DJI Mavic Air

The Mavic Air the New Folding Aerial Photography Drone from DJI

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DJI Mavic Air Aerial Photography Drone

DJI Mavic Air
 This is the first image of the DJI Mavic Air

 

Above is the teaser video that DJI put out before the Foldable Mavic Air release was confirmed.

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After much speculation DJI have finally announced the imminent release of their latest Aerial Photography Drone the elegant, impressive, foldable DJI Mavic Air. The small foldable pocket rocket drone will not disappoint even the most ardent of drone flyers. It’s sleek and fast and the DJI Mavic Air is packed with all the latest drone technology. This advanced streamline Aerial Photography Drone is likely to further distance DJI from the competition.

‘As tall and wide as a smartphone when folded, the Mavic Air is an ultraportable drone that stretches the boundaries of what’s possible for a device its size.’

It has been confirmed that the DJI Mavic Air will come in a number of different colours.

DJI Mavic Air
New Body Shape for the foldable Mavic Air

Will the DJI Mavic Air be the Best Drone 2018?

Many Drone makers have been trying their very hardest to produce an Aerial Photography folding drone that can compete with the massively successful DJI Mavic Pro. Unfortunately for them they haven’t come up with a Foldable Drone that poses a serious challenge to DJI’s dominance of this market space. We have seen many announcements introducing Mavic ‘Killers” that are soon to be released, some cheaper than the Mavic, those that are trying to compete on price points, and some that look extremely good on paper.

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DJI Mavic Air Drone Remote Control
Mavic Air Remote Control

Many of these folding drones have failed to meet their release date, the GDU O2 Folding Drone is a prime example of a foldable drone that has yet failed to materialise. Announced in September 2017 for November release it is still not available to purchase in late January 2018. Autel Robotics a drone company who released an Aerial Photography Phantom type drone the X-Star announced at CES they would be releasing a folding model the EVO that looks on paper to be a rival to the DJI Mavic Pro as yet we have no price points or delivery dates.

DJI Mavic Air
Great Camera Spec on the Mavic Air

These drone makers are playing catch-up and now DJI are releasing the Foldable Mavic Air they will struggle to gain any traction in this drone space. Like it or loathe it the DJI Mavic Pro is is the most commercially successful consumer drone made to date and this  latest version of the Mavic the Air is likely to become even more commercially successful.

As you can see the DJI Mavic Air is smaller in size than the DJI Mavic Pro but slightly larger than the DJI Spark with the arms extended. The Air is however slightly smaller with the arms folded in making the perfect take everywhere drone.

DJI have worked hard on the design of this model and have made the Mavic Air very aerodynamic. I love the size look and styling of the DJI Mavic Air, it is the perfect folding drone to take on your travels. I has been designed for fast deployment so you can have the Mavic Air up quickly to capture lovely videos and stunning photographs. You won’t find a better entry level Aerial Photography Drone than the Mavic Air. I’m a big fan of the DJI Spark it really delivers some superb results and I think it is very under-rated however if your budget stretches to the DJI Mavic Air I would suggest you go for this Aerial Photography Drone from DJI.

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Let’s have good look at the specification of the DJI Mavic Air Aerial Photography folding drone.

DJI Mavic Air Specification

DJI Mavic Air Specification

DJI Mavic Air Flight Time

The flight time for the Mavic Air will be 21 minutes on a full battery charge

DJI Mavic Air Battery

The Air will be powered by a Lipo Smart Battery

DJI Mavic Air Camera
Mavic Air Camera

DJI Mavic Air Camera specification

It will have a 12 MP camera and shoot 4K video at 30fps. Designed to give you the very best Aerial Photography the Mavic Air boasts an impressive sensor 1/2.3 CMOS sensor with a F/2.8  lens with a 35mm equivalent 24mm focal length. I will be able to shoot 32 MP panoramas take HDR photographs and shoot ultra slow video at 1080P 120 fps. The DJI Mavic Air will have 8 gigabytes  of internal storage and you can export files via a USB 3.0 Type-C port.

