Drones

DJI showcases Mavic Pro Platinum, Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian, update for Spark

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Everyone’s favorite drone manufacturer, DJI, has introduced two new drones to its product lineup. The Mavic Pro Platinum has a quieter and longer flight compared to the original, while the popular Phantom 4 Pro gets a new color. Also, the user-friendly Spark drone has a new software feature!

Mavic Pro Platinum

The first upgrade to the original Mavic Pro brings in new electronic speed controllers and propellers, reducing its overall noise by 4dB or about 60 percent quieter than the original version. Not only that, the new model flies longer by 11 percent or up to 30 minutes of flight time.

These upgrades don’t hamper the portability of the Mavic Pro we’ve come to love. It’s still an easy-to-use, yet powerful drone with a 4K stabilized camera and 7km range, and FlightAutonomy technology makes it even more intelligent against obstacles up to 15m away.

The Mavic Pro Platinum will retail for US$ 1,099 and it’s now up for pre-order through DJI’s online store. A Fly More Combo will be available at a later date for US$ 1,399.

Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian

The more professional cousin of the Mavic Pro gets a cosmetic makeover. If you’re in the market for a better drone or maybe looking to purchase another Phantom 4 Pro for your hobby or profession, then you’ll be glad to know that it now comes in a matte-gray Obsidian color shell. It also features a magnesium, electroplated, and anti-fingerprint coated gimbal.

The Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian is coming out this month for US$ 1,499.

Spark firmware update

DJI’s consumer drone, which is still relatively new to the market, gets a firmware upgrade. To be included in the upcoming DJI GO 4 app is the new Sphere Mode. With it, the Spark will be able to take panoramic pictures and lay them into a spherical shape, much like a “tiny planet” effect.

Other additional updates coming are:

  • A new gesture to start and stop video recording
  • Enhanced QuickShot video features for more cinematic control
  • A 180-degree photo shooting mode and improved photo image resolution
  • Full integration with the DJI Goggles
  • Optimization of the PalmLaunch function for better stability after takeoff
  • Improved control accuracy under the QuickShot Dronie mode

Expect the update to come later this year.

SEE ALSO: DJI finally made a compact and affordable drone, the Spark

Drones

Airbus’ drone taxi successfully flies autonomously

This is the future!

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Just last month, European aerospace company Airbus flew its autonomous air taxi for the first time. The electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft hovered for 53 seconds on its own and we only got a glimpse of it through photos. Well, the company has just released a video showing what it’s capable of.

A giant drone taking off and hovering for less than a minute before coming back down isn’t really an astounding sight. Although, this is quite an achievement since it’s a totally different aircraft from what Airbus has been producing and the fact that it’s all-electric is already a feat in itself.

As you can see, this less-than-a-minute demonstration of autonomous flight is actually a breakthrough since it’s one of the first to ditch the use of an engine or a gas-electric hybrid and relies solely on a battery to fly. The company said it aims to produce an array of autonomous eVTOL aircrafts that fly from rooftop to rooftop to help alleviate traffic on the road. Airbus envisions this through the use of the latest technologies.

“Our goal is to democratize personal flight by leveraging the latest technologies such as electric propulsion, energy storage, and machine vision,” said Vahana Project Executive Zach Lovering.

It might not happen anytime soon, but we’re one step closer to realizing a future where you hail flying taxis that don’t need their own drivers.

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Drones

Kentucky Flying Object is a drone from KFC India

Flies longer than a chicken can!

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KFC really knows how to tickle our gadget fancy. Last year, the fast food chain produced their own smartphone; now, we’re looking at a drone you can assemble using the packaging of their latest chicken wings flavor.

For a limited time — from today until tomorrow to be precise — select KFC branches around India are offering the DIY drone for “select orders of Smoky Grilled Wings.” Although the website doesn’t specify how many are being given away, chances are you’ll have to fight for one.

Colonel Sanders would have definitely scratched his head at the thought of such a product, but we can’t deny that this is all sorts of awesome.

You can see it in action here:

KFC provides instructions on how to assemble the drone on their website. Once complete, you can control the KFO (yes, Kentucky Flying Object) through Wi-Fi using your smartphone and an app.

They aren’t kidding calling this “the most fly meal ever.” If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, make sure to lick your greasy fingers first.

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Drones

DJI launches new Mavic Air drone

It’s the size of a smartphone!

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DJI is at it again with its consumer quadcopters.

The Chinese company has launched the new Mavic Air and it fits right between the Mavic Pro and the smaller Spark. Think of the Spark’s size but with the folding arms of its predecessor.

DJI says the Mavic Air is lighter by 41 percent compared to its previous model but receives the entire gesture system of the Spark — something that attracts consumers. This means you can make it snap a photo, make it move to a different spot, and call it back to land by simple hand actions.

Using your hand to manipulate the drone has a range limit of almost 6 meters (19 feet). Connect a smartphone and it bumps up the range to 80 meters, but using a dedicated remote will increase that to 4km.

Just like the Mavic Pro, the Mavic Air has a 4K video resolution, 12-megapixel image sensor, and three-axis gimbal. It also has HDR, and low-light shooting to help you achieve better photos in general. DJI also threw in a new software algorithm that lets users stitch together 32-megapixel shots for panoramas and photo spheres.

DJI added 8GB of internal storage to the Mavic Air. There’s also a USB-C port which is a bump up from the Pro’s micro-USB, although battery life saw a downgrade as the new Air has a maximum flight time of 21 minutes. In real-life usage, that means around 16 minutes.

Don’t let it dishearten you, since position tracking, obstacle avoidance, and the ventilation system have all been improved according to DJI.

Finally, and unlike the Pro, it comes in different colors. The new Mavic Air will be available in white, black, or red. Pricing will start at US$ 799 which is a little more expensive than the Spark but more affordable than the Mavic Pro. Pre-orders start immediately and shipping will commence next week.

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