"Intelligent Navigation" Upgrade for DJI Phantom and Inspire

With the tagline "Design Cinematic Shots like a Pro", DJI has released a firmware upgrade with several new features that push them further along in the autonomous flight area.

  • Waypoints
  • Point-of-Interest
    Follow Me (Phantom 3 only)
  • Home Lock
  • Course Lock

Some of these features will of course be familiar to long-time diy-droners... it will be interesting to see DJI's videographer-centric take on these.

More details here... I've got everything downloaded and installed, and will have a report later today.


Views: 1763

Comment by HeliStorm on September 7, 2015 at 8:45am
I will be interested to know. I have to admit, I have had no love for DJI until recently. The new Phantom 3 Standard seems like a heck of a good deal, in all honesty, and finally has me second guessing my opinion of DJI as the Apple of the UAS world. Overpriced, underpowered, and as much a status symbol as anything.
Comment by John Dennings on September 7, 2015 at 11:44am

Some welcome new functionality, as DJI is opening up its SDK. Competition is raising the bar ...

The term "Waypoints"  is used in a different  context  than the traditional one familiar to APM or Pixhawk flyers using  Mission Planner or Tower. There is no pre-loading, one has to first fly  to record coordinates, after which the trajectory can be repeated.

Comment by HeliStorm on September 7, 2015 at 3:58pm
So, the Waypoints is almost like the cable cam feature in APM. That's a shame. I like the automation function, completely hands-off, for some tasks. I guess it keeps the pilot in the loop more this way.

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on September 8, 2015 at 5:00am

Yes, it is also my understanding that their take on 'waypoints' is more like a multi point version of cable cam.

I guess the reasoning is that if you can only fly waypoints to positions where you have already flown manually, then it is impossible to 'program' the quad to fly into something by way of autopilot.

Not sure how I feel about this feature. The reasoning makes sense when you consider the average Phantom pilot, but at the same time it kinda defeats the whole purpose of waypoints.

Comment by Marc Dornan on September 8, 2015 at 5:10am

With so many of these little white Phantoms out there my feeling is DJI is offering as much automation as they think their average users could safely use without creating more bad news stories, and I think that makes sense. Can you imagine what may happen if people could be empowered to easily fly these things wherever they could point on their iPad. It definitely gives AP users the extra tools they need. I cannot see DJI putting the kind of navigational tools that AC offers in a mass consumer drone.

Comment by HeliStorm on September 8, 2015 at 6:10am
I understand the reasoning, and it is an interesting feature...the multipoint cable cam. I can see the benefit of the feature for videographers. Fly the route once, then repeat while focusing on getting the perfect shot. That said, I wonder if DJI would ever open up the option to do true flight planning, even if it comes with multiple warnings, and requires you to agree to putting your first-born as collateral should you screw up on your own?
Comment by Craig Issod on September 8, 2015 at 12:13pm

I'd suggest that 95% of pilots who actually take some time with a Phantom 3 will be quickly relieved of their notions of the units being either overpriced or underpowered. It's not an opinion to say that nothing in the 1K (complete) price category in history has ever come close. That's based on the facts of capability, range, imagine quality, etc.

On the other hand those who lament that it can't (without the 3rd party apps) do some kind of speciality work which is far outside the target market (what should one expect for $799?).....that's another story. 

I'm a old HAM and CB and antenna guy....had computers since way back (first IBM PC's, first Macs, etc.).

I have a very high standard as to what would be considered a breakthrough - and, frankly, never expected the P# to be one...until I flew it a bunch of times. It really is a revolution as opposed to an evolution.

Sure, we'll look back and laugh in 5 years...but, still, these things go in steps. This if - as they say - the first photographers drone good enough to critique. 

Take a look at some of the video being done by consumers....not pros! Some of it makes me feel like giving up on AP....sorta like when you hear clapton or hendrix you sometimes want to just put down your guitar.

Check out this tourist visit to Iceland - done with a $999 (less sometimes on the street) piece of kit.


Comment by Kristaps Brass on September 9, 2015 at 4:38am

In UgCS we are working on developing support for DJI Inspire and DJI Phantom 3 to support mission planning on a desktop environment. This already works for DJI Phantom 2 Vision +.

This is currently in beta. If you are interested in testing this, feel free to message me and I can give you access to our beta version of UgCS with Phantom 3 and Inspire support.


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