Update: It was falsely reported that Mavic Pro’s maximum range is 7 miles. The actual maximum range is 4.3 miles.
DJI’s first foldable drone, Mavic Pro, has officially taken off. Announced earlier today at a company press event in New York City, Mavic Pro is a compact and foldable quadcopter aimed for the masses.
A new design
From a design standpoint, Mavic Pro is far from the usual DJI drone. The company has been fixed on its well-known but bulky quadcopter design for years, but Mavic Pro ushers a completely new design approach, emphasizing portability and usability. The drone spans roughly a third the size of a piece of paper when folded up; no dedicated carrying case is needed. The camera, which would normally be located on the drone’s belly, is now positioned upward. Mavic Pro even has its own protective cover to shield the camera from damaging impacts.
Still packing 4K
Mavic Pro carries a 4K 12-megapixel camera affixed to a 3-axis gimbal, and that’s perfect for recording anything between selfies and action sports. The companion app, DJI Go, offers numerous flight modes such as circle, trace, sport, and selfie. Circle sends Mavic Pro flying in circles around the subject whereas trace keeps Mavic Pro behind the subject. Sport mode will boost Mavic Pro’s speed to 40 miles per hour, and selfie mode snaps a photo of the subject.
Mavic Pro sports a removable battery that lasts 27 minutes on a single charge. The drone will travel a max distance of 4.3 miles with a top speed of 40 miles an hour. Trees, buildings, and even humans would typically cause havoc for a drone, but Mavic Pro can avoid any drone-deadly impediments thanks to its onboard sensors and brains.
Controlling Mavic Pro is standard compared to other DJI models. The two-joystick controller throttles the drone forward, backward, and sideways with manual input; a single tap is used for easy takeoff and landing. GPS is included for drone localization. Mavic Pro will return to where it took off in the case of connection loss or low battery. With its belly-positioned cameras, Mavic Pro compares video from takeoff to landing to ensure a precise return location.
A phone mount is located underneath the controller, and with a phone connected via DJI’s Go App, users can view 1080p live streamed footage from Mavic Pro. DJI also announced its own heads-up display, DJI Goggles. The goggles work as a first-person viewing headset and boast two 1080 displays at an 85-degree viewing angle. Furthermore, two headsets can sync to one Mavic Pro at a time.
Small body, big brains
Small-sized drones are pretty dumb, but Mavic Pro is just the opposite. Positioned on the drone are 4 vision-assisting cameras and 2 ultrasonic sensors, and these sensors work in conjunction with the 24 computing cores inside Mavic Pro. The drone is capable of following user gestures and dodging obstacles in flight. You can literally wave your arms to get Mavic Pro’s attention or make a camera gesture with your hands to make Mavic Pro snap a selfie.
These smart features do have their limitations. Obstacle avoidance will detect objects between 2 and 98 feet, but with varying precision; obstacle avoidance intentionally shuts off if Mavic Pro is zooming at 40 miles per hour.
Reshape your world
The mantra with Mavic Pro is “reshape your world.” At least that’s what DJI thinks of their spiffy new drone.
“DJI has spent a decade making it easier for anyone to fly, and by rethinking everything about how a drone looks, we have created an entirely new type of aerial platform for anyone to explore their creativity,” said Frank Wang, CEO and founder of DJI.
Mavic Pro goes on sale this October between $750 and $1299 depending on different bundles. The starting price is cheaper than GoPro’s recently-announced (and competing) Karma drone, but we have yet to see how both fare in flight. You can’t remove the camera or gimbal, but for anyone getting started with drones, Mavic Pro should do the trick.