DJI unveils tiny Movidius-powered Mavic Pro drone

27 Sep 2016

Mavic Pro drone. Image: DJI

Chinese drone powerhouse DJI revealed its latest drone, the Mavic Pro, which uses Movidius technology to power the palm-sized aerial performer.

It has been an interesting week for drone releases with GoPro revealing its first own-brand drone. Now DJI is trying to trump the American company with the foldable Mavic Pro.

At half the size of DJI’s other flagship drones, the Mavic Pro rotors can fold over its body, making its profile much less pronounced than what many would be used to.

The big selling point – particularly from an Irish perspective – is that the drone will be packed full of sensors powered by Movidius’ Myriad 2 VPU, an ultra-low-power, high-performance processor designed specifically for drones.

What this means for users is some pretty handy features including the ability to avoid obstacles easily, landing the drone autonomously, increased indoor stability and the ability to track a person using its camera.

By using its enhanced vision system and sensors, the drone can be controlled by gestures, such as putting your arms in a Y shape to get it to focus its attention on you.

Strike a pose for selfies

You can even tell the Mavic Pro to start recording a video by ‘striking a pose’ and making a frame shape in front of your face.

Speaking of the camera, the one hooked up to the Mavic Pro is much like the one used on its bigger sibling – the Phantom 4 – which is capable of shooting 4K video at 30 frames per second (fps) or 1080p at 96fps.

This is done using its 12MP camera with a limited field of view of 78 degrees – less capable than the Phantom 4’s 94 degrees.

Where the Mavic Pro makes up for this limitation is its range as it will be able to record video from a distance of 7km and stream live to video sharing platforms at 1080p quality, compared with 720p on the Phantom 4.

However, it can almost keep up the pace with the larger model with a top speed of 65kph compared to 72kph.

Under $1,000

By using the new Movidius processor, it is claimed the Mavic Pro offers 30pc greater power efficiency as well as a 30pc increase in its performance capabilities. This helps it achieve a battery life just short of 30 minutes on a single charge.

Available in mid-October, DJI has said the new drone will retail for just under $1,000, or $749 if you don’t fancy having the all-important remote.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic