may be interested in using drones too
  • GoPro stock down up to 6.12% during the DJI Mavic Pro live stream
  • DJI GO can now do some image and video editing with some automated smart features to sync your music to your cuts
    • No evidence yet of a cloud storage offering similar to GoPro’s Plus
  • Geofencing is included which is great for compliant commercial drone operators

Drone technology is shrinking. This is great but it does not diminish the utility of larger platforms that need to have lift capacity to haul larger sensors or payloads. The DJI Mavic Pro is the smallest, most powerful commercially-viable drone on the market. It’s a home run from DJI who continue to push the limits of “prosumer” drones. Look for the Mavic Pro conducting small-scale inspection operations and drone mapping missions in a sky near you.

The battle of David and Goliath is shaping up—DJI is definitely Goliath—but at this time, they won’t be taken down by David.



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