DJI Mavic Air Colour Choice : Red, White and Black

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DJI Mavic Air Advanced Features

Active Track

ActiveTrack can sense up to 16 selectable subjects simultaneously,2 letting you choose the right tracking subject. With higher tracking precision and broader scenario applications, ActiveTrack follows targets even when they’re running, jumping, or cycling. This makes the Air the perfect drone to take anywhere with you and capture those special moments.


QuickShot Options

Choose from six different QuickShots — Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Asteroid, and Boomerang. All are just a tap away and will get you those epic selfie drone videos without needing to think about composing your shot. Share your new creations to social media through the DJI GO 4 app instantly.


SmartCapture

Fun, simple, and intuitive, SmartCapture offers a new and interactive way of controlling the Mavic Air by hand. Launch and control the drone with hand gestures, then take photos or videos however you like.


TapFly

If you want to focus on just your shot, select TapFly in DJI GO 4, which lets you fly wherever you tap on your mobile device screen. TapFly works in Forward, Backward, Free, and Coordinate modes, and you can adjust flight speed to suit all your aerial needs


Mavic Air FlightAutonomy 2.0

Using advanced VIO technology, the powerful sensor system in FlightAutonomy 2.0 consists of a primary gimbal camera, forward, backward, and downward dual-vision sensors, downward infrared sensing system, IMU redundancies, and a group of computing cores. Together, they collect and transmit information from the surrounding environment to the high-performance processor for more precise hovering and better flight performance. Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS) allow the aircraft to bypass obstacles in front of and behind it actively. Your grand adventures of discovery have never been so safe and easy.


Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO)

A combination of VIO technology and the new positioning algorithm has doubled the Mavic Air’s precision positioning. VIO technology calculates the speed and attitude of the aircraft in real-time and locates it, making dual-camera attitude measurements while hovering or flying at any speed. The working range of the vision positioning system is now 0.5 to 30 meters. With VIO technology, the Mavic Air hovers more precisely indoors and responds better to complex environments with finer control stick movement.


 3D Map Building

Equipped with an advanced sensing system, the Mavic Air locates itself with accuracy and precision. By processing data from the seven cameras at the front, bottom, and rear of the body, alongside the advanced infrared sensors and IMU, the Mavic Air will construct a 3D map by sensing the environment in real time, which significantly improves overall flight safety.

3 directional sensors, Visual Positioning, Fixed wing mode, gestures controls.


Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS)

APAS is the result of DJI’s extensive research on flight path calculation. Users can keep flying forwards and backwards, and APAS will plan an appropriate flight path to bypass obstacles automatically.


3D Map Building

Equipped with an advanced sensing system, the Mavic Air locates itself with accuracy and precision. By processing data from the seven cameras at the front, bottom, and rear of the body, alongside the advanced infrared sensors and IMU, the Mavic Air will construct a 3D map by sensing the environment in real time, which significantly improves overall flight safety.


Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS)

APAS is the result of DJI’s extensive research on flight path calculation. Users can keep flying forwards and backwards, and APAS will plan an appropriate flight path to bypass obstacles automatically.


Multiple Redundancies

Besides dual IMUs, FlightAutonomy 2.0 has more redundant modules to increase the Mavic Air’s safety level. The Vision Compass will assist the navigation system to estimate flight direction when the compass experiences interference. When only one direction of the front, bottom, or rear vision systems is functioning normally, the aircraft will still position itself successfully. There are two sets of sensor fusion algorithms based on two independent hardware platforms. When an error occurs to one set of algorithms, the aircraft will switch to the other pair seamlessly to resume normal functionality.


More Reliable Return to Home (RTH)

Expanding on existing RTH systems, the Mavic Air will ensure the safest flight path during RTH. It does this by recording its real-time flight path, and when the control signal gets lost, the aircraft will fly towards the Home Point, bypassing any signal obstruction and reconnect to the controller. When the Mavic Air detects an obstacle, it will choose a proper path to bypass it according to its altitude. The aircraft will match the images of the ground with those captured at takeoff for increased landing accuracy. When landing automatically, the Mavic Air will scan the terrain of the landing area in real-time, then warn the user and safely hover if it detects an obstacle or water in the landing area.

