DJI is making a reasonably daring transfer into the world of first-person view (FPV) and racing drones with a new equipment kit introduced as we speak. The package is principally comprised of latest FPV goggles and a small, high-definition digital camera and “air unit” (or transmitter) that may be hooked up to just about no matter you want. DJI’s promise for the brand new package is the power to mainly “FPV anything,” from racing drones to remote-controlled vehicles or boats.
The focus is clearly on the drones, although, and what DJI is promoting right here might supply huge advantages in decision, body fee, and suppleness. The firm will promote two completely different variations of the package beginning as we speak. The $819 “FPV Experience” combo doesn’t embody a controller, but it surely comes with the goggles and two air models and cameras. DJI will promote a $929 “Fly More” model that features a Phantom-style controller with new internals constructed to deal with the low-latency transmission, the goggles, and only one air unit and digital camera. Both kits embody all of the “necessary wires and antennas.”
The huge difference-maker right here is that DJI’s utilizing digital transmission expertise, not the analog tech that a number of different FPV cameras and goggles depend on. This means pilots can stream 720p footage (at both 120 or 60 frames per second) from a drone to the goggles with a latency of 28 milliseconds from as much as 2.5 miles away. The air unit can concurrently document the dwell feed as 1080p / 60 fps or 720p / 120 fps footage onto a microSD card. The goggles may document the dwell feed to a microSD card (although solely at 720p / 60 fps). In the occasion of a crash, the on-goggle recording permits for fast playback that may assist a pilot decide the place their drone went down and guarantee they stroll away with some footage within the occasion of a lack of the microSD card on the drone.
The quicker body charges and the rise in decision imply pilots will be capable of see obstacles that may get obscured by standard-definition FPV footage, like energy strains or tree branches. Higher-definition footage and quicker body charges might additionally make drone racing extra compelling to observe since pilots and viewers will be capable of higher make out opponents passing in entrance of (or being chased by) the dwell feed coming off a drone. (That mentioned, drone racing leagues must undertake DJI’s tech as a normal for any of this to matter.)
The returns of these enhancements have been made clear throughout a brief demo that DJI supplied the press on Tuesday. I used to be capable of make out the main points of close by bushes in addition to one other close by drone when utilizing the brand new FPV goggles in “audience mode” (with a extra succesful pilot on the sticks). The dwell footage was crisp and clear, and I didn’t discover any stutters or lack of sign, although the drone by no means flew various hundred toes away.
DJI additionally strapped the air unit and FPV digital camera to some remote-controlled vans, and as I drove one across the grass, I noticed a bumblebee fly in entrance of the digital camera — a element I most likely would have missed with a standard-definition transmission at a decrease body fee.
DJI launched an FPV headset again in 2017 that was suitable with quite a few the corporate’s personal drones, however the brand new goggles are far much less cumbersome and cumbersome, with a squishy layer of froth to assist cut back red marks. There’s a small joystick and a again button above the best eye of the goggles for transferring by means of menus in addition to a document button for fast entry to capturing footage.
All this new tools isn’t simply for folks excited by racing drones, although. Footage shot by lighter, extra extremely maneuverable FPV drones has began to indicate up in sports activities broadcasts, commercials, and different locations the place aerial pictures has change into mainstream. With that in thoughts, DJI’s new FPV digital camera can seize and transmit footage in a extra cinematic 16:9 side ratio (some racers choose 4:3 for a full view of their environment), and there are completely different coloration profiles to fiddle with as properly.
Drone racing and FPV piloting are each niches inside a distinct segment, and so it’s not stunning that DJI isn’t making a devoted off-the-shelf, all-in-one product for these classes. Instead, the Chinese firm has discovered what appears to be a intelligent approach to enter these two sections of the market by fixing present ache factors for drone racers and FPV cinematographers. If these prospects latch on to what DJI is promoting, perhaps the corporate will transcend what it introduced as we speak and supply an excellent fuller answer.
The expertise concerned on this new package appears engaging sufficient to vary how some people who find themselves already concerned on this slice of the drone market take into consideration what they’re going to purchase subsequent. It may also make the concept of flying FPV drones simpler and extra compelling, which might add just a little extra gasoline to the steadily burning hearth of the patron drone market.