DJI Mavic Air – A Detailed Look Inside

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This article is geared towards exploring the numerous attractive features that set the mighty DJI Mavic Air apart and also endeavors to answer the different questions that many of you have been harboring for so long. The DJI Mavic Air is another marvelously engineered piece of sophisticated technology by DJI.

The quadcopter is compact is size and can be folded for easy portability. Considering its compact size, the drone is loaded with plenty of unique features.

In Mavic Air, DJI have attempted to create a fun-oriented quadcopter that is user-friendly. It is loaded with state of the art technologies such as intelligent gesture recognition, triple axis gimbal, 4K camera and obstacle detecting system that is capable of functioning in three different directions.

In addition, the Follow Me mode in the DJI Mavic Air is way advanced in contract to the DJI Spark or DJI Mavic Pro.

The high quality camera and the smart modes of flight let the pilots capture aerial shots from different angles. This machine has the ability to capture four various kinds of Panorama shots and comes with a smart exposure system to ensure that you get perfect lighting in your video footage and images.

The DJI Mavic Air offers a flight duration of 21 minutes and a video transmission range of 2.48 miles or 4Km. It boasts a control range of 10Km in the absence of wind and can attain an optimum altitude of 5Km (3.1 miles). All these are astonishing figures.

In this DJI Mavic Air review, we will be discussing all these jaw-dropping features and specifications along with some phenomenal videos of this amazing machine.

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Features

The DJI Mavic Air was introduced on 23rd January which was being anticipated by millions of fans all over the world anxiously. The latest model by DJI is loaded with tons of mind-blowing features and specifications. So, without wasting any time, let us delve into the depths of these features.

Despite the fact that the machine has been released recently, there are numerous Mavic Air bundles that can be grabbed from DJI, Amazon and Gearbest.

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Flight Time

As discussed above, the DJI Mavic Air offers a flight duration of 21 minutes at a constant speed of 25Kph in the absence of wind. The machine can hover in the air without any wind for about 20 minutes.

Optimum speed

  • 4Kph (42.5 mph) flying in Sports mode with the radio controller at close to sea level in the absence of wind
  • 8Kph (17.9 mph) optimum speed in P-Mode
  • 8Kph (17.9 mph) optimum speed in WiFi Mode

Ascent Speed

  • 4 meters per second (13 feet) in Sports mode using the Radio Controller
  • 5 meters per second (5 feet) in P-Mode
  • 1 meter per second (3.2 feet) in WiFi mode

Descent Speed

  • 3 meters per second (10 feet) in Sports mode using the Radio Controller
  • 5 meters per second in P-Mode
  • 1 meter per second in Wi-Fi mode

Control Range

It boasts a control range of 10Km (6.2 miles) in the absence of wind.

Global Navigation Satellite System

Both GPS and GLONASS are used by the DJI Mavic Air. The dual satellite system lets the drone fly with immaculate precision and safety.

Optimum altitude above sea level

The optimum altitude that can be attained by the DJI Mavic Air is 5000 meters (3.1 miles). Here is a detailed post on the exact service ceiling of DJI Mavic Air.

Flight in high winds

The DJI Mavic Air has the ability to sustain winds up to 10 meters per second (33 feet per second).

Waterproof or not?

To the dismay of most of the fans out there, the DJI Mavic Air is not waterproof so the pilots should remain careful while flying the machine over bodies of water and even while it is drizzling. It is also judicious not to fly in mist or foggy conditions since the visibility levels decrease significantly in such harsh weather conditions.

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How to fly it?

The DJI Mavic Air can be flown in three different ways:

  • Using a specially designated radio controller
  • Using a smartphone with the help of DJI Go 4 app
  • Using a smartphone connected to the radio controller with the DJI Go 4 app

Optimum video transmission range

The optimum unobstructed and line of sight video transmission range for the DJI Mavic Air is 4Km using the Radio controller and DJI Go 4 app. The flying zone should be void of any electromagnetic interference which tends to obstruct the video transmission.

We recommend you to stay updated with the flying rules and regulations prevalent in your country. The optimum video transmission range that can be attained by the DJI Mavic Air when using a smartphone or tablet is mentioned below:

  • Optimum altitude: 50 meters (164 feet)
  • Optimum range: 80 meters (262 feet)

Video transmission’s resolution

The video transmission of the Mavic Air has a resolution of 720p at a frame rate of 30 frames per second.

Delay in video transmission

The delay in video transmission to the handheld mobile device from the quadcopter is 170 to 240 milliseconds. Having said that, this is entirely dependent upon the performance of your mobile device and signal interference.

