Introducing the DJI FPV

Do you remember those alien fighter jets in the movie Independence Day?

The new DJI FPV (first person view) drone looks like a miniature version of that.

Not that it’s here on some destructive alien mission, though. The FPV drone is for fun; it is for racing. it is for content creation. It is for hobby drone fanatics. The DJI FPV combines the first-person view and high-speed performance of racing drones, the cinematic camera sweep of traditional drones, as well as their safety and transmission technology; and an optional innovative single-handed motion controller that allows pilots to control the drone with just hand movements. 

In a nutshell, it is not like any other traditional drone at all.

No, it’s not. The DJI FPV drone takes you into the flight.

Because it comes with virtual reality goggles. The new FPV system lets pilots see from the drone’s perspective in low-latency high definition thanks to O3, the third iteration of DJI’s proprietary OcuSync technology. Its reliability and transmission range help pilots capture ultra-smooth and stable 4K video at 60 fps with the assistance of RockSteady electronic image stabilisation.

“Generally speaking, FPV drones differ from traditional drones in two major ways,” says the manufacturer in an introductory clip for their new product. “The first is the immersive flight experience provided by the googles.”

The goggles were first introduced in 2020 for use with custom FPV drones along with the DJI Air Unit, a camera for digital transmission. There’s a five-directional joystick on top, a back button, and a record button. The displays have 810p resolution and the preview image in the goggles looks very crisp and detailed, which is important when you need to avoid branches in your flight path.

“The second big difference is the flight itself. Compared to most camera drones, FPV drones typically allow for much higher speeds and limitless manoeuvring capabilities with no angle limits on any of the axes. Because of this, FPV drones have typically required a much higher level of skill to fly.”

These goggles are really smart…

DJI say their drone is for racing aficionados too, with a built-in imaging system, high-definition, low-latency transmission with a range of up to 10 km, and a battery life of approximately 20 minutes. The integrated, ready-to-fly design means users don’t need to assemble the drone themselves.

“DJI has been redefining what drones can do since our company began in 2006, and as we celebrate our 15-year anniversary this year, we honour that heritage of innovation by redefining what drone flight can be with DJI FPV,” said Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director, DJI Europe.

“Right out of the box, DJI FPV combines the best available technology for a hybrid drone like no other. 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 DJI FPV is also equipped with advanced safety features such as emergency brake hovering, intelligent return to home, and DJI Care Refresh service for added flight protection and greater peace of mind during flight.

But the ace in the hole for this new drone is a Motion Controller, a new handheld remote-control device that that a pilot can use to control the drone – with natural hand motions.

“The DJI Motion Controller is a small, hand-held device that revolutionises the aerial experience. This compact device allows the aircraft to manoeuvre based on your natural hand motions, delivering an ultra-intuitive experience and allowing even beginners to manoeuvre like seasoned FPV pilots.”

The manufacturer is also chuffed about the FPV’s three distinct flight modes designed to assist amateur and skilled alike fly with confidence as they get to grips with the system.

  • Normal (N) Mode: During N mode operation, DJI FPV operates similar to other DJI drones, hovering in place with the use of GPS and/or visual positioning systems (VPS) on the bottom of the drone. The most approachable flight mode, N mode allows for obstacle detection sensors on the front to be activated to warn when obstacles are near and slow down. Pilots are tasked with manoeuvring the drone away from any detected obstacles.
  • Manual (M) Mode: Take full control over the drone with M mode which is designed for more experienced users. While in M mode, all sensors and hovering features are disabled. 
  • Sport (S) Mode: A new hybrid blend of M and N mode, S mode offers some of the dynamic movement capabilities that come with M mode along with some of the key safety features of N mode. S mode is the middle step between the three modes and developed to give pilots more room to explore their skills as they get accustomed to FPV flight. 

Said the company; “DJI FPV’s advanced safety features include a new Emergency Brake and Hover feature to help make flying safer and less intimidating for new users, as well as DJI’s suite of industry-leading safety solutions, including GPS-based geofencing to advise pilots of airspace restrictions and potential hazards, and an ADS-B receiver system to warn pilots when other manned aircraft are nearby. In many jurisdictions, drone pilots flying with FPV goggles must be accompanied by a visual observer to watch for airspace hazards. Always fly safely and responsibly, and be sure to understand and follow the legal requirements for flight.”

The beastly combo…

As for the camera, the FPV can capture dynamic, cinematic footage you’ll want to share with the world.

“The integrated 4K/60fps 120 Mbps camera is on a single-axis gimbal, providing stability during intricate manoeuvres while rotating vertically for unique angles. Additionally, RockSteady stabilization technology smooths shaky footage and eliminates the rolling shutter effect when filming fast-moving scenes.

“Advanced distortion correction software can remove the warped and unappealing fish-eye look common in FPV footage. Pilots can record footage in 4x Slow Motion in 1080p and 120 fps to relive epic moments in every detail. Footage can now be stored in H.265 or H.264 which uses less space on the memory card but preserves fine details during compression.”

There is a lot of other technical specifications that we cannot independently vouch for at the moment, because we have not had the chance to get our hands on the racing beast yet; but the battery life is great when compared to traditional racing drones, that usually last for an average of three minutes. The FPV battery lasts for twenty, and it has an intelligent feature that allows it to discharge itself it does not fly for a time. This enables the battery to last longer and prevents it from swelling.

You can check out the video for more about the FPV, which costs $1,299, does not come with a carrying case and – while it is as plug and play as you would like it – does have a few disclaimers, as listed by the manufacturer:

The Motion Controller follows hand motions. Picture: DJI
  • Before flying DJI FPV, check local laws and regulations. Ensure that your flights are conducted safely and in accordance with all local laws and regulations.
  • The 150° FOV is only applicable when shooting at 50 or 100 fps.
  • Obstacle sensing is only available when the aircraft is in N mode. In this mode, DJI FPV will automatically decelerate when it detects obstacles, but it will not automatically stop.
  • To ensure flight safety when using M mode, it is recommended to have another person present to observe the flight environment. To obtain a more precise control experience when using M mode, adjust the F1 screw on the back of the thrust control stick (right side if flying in Mode 1, left side if flying in Mode 2) to disable recentering.
  • The DJI FPV aircraft supports two video coding formats, while the DJI FPV Goggles V2 only supports H.264.
  • In 810p/120fps Low-Latency mode, the video transmission latency is lower than 28ms; in 810p/60fps High-Quality mode, the video transmission latency is lower than 40ms.
  • FCC-compliant. Measurements were taken in unobstructed environments free of interference. Always follow local rules and regulations and fly your drone within your visual line of sight unless otherwise permitted.
  • The highest video transmission bitrate is 50 Mbps. Measured in an open, outdoor environment with no obstacles or interference.
  • DJI Care Refresh (DJI FPV) is a service plan that provides you with greater peace of mind during flight. DJI Care Refresh (DJI FPV) provides replacements for a small additional cost. If you purchase DJI Care Refresh (2-Year Plan), you will also enjoy an extension of the original warranty by up to two years (extension duration varies by region). For more information, contact DJI Support.
  • The DJI Virtual Flight app currently supports only iOS devices.
  • This function will be available in a future firmware update. Transmitted images from the goggles to the app can be sent to a smartphone via cable (USB-C to USB-C or USB-C to lightning).
  • The Fly Spots feature is currently available only in Mainland China. All flight locations displayed by the Fly Spots feature are based on voluntarily-shared location tags from SkyPixel users. DJI never collects or shares user data without user consent. Always check and follow the applicable rules wherever you fly.

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