New DJI Phantom 4 has been released...
The world’s largest drone manufacturer, China’s DJI, has roughly 70% of the $2 billion consumer drone market, having sold around 700,000 of its white quad-rotor drones last year. If there is any indication to the demo for the newest Phantom 4 which occurred in New York City, DJI are about to sell quite a few more.
Building on the big sales of previous DJI drones, the Phantom 4 includes a range of computing capabilities and new on-board sensors that make it both easy to pilot and more importantly, very difficult to crash. DJI is trying to elevate itself over the plethora of drones now saturating the market that fall with-in the "low-cost" bracket that are freely available to newcomers. It is on the high side, at $1,399, where sub-$500 consumer drones are now commonplace. However, the Phantom 4 is designed to compensate for human errors and basically fly itself, all the while delivering smooth aerial photography and videography. It has been compared as an expensive but effective photography accessory for the iPad, as opposed to a remote-controlled aircraft.
Amongst other improved tweaks which include weight, handling and positioning of the camera, the primary innovation is embodied by two small optical sensors embedded in the front of the aircraft that let the Phantom “see” what’s in front of it. These, along with the drone’s primary camera, downward-facing optical sensor on the belly of the aircraft and motion sensors, allow the drone’s computer vision software to create a volumetric map of its environment.