Frequency bands supported by video transmission

A frequency band is selected by the DJI Go 4 app automatically by default. However, pilots can manually configure the frequencies between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz.

Obstacle Sensing Technology

The DJI Mavic Air has the ability to sense obstacles in three different directions. It is equipped with a forward, backward and downward Vision system which continuously scans for obstacles in the front and at the back of the drone. The obstacles can be avoided by the machine either by flying around the obstacle or hovering in front of it.

The DJI integrated system of sensors is named as FlightAutonomy 2.0 and includes algorithms as well as VIO technology that enables the drone to sense obstacles in its surroundings and react accordingly.

Visual Inertial Odometry technology is responsible for amalgamating data acquired from the camera and the sensors particularly the gyroscopes and accelerometers to precisely get an estimate of the position of the drone without banking on the system of satellites.

Visual Inertial odometry technology is employed in DJI integrated system of sensors referred to as FlightAutonomy 2.0. It comprises a primary gimbal camera, forward, backward and downward dual vision sensors, downward infrared sensing system, IMU redundancies and a cluster of computing cores.

All this equipment collates the requisite information from the surroundings and transmit it to the powerful computer for accurate hovering and enhanced flight performance.

The current location of the drone is maintained with the help of the downward vision system which lets the machine hover accurately over a certain point. It also enables the DJI Mavic Air to fly indoors or in other such environments where GPS signal is not accessible.

The Downward Vision System comprises a couple of cameras and a 3D Infrared module.

APAS System

The DJI Mavic Air is equipped with the all new Advanced Air Pilot Assistance (APAS) technology that allows the machine to avoid hindrances in front of it while the drone is being controlled with the help of the radio controller.

To put it simply, the DJI Mavic Air constantly scans its surrounding environment for any probable hindrances. The Mavic Air determines a secure path around the obstruction in case it detects one by virtue of this unique technology which has been incorporated for the first time ever by DJI in any of its drones.

If the drone is not able to determine a secure path around the obstruction, it stops right there and hovers over that location.

Last update was on: April 20, 2018 8:06 am

DJI Mavic Air Sensing System Specifications

Forward Sensing

  • Precision Measurement Range: 0.5 – 10 meters (1.6 to 33 feet)
  • Detectable Range: 0.5 – 20 meters (1.6 to 66 feet)
  • Effective Sensing Speed: ≤ 8 m/s (26 feet)
  • Field of View: Horizontal 50°, Vertical ±19°

Downward Sensing

  • Altitude Range: 0.1 – 8 meters (0.3 to 26 feet)
  • Operating Range: 0.5 – 30 meters (1.6 to 98 feet)

Keep in mind that there could be several factors and surrounding environmental conditions wherein the sensing system would simply stop functioning or would not be able to function at its maximum capacity. For instance, vision sensors are not able to function properly in darkness or poor light conditions. The working of vision and infrared sensors is also hindered by reflective or transparent surfaces. Do not forget to go through the Mavic Air Sensing System section in the user manual that comes along with the device.

Obstacle sensing is an impressive technology and if you are interested in getting to know more about it in detail, this article titled “Top Collision Avoidance Drones and Obstacle Detection Explained” would come in really handy.

Mavic Air Return to Home Safety Feature

The Return to Home functionality makes the Mavic Air return back to its last determined home location. This feature comes in handy during the flight adventures and provides a sense of satisfaction to both the novices as well as the seasoned pilots. The Return to Home functionality has been enhanced and surpasses the one that has been employed in the previous versions of quadcopters.

As described above, there are three types of Return to Home features:

  • Intelligent RTH: Initiated by the pilot by tapping the H button in the DJI Go 4 app or by pressing the RTH button on the radio controller
  • Low battery RTH: Once the battery levels plummet to unsafe levels and the secure return of the Mavic Pro comes under threat, the Low Battery RTH is triggered.
  • Failsafe RTH: A real time map of the trajectory to be followed by the drone is created by the Forward Vision system during the flight. If the Home location has been determined, the Failsafe RTH is triggered automatically if the signal from the radio controller is lost for 3 seconds when flying the drone with a radio controller or 20 seconds if the drone is being controlled by a handheld mobile device.

Obstacle avoidance during Return to Home

The Mavic Air is equipped with an inherent ability to sense and stay clear of hindrances during automatic Return to Home. The obstacle avoidance during Return to Home functions in the following manner:

  1. When an obstacle is sensed, the Mavic Air decelerates
  2. It stops and begins to hover, then it flies backward and ascends upwards until no obstacle is identified
  3. The Return to Home process is initiated again and the Mavic Air gets back to its original landing spot

As discussed earlier, the Vision Sensors do not function properly in poor light conditions or may even stop functioning. When you purchase a Mavic Air, it is always judicious to go through the user manual and the sections on Vision Systems, Intelligent Flight Battery and Return to Home features in particular.

