Drone-maker DJI announced a new hobby aircraft today, one that weighs just a shade under a pound, fits in a jacket pocket, and is capable of flying itself.
The Mavic Air ships on January 28 for $799. At that price, it hovers in DJI”s lineup between the $499 DJI Spark, the gesture-controlled flyer released last year, and the more capable $999 Mavic Pro.
The Mavic Air is tiny, half the size of a Mavic Pro, and about half the weight at just 15 ounces. When folded up, it”s about the size of a paperback novel. At a press event in New York on Tuesday, DJI exec Michael Perry announced the Mavic Air by pulling it out of the pocket of his puffy Patagonia vest.
The drone”s built-in camera shoots 4K video and 12-megapixel stills, and it can take 32-megapixel panoramas of your local park. That camera is mounted on a newly designed, three-axis stabilizing gimbal. Flight time is quoted at 21 minutes—impressive given the little folder”s small size—and it hides antennas in the landing gear, giving the drone a flight range of 2.4 miles. The speed tops out at 42 miles per hour.
It is worth noting that certain U.S. Department of Defense elements have recently banned the use of DJI products amid concerns about cyber vulnerabilities in the products and that the systems may provide collected location, audio, and visual data from flights to sources other that the operators.
Additional information about the DoD ban can be found in Wired”s article, “The Army Grounds Its DJI Drones Over Security Concerns,” https://www.wired.com/story/army-dji-drone-ban/.
Additional information on the DJI Mavic Air can be found at the manufacturer”s site, https://www.dji.com/mavic-air.