DJI gets pilots immersed in the action with FPV racing drone
DJI has kicked off its 15th anniversary celebrations with a new flyer that puts the pilot in the virtual cockpit of a racing drone, while capturing the adventures in ultra high definition courtesy of the gimbaled cinema camera.
"Right out of the box, DJI FPV combines the best available technology for a hybrid drone like no other," said DJI Europe's Ferdinand Wolf. "It can fly like a racer, hover like a traditional drone, accelerate like a homebuilt project and stop faster than any of them. DJI FPV lets the world experience the absolute thrill of immersive drone flight without being intimidated by the technology or spending hours building a system from scratch. We can’t wait for the world to try it."
The FPV package comes with the racing drone, goggles and a dedicate remote controller, but there's also the option of taking the controls single handedly thanks to a new motion controller.
The drone measures 255 x 312 x 127 mm (10 x 12 x 5 in) and tips the scales at 795 g (28 oz), and has a maximum per charge flight time of 20 minutes (which was measured in calm conditions at a speed of 40 km/h).
Donning the 420-g (14.8-oz) goggles allows a pilot to see the flight from the drone's perspective, with DJI promising a low-latency high-def video stream over a 10-km (6.2 mi) transmission range, with auto switching of frequencies and anti-interference technology helping to ensure a stable feed.
There are a couple of viewing resolutions to choose from, with the system making use of the latest iteration of the company's Fly app. A free simulator app is also available to help new pilots get to grips with flying a drone "in an easy, fun and risk-free environment."
The standard HD option delivers 1,440 x 810 with either 142-degree field of view at 60 fps or 150° at 50 fps. Either way, latency is reported to get as low as 40 ms. If that's not low enough for you, a smooth mode takes lag down to 28 ms for 1,440 x 810 resolution with 142° field of view and a frame rate of 120, or 150° at 100 fps. DJI has also included an audience mode that allows up to eight additional goggles to gatecrash the pilot's view.
Whether the pilot is flying solo or taking folks along for the flight, a thrill-packed adventure could be on the cards thanks to a 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time of just two seconds, on the way to a top speed of 87 mph (140 km/h).
Three flight modes are on offer. Normal mode is reckoned the easiest for beginners, with such things as hover in place and obstacle warnings in play, and overall operation similar to other drones in DJI's fleet. For more experienced pilots who prefer full hands-on flying, Manual mode deactivates all sensors and hovering features and allows for total control. The third mode combines aspects of the other two to offer "some of the dynamic movement capabilities that come with Manual mode along with some of the key safety features in Normal mode."
Safety features include GPS-based geofencing to keep pilots informed on airspace restrictions and any upcoming hazards, the ADS-B receiver will warn the goggle-wearing pilot of any other manned aircraft in the area, an emergency brake and hover feature is available in all flight modes, and a failsafe return to home feature will bring the drone back to base automatically with the press of a button or if the signal is lost.
As far as recording footage goes, the drone's 12-MP camera attached to a single-axis gimbal is capable of 4K video at 60 frames per second, while RockSteady electronic image stabilization helps to smooth out some of the shakes and sensitivity of ISO100 to 12,800 should help with recording in varying light conditions. Software can remove any warping from the footage too, and if pilots opt to drop the resolution to 1080p, they can take advantage of 120 fps for slow-motion recording opportunities.
The DJI FPV drone package is available now, with a standard option including the FPV drone, remote, FPV goggles, a battery and all the necessary cables costing US$1,299. A kit containing two additional flight batteries and a charging hub can also be had for an extra $299, and the optional single-hand motion controller is priced at $199. The video below has more.
Product page: DJI FPV