Follow Me Mode

Up to 16 subjects or individuals can be sensed via the Mavic Air Active Track technology which can later be selected by the pilot on the display screen in the DJI Go 4 app. The requisite tracking subject can then be chosen.

The Active Track feature makes the drone follow you thanks to its highly accurate tracking capability and expanded scenario applications even when the subject is running, surfing or cycling. The drone has the ability to follow individuals, cycles, cars, bikes etc.

There are three different Mavic Air follow me modes:

  • Trace Mode: In this mode, the drone foll
  • ows the subject from a constant distance and ensures that it remains in the frame.
  • Spotlight Mode: The camera is directed towards the subject during the flight.
  • Profile Mode: The subject is locked in the frame at a constant angle and distance from sideways.

There is no lateral obstacle avoidance provided in the DJI Mavic Air so the pilot has to be circumspect while flying in the profile mode.

Autonomous Flight Modes

Points of Interest Waypoints

The Points of Interest feature allows the pilot to choose a subject or an object while the Mavic Air flies around the target object within the specified radius, at a given elevation and a certain speed.

TapFly

The TapFly mode can be switched on and off in the DJI Go 4 app and is an excellent feature for cinematographers and photographers.

It allows a pilot to make the drone follow the trajectory created by tapping on the display screen in the DJI Go 4 app. It functions in the forward, backward, free and coordinate modes.

  • Forward: The Forward Vision System is employed as the drone moves towards the target object using the obstacle avoidance technology.
  • Backward: The drone moves in a direction opposite to the target object by employing the Backward Vision System and obstacle avoidance technology simultaneously.
  • Free: In this mode of autonomous flight, the drone moves towards the object target but the pilot can use the radio controller to control the movement of the Mavic Air.
  • Coordinate: Once tapped on a certain location in the DJI Go 4 app, the drone flies towards the desired location at its current elevation and begins to hover.

The direction of the Mavic Air can be modified by tapping on some other area of the screen where the pilot intends the machine to fly to. The flight speed can also be altered while the TapFly mode of flight has been triggered.

Gimbal

The Mavic Air is equipped with state of the art camera and comes with a triple axis stabilization gimbal with an angular vibration range that has been decreased to 0.005 degrees. Most of the other drone developers cannot even determine the angular vibration range of their camera gimbals. The gimbal is configured in a triangular fashion with upgraded dampeners for enhanced gimbal stability.

4k Camera

Video is captured at 30 frames per second and a resolution of 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) technology. The video footage is recorded at a bitrate of 100Mbps while the camera has the ability to capture video footage at 120fps and 1080p resolution.

Panorama Shots

Following panorama modes are supported by the DJI Mavic Air:

  • Vertical: The camera has the ability to automatically capture three vertical images which are then stitched together into a single panorama
  • Horizontal: Nine aerial images are captured from varying angles and are then stitched together into a single panorama
  • 180o: The drone’s body is rotated at an angle of 180 degrees while the camera captures 21 images. These are then stitched together in the DJI Go 4 app to create 180 degrees panoramas.
  • Sphere: In this mode, the machine is rotated while the gimbal camera captures 25 images. These are then stitched together to produce stunning 32MP spherical panoramas.

Intelligent Exposure System

Latest High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography algorithms are employed by DJI Mavic Air which assist in attaining the requisite exposure configuration in a smart manner in accordance with the lighting of the surrounding environment.

A natural transition between highlights and shadows is ensured with regard to over exposed or dark areas while DSP acceleration enables efficient image capturing.

HDR is the difference between the lightest and the darkest regions that can be captured in an image.

As soon as the dynamic range of the camera is exceeded by the subject, the highlights are washed out to white or dark areas and huge black blobs are created.

Capturing an image which encompasses both ends of the spectrum but with the new DJI HDR algorithms, the machine automatically configures the camera exposure settings.

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Still Images

The camera comprises a 12MP CMOS sensor and a f/2.8 lens along with a 35mm focal length of 24mm to capture high quality images and videos.

Sensor and Still Shots Size

  • 1/2.3” CMOS
  • Effective Pixels: 12MP
  • 4:3 aspect ratio and 4056 x 3040 resolution
  • 16:9 aspect ratio and 4056 x 2280 resolution

Lens

  • Field of View (FOV): 85°
  • 35mm Format Equivalent Focal Length: 24mm
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Shooting Range: 0.5 m to ∞

This stupendous machine lets you capture some scintillating shots despite its compact size.