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Full Specification

 Mavic Air Drone

Takeoff Weight 430 g
Dimensions Folded: 168×83×49 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded: 168×184×64 mm (L×W×H)
Diagonal Distance 213 mm
Max Ascent Speed 3 m/s (S – mode[1])
2 m/s (P – mode)
2 m/s (Wi-Fi mode)
Max Descent Speed 2 m/s (S – mode[1])
1.5 m/s (P – mode)
1 m/s (Wi-Fi mode)
Max Speed (near sea level, no wind) 68.4 kph (S – mode[1])
28.8 kph (P – mode)
28.8 kph (Wi-Fi mode)
Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level 5000 m
Max Flight Time (no wind) 21 minutes (at a consistent 25 kph)
Max Hovering Time (no wind) 20 minutes
Max Flight Distance (no wind) 10 km (at a consistent 25 kph)
Max Wind Speed Resistance 29 – 38 kph
Max Tilt Angle 35° (S – mode[1])
25° (P – mode)
Max Angular Velocity 250°/s (S – mode[1])
250°/s (P – mode)
Operating Temperature Range 0°C – 40°C
Operating Frequency 2.400 – 2.4835 GHz
5.725 – 5.850 GHz
Transmission Power (EIRP) 2.400 – 2.4835 GHz   FCC: ≤28 dBm
CE: ≤19 dBm
SRRC: ≤19 dBm
MIC: ≤19 dBm
5.725 – 5.850 GHz    FCC: ≤31 dBm
CE: ≤14 dBm
SRRC: ≤27 dBm
GNSS GPS + GLONASS
Hovering Accuracy Range Vertical: ±0.1 m (with Vision Positioning)
±0.5 m (with GPS Positioning)
Horizontal: ±0.1 m (with Vision Positioning)
±1.5 m (with GPS Positioning)
Internal Storage 8 GB

Mavic Air Gimbal

Mechanical Range Tilt: -100° to 22°
Roll: -30° to 30°
Pan: -12° to 12°
Controllable Range Tilt: -90° to 0° (default setting)
-90° to +17° (extended)
Stabilization 3-axis (tilt, roll, pan)
Max Control Speed (tilt) 120°/s
Angular Vibration Range ±0.005°

Mavic Air Camera

Sensor 1/2.3” CMOS
Effective Pixels: 12 MP
Lens FOV: 85°
35 mm Format Equivalent: 24 mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Shooting Range: 0.5 m to ∞
ISO Range Video: 100 – 1600 (auto)
100 – 1600 (manual)
Photo: 100 – 1600 (auto)
100 – 3200 (manual)
Shutter Speed Electronic Shutter: 8 – 1/8000s
Still Image Size 4:3: 4056×3040
16:9: 4056×2280
Still Photography Modes Single shot
HDR
Burst shooting: 3/5/7 frames
Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7EV Bias
Interval: 2/3/5/7/10/15/20/30/60 s
Video Resolution 4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160 24/25/30p
2.7K: 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
Max Video Bitrate 100Mbps
Supported File System FAT32
Photo Format JPEG/DNG (RAW)
Video Format MP4/MOV (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC)

Sensing System

Forward Precision Measurement Range: 0.5 – 12 m
Detectable Range: 0.5 – 24 m
Effective Sensing Speed: ≤ 8 m/s
Field of View (FOV): Horizontal 50°, Vertical ±19°
Backward Precision Measurement Range: 0.5 – 10 m
Detectable Range: 0.5 – 20 m
Effective Sensing Speed: ≤ 8 m/s
Field of View (FOV): Horizontal 50°, Vertical ±19°
Downward Altitude Range: 0.1 – 8 m
Operating Range: 0.5 – 30 m
Operating Environment Forward: Surface with clear pattern and adequate lighting (lux > 15)
Backward: Surface with clear pattern and adequate lighting (lux > 15)
Downward: Detects clearly patterned surfaces with adequate lighting (lux>15) and diffuse reflectivity (>20%)

