Drones have become a hit with consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, market leader DJI has a new remote-controlled recreational drone that is easier to take on a first-person spin.
To fly the DJI FPV (first-person view) drone, available today for $1,299, just don goggles and take in the scenic view as your high-speed drone zips along as fast as 87 mph. You can also control the drone with your hand motions by using a motion controller, sold separately for $199.
Until now, most first-person view drones were hand-built or had goggles sold separately. (DJI has drones priced at $1,349-up, compatible with its $349 goggles.)
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But the all-in-one DJI FPV launches a new drone category for DJI, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
“Right out of the box, DJI FPV combines the best available technology for a hybrid drone like no other,” said Ferdinand Wolf, the creative director of DJI Europe, in a statement announcing the product’s release. “It can fly like a racer, hover like a traditional drone, accelerate like a homebuilt project and stop faster than any of them. DJI FPV lets the world experience the absolute thrill of immersive drone flight without being intimidated by the technology or spending hours building a system from scratch. We can’t wait for the world to try it.”
Included are goggles, a remote controller, a battery and the required cables. In addition to the motion controller, sold separately, you can also purchase two additional smart batteries and charging hub for $299.
The new drone captures 4K video and slow motion high-def video – and goes from 0 to 62 mph in two seconds. Its RockSteady video stabilizing technology keeps footage smooth. You can choose to fly from three different modes: Normal, which includes hovering in place and obstacle detection; Manual, for full control of the drone; and Sport, a blend of the two modes.
A new emergency brake feature, available in all three modes, will make the drone immediately stop and hover. You can train for first-person view piloting using the simulator in the new DJI Virtual Flight App.
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A note: in some places, drone pilots wearing first-person goggles may need to have a visual observer to watch for airspace hazards as they fly unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, as they are also known by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has rules for flying the devices.
The Commerce Department put DJI, a Chinese company, on its entity list in December 2020, banning U.S. companies from exporting technology to the company for what the agency charged included enabling “wide-scale human rights abuses within China through … high-technology surveillance,” The Verge reported at the time.
DJI posted on Twitter its response to the agency’s move saying it had “done nothing to justify being placed” on the list. “We have always focused on building products that save lives and benefit society.”
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.