This thing is surreal. Four rotors buzz as the white aircraft glides through the air. The drone is shaped almost like the letter ‘X,’ with two striped ‘arms’ indicating which side is the front. Lights on the aircraft's underside intermittently glow in otherworldly shades of orange and green. The device would not seem out of place in a science fiction movie.
Yet, this is reality, and that thing is the Phantom 2 Vision, developed and manufactured by DJI Innovations. The company makes small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for commercial and recreational use.
DJI calls the quadcopter ‘your flying camera,’ and the company's website highlights the drone's capabilities for photography and videography. In fact, the UAS comes with an integrated camera that can produce high-resolution images and has a 4 GB micro SD card. The camera also supports a variety of 46 mm lens filters.
The aircraft features an integrated mobile phone first-person-view system, allowing a real-time view of the drone's surroundings through the camera's perspective. A mobile device simply slides into a dock on the UAS' remote controller.
Furthermore, the Phantom 2 Vision can fly for 25 minutes using a lithium polymer battery, and Wi-Fi connectivity is enabled for distances of up to 300 meters. An integrated GPS autopilot system allows the drone to hover at a stable altitude, and the UAS provides real-time telemetry data and flight parameters.
DJI notes that the UAS includes an intelligent operator control that displays the aircraft's current position in relation to the pilot. If the Phantom 2 Vision surpasses the range of the remote controller, it will automatically fly back and land at its launch site using the return-to-home feature. In addition, ground station support enables operators to plan automated flights.
The Phantom 2 Vision also streamlines the process of sharing the images its camera captures. With the DJI Phantom Vision Mobile app, operators can instantly upload photos and videos to Facebook, YouTube and other social networking websites. Moreover, users can synchronize the content of the camera's SD card with their phones' photo albums via Wi-Fi.
For photographers on the go, the UAS is not a burden to carry. Excluding the remote controller, the Phantom 2 Vision weighs approximately 2.56 pounds, and its dimensions are roughly 11 inches by 11 inches by 7 inches. As a picture on DJI's website demonstrates, the drone can fit inside a backpack.
So, the Phantom 2 Vision only looks out of this world. DJI has designed, manufactured and marketed the UAS as a flying camera. And by all accounts, that is exactly what the aircraft is.
Photo courtesy of DJI Innovations