DJI wants to give its drone operators an entire filmmaking crew all in one drone. The company announced the Phantom 4, which aims to provide operators with a spotter, cameraman and pilot, at a press event in New York City today.
“DJI Phantom 4 is redesigned from the ground up not just to be an aerial imaging platform, but to be your creative sidekick,” said Michael Perry, director of strategic partnership at DJI. “We are so excited to bring a filmmaking crew with you and all your adventures around the world.”
The Phantom 4 is designed for beginners to experienced flyers, according to Perry. It features a new obstacle sensing system, ActiveTrack and TapFly.
With the drone’s new obstacle sensing system, the Phantom 4 incorporates obstacle detection and obstacle avoidance technology using two visual sensors to reduce the risk of collision. The drone will automatically scan the area for any obstacles and redirect its flight path. According to Perry, the drone will automatically slow down within 50 feet of an obstacle and take evasive action within six feet.
The ActiveTrack feature aims to improve DJI’s “follow me” technology by using advanced computer vision and machine learning algorithms. According to Perry, it used to be difficult to keep track of a subject as it moved and changed shapes. With ActiveTrack, the drone constantly keeps its subject within view. Users also have the ability to control its camera movement while in ActiveTrack mode, and can move the camera around the object while it is in motion.
The TapFly function aims to improve drone flying, giving users the ability to double-tap a destination on their screen for the Phantom 4 to fly. When a user taps another spot, the drone will smoothly transition toward it.
In addition, the company announced a new sport mode for advanced flyers. In sport mode, the Phantom 4 can fly 45 mph, and ascend and descend more rapidly than other modes. “Sports mode brings the agility and speed back to the Phantom series for professional pilots that want to have fun,” said Perry.
Other features include improved control flight, motor efficiency, a redesigned shell and a new battery. DJI is also providing developers with a new SDK they can use to access the drones intelligent flight functions.
The Phantom 4 is available now for pre-order and is expected to ship on March 15. Drone operators will also be able to purchase the drone through DJI’s flagship stores, Apple.com, and Apple stores.
“With the Phantom 4, we are entering an era where even beginners can fly with confidence,” said DJI CEO Frank Wang. “People have dreamed about one day having a drone collaborate creatively with them. That day has arrived.”