Premier quadcopter manufacturer DJI has launched its latest version of the popular Phantom. The DJI Phantom 4 remains aesthetically similar to its predecessor, although it now sports an on-board AI to make flying – and capturing video – so much easier.
The Phantom 4 is now equipped with two forward facing optical sensors that allow it to detect obstacles and avoid them. In other words, the drone will not allow people to fly it into trees or walls. In the event that the drone cannot plot a course around the obstacle, it will instead stop moving forward and hover.
This avoidance system also works when the Return Home function is engaged, giving operators peace of mind in knowing that their Phantom 4 hasn’t flown itself into oblivion.
DJI also expands the AI to allow the Phantom 4 to function more independently. A new ActiveTrack mode allows operators to lock the drone onto a single object and track it. When this is engaged, the drone will automatically keep its camera centered on the subject, even if it tries to move away. Essentially, this allows for the drone to do all the work during tracking shots.
Those who aren’t interested in actually flying the Phantom 4 can also make use of the TapFly function. This allows the operator to set a destination on the display and simply let the drone fly itself over to the location. TapFly also engages the obstacle avoidance system, which ensures that the Phantom 4 doesn’t run into anything while making its way to its destination.
Drone racing is rapidly gaining popularity, and DJI has not missed this fact. The Phantom 4 has the option to switch to Sport Mode, which increases its top speed to 20m/s. The Phantom’s ability to ascend and descend also gets a boost in this mode.
Pre-orders for the DJI Phantom 4 are already open on DJI.com and Apple.com for a price of $1399 (about RM5800). The drones are expected to ship to customers and Apple stores on 15 March. Other stores will open pre-orders on 23 March and will begin shipping on 1 April.