Remote Controller

Operating Frequency 2.400 – 2.4835 GHz
5.725 – 5.850 GHz
Max Transmission Distance
(unobstructed, free of interference)
2.400 – 2.4835 GHz:    FCC: 4000 m
CE: 2000 m
SRRC: 2000 m
MIC: 2000 m
5.725 – 5.850 GHz:       FCC: 4000 m
CE: 500 m
SRRC: 2500 m
Operating Temperature Range 0℃ – 40℃
Transmission Power (EIRP) 2.400 – 2.4835 GHz:   FCC: ≤26 dBm
CE: ≤18 dBm
SRRC: ≤18 dBm
MIC:≤18 dBm
5.725 – 5.850 GHz:     FCC: ≤30 dBm
CE: ≤14 dBm
SRRC: ≤26 dBm
Battery 2970 mAh
Operating Current/Voltage 1400 mA ⎓ 3.7 V (Android)
750 mA ⎓ 3.7 V (iOS)
Supported Mobile Device Size Max length: 160 mm
Supported Thickness: 6.5-8.5 mm
Supported USB Port Types Lightning, Micro USB (Type-B), USB-C

Mobile Device Control

Operating Frequency 2.400 – 2.4835 GHz
5.725 – 5.850 GHz
Max Transmission Distance (unobstructed, free of interference) Distance: 80 m
Height: 50 m

Intelligent Flight Battery

Capacity 2375 mAh
Voltage 11.55 V
Max Charging Voltage 13.2 V
Battery Type LiCoO₂ 3S
Energy 27.43 Wh
Net Weight 140 g
Charging Temperature Range 5℃ – 40℃
Max Charging Power 60 W

Charger

Input 100 – 240 V, 50/60 Hz, 1.4 A
Output Main: 13.2 V ⎓ 3.79 A
USB: 5 V ⎓ 2 A
Voltage 13.2 V
Rated Power 50 W

APP

Video Transmission System Enhanced Wi-Fi
Name DJI GO 4
Live View Quality Remote Controller: 720p@30fps
Smart Device: 720p@30fps
DJI Goggles: 720p@30fps
Latency (depending on enviornmental conditions and mobile device) 170 – 240 ms
Required Operating System iOS v9.0 or later
Android v4.4 or later

Supported SD Cards

Supported SD Cards microSD
Class 10 or UHS-1 rating required
Recommended microSD Cards 16G
32G
64G
128G

Footnotes

Footnotes [1] Remote controller reqired.

 

There will be be standard version of the Air that will go on sale for $799 and a Fly More Combo for $999.

DJI Mavic Air
DJI Mavic Air Sensors

Main Differences between the Mavic Pro and Mavic Air

  • The Mavic Air weighs onlys 430g (0.95lb), making it 41% lighter than the Mavic Pro
  • When it is folded the Air is about 50% the size of the Pro
  • the Air’s maximum speed is 68.4km/h (42.5mph) against the Pro’s 65km/h (40mph)
  • the Air’s maximum flight time is 21 minutes, about 6 minutes shorter than the standard Pro (The Mavic Platinum boasts a slightly longer flight time)
  • the Air’s maximum control range is 4km, 3.2km less than the Pro’s

 

Mavic Pro v Mavic Air
Mavic Pro v Mavic Air, Comparison Chart

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In this blog post I will also compare the new DJI Mavic Air with a number of other folding drones that will go on sale in early 2018. From first impressions of the Air I cannot see any of the competition getting close to the amazing array of features that the Air has. I have just asked Charles Wang of GDU what he thought of the Air and he replied it was an updated Spark. The Mavic Air will massively outsell the GDU O2 foldable drone of that I’m 100% certain.

Folding Drone for aerial photography
Top-Down 11 Mile Beach one of my favourite images from the DJI Mavic

About the Author:

Paul has been flying and reviewing drones for nearly five years. He is passionate about this rapidly evolving hobby and has owned many Aerial Photography DJI Phantom Drones from the DJI Phantom 2 through to the Phantom 4. He has also flown the DJI Spark, the DJI Inspire 2 with the X4S camera and the DJI Inspire 2 with the X5S camera. Presently he is Australia with his DJI Mavic Pro and he flies this folding drone at very opportunity. He says this ‘If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would one day be flying a folding drone with a 4K video camera in Esperance Western Australia I would have laughed at them. The DJI Mavic Pro is just a superb example of how drone technology has evolved over the last few years. I cannot wait to test this latest drone the DJI MAVIC AIR.’

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