Quickshots

The Mavic Air offers six varying QuickShots options. The first four given below have also be integrated in DJI Spark while the Asteroid and the Boomerang are the new additions. These QuickShots options let the pilot focus on capturing the right shots while the machine takes care of its flight. Here are the quickshots options:

  • Rocket: The Mavic Air moves in the upward direction with the camera directed downward
  • Dronie: The drone flies backward and upward, with the camera locked on the target object
  • Circle: The Mavic Air circles around the target object
  • Helix: In this QuickShot mode, the Mavic Air flies upward while spiraling around the target object
  • Asteroid: The drone flies backward and upward as it takes several photos and then flies to the original point of take-off
  • Boomerang: The Mavic Air flies backward around the target object in an oval path

Smart Capture and Gesture Recognition

Face Aware and Palm Control options are utilized by the SmartCapture mode to capture selfies, record videos and control the DJI Mavic Air.

Gesture Launch, Follow and Land

This is a recently upgraded mode that has been added to the DJI Mavic Air. Once the drone has taken off, the quadcopter can be controlled with the help of hand gestures while the images can also be captured with the help of hand gestures.

The Mavic Air utilizes the vision sensors located on the front of the machine and smart gesture recognition technology to recognize the hand gestures and take relevant action based on the gestures.

This mode of flight is easy to configure. The pilot simply has to activate the FaceAware and PalmControl options by selecting the SmartCapture feature in the DJI Go 4 app on your handheld mobile device.

The Mavic Air is then placed on a smooth surface facing the pilot at a distance of about 1.5 to 3 meters. The pilot then points the palm of the hand to the machine.

After a few moments, the drone takes off and ascends to the pilot’s level of eyes. The pilot can then control the drone with the palm of his or her hands.

The gestures can be used to move the drone away or close to the pilot, capture images using the Peace sign and capture videos by creating a frame using fingers at the level of chin. This is such a fantastic technology.

The Mavic Air also lets the pilot to switch control to another person who can then control the machine.

Keep in mind that the SmartCapture feature only lets the Mavic Air to fly at eye level when it is 3 meters away or closer from the pilot. This ensures enhanced flight safety and control accuracy. The pilot can tell the drone to fly higher or lower when it gets further away from this range.

Optimum Control Range in SmartCapture Mode

  • 5 to 6 meters

Video Resolutions

  • 4K Ultra HD: 3840 × 2160 24/25/30p
  • 7K: 2720 × 1530 24/25/30/48/50/60p
  • FHD: 1920 × 1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p
  • HD: 1280 × 720 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p

Images and Video Storage

The drone comes with 8GB internal storage that lets the pilots save images and video footages to the drone itself. The files can later on be exported via a USB 3.0 Type-C port. The drone also comes with a Micro SD card slot that is compatible with the following cards:

  • 16 GB Sandisk Extreme
  • 32 GB Sandisk Extreme V30 A1
  • 64 GB Sandisk Extreme V30 Pro A1
  • 128 GB Sandisk Extreme V30 Pro A1

Support for DJI Goggles

The Mavic Air is compatible with DJI Goggles which have proved themselves as handy accessories over the past couple of years. The user experience with the goggles is quite incredible as they can be a useful option on bright sunny days.

Last update was on: April 20, 2018 8:06 am

Mavic Air Package

The original packaging for the DJI Mavic Air contains:

  • Mavic Air Quadcopter With Propellers x 1
  • Radio Controller x 1
  • Intelligent Fight Battery x 1
  • Extra Propellers x 2
  • AC Power Adapter x 1
  • AC Power Cable x 1
  • Propeller Guards Set x 1
  • Gimbal Protector x 1
  • USB 3.0 Cable Type C x 1
  • USB Adapter
  • RC Slider Cables x 3
  • Small Carrying Case x 1
  • Pair of Spare Remote Control Sticks x 1
  • Manuals x 5

The Mavic Air Combo bundle is the best way to go as the customer gets the above mentioned items along with three additional batteries that offer almost a whopping 84 minutes of flight duration, additional propellers, charging hub for all the batteries and a carrying case.

Review Videos

The review video focuses on the design, flight, gimbal, camera and the underlying technology.

The next review video brings to the forefront the differences between the DJI Mavic Air and DJI Mavic Pro along with the DJI Phantom 4 Pro in the serene environment of Bermuda. This is a magnificent video to be honest and will definitely provide you massive insight into the machine and its inherent features.

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