Innovation

DJI calls new Mavic Air 'most powerful and intelligent portable drone to date'

The foldable drone, which shoots 4K video and has a 21 minute flight time, could be a field tool for a host of industries.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • The new DJI Mavic Air drone can shoot 4K video, features a three-axis Gimbal, and can fly for up to 21 minutes at a time.
  • The DJI Mavic Air has 8GB of internal storage and new features like the Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems that make it safer and easier to pilot.

On Tuesday, at a special event in New York City, drone maker DJI unveiled the Mavic Air, a foldable drone that can shoot 4K video and fly for 21 minutes straight. The Mavic Air blends the portability of DJI's Spark drone with some of the enterprise features found on its Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 models.

While the Mavic Air was referred to as a consumer drone, it could have numerous enterprise applications. The portability of the Mavic Air combined with its top-shelf hardware could make it a good match for field work in construction and oil and gas, as well as among creative professionals working in harsh environments.

The combination of features and form factor have made the Mavic Air the "most powerful and intelligent portable drone to date," according to DJI's director of North America Michael Perry, who spoke at the event.

SEE: Drone policy template (Tech Pro Research)

While the drone as well as its controller were designed to be more portable than ever (each can fit in a pocket), it also features a 2.5-mile range and can fly up to 42.5 MPH in sport mode, Perry said. This makes it the fastest Mavic drone of all time, he added.

In addition to shooting 4K video, the Mavic Air has a new three-axis Gimbal casing for more stability and durability, and it can also shoot full HD video at up to 120 FPS. An additional 32MP panorama mode and HDR capture mode provide even more options for capturing content. Perry said the drone is an effort to redefine the machines as creative tools.

The Mavic Air has 8GB of internal storage for times when you may have forgotten a microSD card, Perry said. It also has a USB-C port for exporting the photos and videos stored onboard.

The drone has some innovative flight updates as well. It features better signal coverage with omnidirectional antennas, and the DJI Visual Positioning System (VPS) makes it easier to fly indoors, Perry said.

An updated version of DJI's ActiveTrack will allow users to choose a single subject to follow more easily than in the past. Additionally, Perry revealed the new Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS) feature that will help the drone plan a flight path and avoid objects by going over them or around them. This will help amateur pilots feel more confident, as their drone will be actively staying away from potentially dangerous situations. It also helps businesses better protect their drone investments from a pilot accidentally flying the device into a tree, for example.

Gesture control will be available on the Mavic Air through DJI's Smart Capture feature, which boasts a range of 19 feet. New image capture options include Asteroid for shooting spherical panoramas and Boomerang, which captures a shot of the drone flying up and away from the pilot before coming back, Perry said.

The DJI Mavic Air will come in three colors: Artic white, onyx black, and flame red. It will start at $799 with standard accessories, but will also be available in a "Fly More" combo pack with additional accessories for a higher cost. The preorders are open now, Perry said, and Mavic Air will ship and be available in select stores on January 28.

Also see

DJI drone michael perry

DJI's Michael Perry at the New York unveiling of the Mavic Air.

Image: DJI

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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