Coronavirus: DJI Mavic Air 2 jettisons drone safety feature in Europe

Mavic Air 2

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The Mavic Air 2 is marketed as a lifestyle gadget small enough to fit in a shoulder bag

DJI launched its first consumer drone to alert nearby planes and helicopters via its controller.

The inclusion of the safety function follows multiple reports of missed accidents with other aircraft.

However, the company says the supply chain problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic mean it is equipping Mavic Air 2 with the skill in North America at this point.

Buyers in Europe and elsewhere will be offered a version without the structure.

DJI also claimed that logistical problems caused by the virus resulted in a staggered launch.

Consumers in the company’s Chinese country of origin will be able to purchase the drone immediately. But while the company has started taking orders elsewhere, it doesn’t plan to start deliveries until mid-May.

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The controller will warn of nearby planes but will not warn them in turn of the drone

DJI is the world’s best-selling commercial drone manufacturer by a wide margin and, as a result, is often in the spotlight when the security issue arises.

In May 2019, he promised to add his AirSense system to all future consumer drones weighing over 250 g (0.6 lbs).

The technology works by using radio and satellite signals to identify the position of other aircraft, through the dependent surveillance automatic transmission system (ADS-B).

Compliant planes and helicopters use this to convey their flight route, speed and altitude.

DJI introduced ADS-B to its M200 professional drones in 2017, but to date its models are only able to detect signals from other aircraft rather than transmit them.

In the case of the new drone, the control screen will show the position of the nearby aircraft. If they begin to approach, the device will display messages, make sounds and vibrate in the hand to warn of a potential danger, prompting the pilot to change course.

The lack of this feature in the initial batch of models sold outside the United States and Canada may limit demand, as the company has indicated that it plans to add capacity to future supplies.

In other respects, DJI claimed that the two versions are identical.

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The drone is equipped with object detection sensors and warning lights to further reduce the risk of accidents

The £ 769 Mavic Air 2 is advertised to offer up to 34 minutes of flight time – approximately a 60% improvement over the original model, which went on sale in January 2018.

Plus, it benefits from a larger camera sensor and the addition of a timelapse function that captures accelerated footage with a resolution of up to 8K. Real-time videos can be recorded up to 60 frames per second for up to 4K and 48 megapixel still images.

Like the original Mavic Air, the new model folds up when not in use. But it is 33% heavier and significantly larger, weighs 570 g (1.3 lbs) and measures 18 cm x 9.7 cm x 8.4 mm (7.1 inches x 3.8 inches x 3.3 inches) ).

New opportunities

Despite the launch problems posed by Covid-19, the pandemic could play to DJI’s advantage.

The company is promoting the use of its professional models for monitoring social distances and for transmitting safety messages, describing them as the “Swiss army knife” of the air.

Its website highlights that the local police in Turin, Italy, used models to monitor people’s movements day and night to verify that they were compliant with the blocking rules.

He also notes that the Spanish government has revived some of its agricultural drones to spray disinfectants in public areas.

In addition, the company suggested that its drones could be used to move medical supplies between different communities to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

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