Almost a year after the release of the Phantom 3 quadcopter series, DJI has come out with the Phantom 4, which implements features such as obstacle-avoidance technology and intelligent tracking, the company says.
According to DJI, the Phantom 4 expands on previous generations of Phantom quadcopters by adding new on-board intelligence, such as ActiveTrack and TapFly. The Phantom 4’s U.S. retail price is $1,399.
With ActiveTrack, the Phantom 4 allows users running the DJI Go app on iOS and Android devices to follow and keep the camera centered on the subject as it moves. DJI says the Phantom 4 understands 3D images and uses machine learning to keep the object in the shot – even when the subject changes its shape or turns while moving. A pause button on the drone’s remote controller allows the user to halt an autonomous flight at any time and thus leaves the aircraft to hover.
By using the TapFly function in the DJI Go app, users can double-tap a destination for the Phantom 4 on the screen; the drone then calculates an optimal flight route to reach the destination while avoiding any obstructions in its path. If users tap another spot, the drone will then transition to that destination.
The aircraft’s obstacle-sensing system features two forward-facing optical sensors, which scan for obstacles and automatically direct the aircraft around the impediment when possible. If the system determines the drone cannot go around the obstacle, the aircraft will slow to a stop and hover until the user redirects it. DJI says obstacle avoidance also engages if the user triggers the drone’s return-to-home function.
The Phantom 4’s 4K camera has undergone an upgrade that includes improved optics for better corner sharpness and reduced chromatic aberration. The drone also has DJI’s Lightbridge video transmission system on board – allowing users to see what their camera sees in HD and in real time on their smart devices at a distance up to 5 km (3.1 miles).
According to DJI, the Phantom 4’s frame incorporates a lightweight composite core to provide enhanced stability and a more agile flight. A redesigned gimbal – providing more stability and vibration dampening – and has been repositioned to give a better center of gravity and reduce the occurrence of the drone’s propellers in the photo.
In addition, says the company, refinements to motor efficiency and power management, including a new intelligent battery, have extended the Phantom 4’s flight time to 28 minutes. DJI says the Phantom 4 also includes redundant inertial measurement units and dual compasses on board, as well as new push-and-lock propellers that are faster to install and are more secure in flight.Additionally, a new sport mode – for advanced flyers – allows the Phantom 4 to fly 20 m/s (45 mph) and ascend and descend more rapidly than in other modes.
Pre-orders for the Phantom 4 start today on DJI.com and Apple.com; customers will begin receiving their units on March 15. The Phantom 4 will also be available at DJI’s flagship stores and Apple stores around the world starting March 15.
Phantom 4 pre-orders from DJI’s other sales partners will commence on March 23, with availability from April 1. Customers in the U.S. can also purchase six months of DJI Care for $229 or one year of DJI Care for $299.
“With the Phantom 4, we are entering an era where even beginners can fly with confidence,” says Frank Wang, CEO of DJI. “People have dreamed about one day having a drone collaborate creatively with them. That day has arrived.”