“We’re going to show you something revolutionary that’s going to shorten the time between inspiration and creativity like never before.”
When Michael Perry, DJI’s director of strategic partnerships, took the stage at the company’s launch event for the newest member of its drone family, he surprised the crowd by revealing “something revolutionary” not from the lone backpack sitting on the podium, but from a pouch on his back pocket.
Touting it as one-third the size of a piece of paper and the weight of a bottle of water, Perry introduced the DJI Mavic Pro, a foldable, portable unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with a 4K, 12-megapixel camera stabilized by a three-axis gimbal.
The world’s “most popular camera,” he said, is a smartphone: “Just pull it out of your pocket, and you’re ready to capture your image.”
With the Mavic Pro, DJI is aiming to bring that capability to drones with what Perry called the “simplest interface [DJI] has ever created.”
“Sometimes you need portable, accessible tools to tell your story,” he said.The Mavic Pro, offering up to 27 minutes of airtime, can be flown by its remote controller – which also features scaled-down dimensions – or by the operator’s smartphone, which DJI says can enable a setup-to-airborne time of under a minute.
According to the product’s press release, the drone’s FlightAutonomy system – the “brain and nervous system” of the UAS – enables autonomous navigation, as well as obstacle avoidance (at up to 22 mph), which Perry said can “give you a lot more confidence during flight.”
In addition, the system enables Gesture mode, which allows operators to gesture to the drone to take a selfie; ActiveTrack, which recognizes moving subjects (even animals or vehicles) and follows them; Terrain Follow mode, which allows operators to “race up a slope behind a subject while remaining at a constant height”; and Tripod mode, which is designed specifically for using the drone inside.
And the drone isn’t just for aerial photographers, either. DJI is also appealing to drone racers by including the Sport mode, which can send the Mavic Pro flying at speeds up to a whopping 40 mph and increase its “agility and responsiveness,” DJI’s press release says.
But wait; there’s even more for racers.
“If you’re going to fly,” Perry said at the event, “we want you to really feel the experience of flying.”
He then whipped out of the backpack (the decoy for the Mavic Pro’s location earlier) the DJI Goggles, which display an 85-degree field of view of what the drone is seeing.
Moreover, Perry said his favorite part of the goggles is that you can “share this experience with your friends.” Two DJI Goggles can be mated with one Mavic Pro, and in turn, “you and your friends can both experience the thrill of racing at the same time,” he explained.
Perry later brought out pro skier Jon Olsson and YouTube star Justine Ezarik, who both shared what the Mavic Pro has already brought to their filming capabilities.
Ezarik – who, under the name iJustine, has been making YouTube videos for the past decade – said she often has to lug around “suitcases full of equipment” when she goes to film.
She then took out the Mavic Pro from her actual purse and marveled at the stark contrast in filming accessibility.
“For me, this is definitely going to change my life,” said Ezarik, who also noted the DJI Go app, which allows instant sharing and live streaming of content to social media.
DJI is not making customers wait to experience the new technology: The UAS can now be pre-ordered and will start shipping in mid-October. In addition, DJI will be showcasing the Mavic Pro at global Apple stores starting Nov. 2.
With the remote controller, the Mavic Pro is running at a price of $999; without the remote controller, it’s $749. A “Mavic Pro Fly More Combo” is also available for $1,299 and includes the drone, extra propellers and batteries, a shoulder bag, and other accessories.
Notably, GoPro – which is a member of the Drone Manufacturers Alliance with DJI, as well as 3DR and Parrot – just came out earlier this month with its long-anticipated Karma drone, which also stresses the theme of portability by featuring a “compact design that fits in a small backpack.” The Karma is running for $799.99 and $1,099.99 without and with a GoPro camera, respectively.
While wrapping up the Mavic Pro’s introduction and before letting the audience members check out the technology firsthand, Perry explained the effect the new drone could have on aerial imaging in general.
“We are so excited about the DJI Mavic Pro. We think it is going to fundamentally change the way you capture and experience the world around you – letting you really understand what a perception shift the ability to fly really enables.”