The DJI Mavic Air 2 is here, and this is its story!

June 11, 2020

DJI’s Mavic Air 2 is all about empowering content creators with a brilliant feature list right from 8K Hyperlapse to DJI’s first intelligent shooting algorithm. So if you have wondered how the development of the Mavis Air 2 came about, read on:

Mavic Air 2 Design

Before development kicked off, numerous technological breakthroughs paved the way for DJI’s R&D team. For example, when it came to weight control and power consumption, the team did a deep dive into each and every module in order to optimize these parameters. They also conducted sequential engineering to determine the optimal battery life and maneuverability of the aircraft.

Mavic Air 2 Design Draft

In the very beginning, when even the initial appearance was yet to be decided, the team was able to calculate maximum flight time and the weight goal of each module. This made subsequent R&D work highly efficient and left engineers more room for creativity and imagination.

When designing the Mavic Air 2, DJI found that the arm folding of the first-generation Mavic Air had a lot of room for improvement. They set about optimizing the size, shape, and folding motion of this key area. If the Mavic Air 2 had kept the previous shape, it would have been too difficult to prolong battery life with the same volume and weight.The R&D team decided to radically reshape Mavic Air 2 by foregoing the design of the original Mavic Air model and adopting that of Mavic Pro.

Iteration of Mavic Air 2 testing machines

Aside from general drone functions, the Mavic Air 2’s structural design had to meet requirements related to flight vibration and flexible-body control. Based on a powerful simulation platform and accumulated knowledge of the related technologies, DJI optimized every inch of the structure through painstaking calculations and experiments, providing the best flight stability and control experience to ensure high-quality aerial shooting.

Mavic Air 2 Hardware and Software Testing

The gimbal was the greatest challenge during the R&D process. Even though DJI had plenty of experience in gimbal technology, there are always enormous challenges when developing a new drone model.

Mavic Air 2 Gimbal Designs

The gimbal of Mavic Air 2 uses a camera sensor that consumes power at a high rate. This was a major challenge for hardware engineers as well as the structural engineers responsible for heat dissipation.The engineers for heat dissipation, hardware, and structure carefully designed a heat sink on the gimbal to prevent HD images taken using the HDR Video function from losing quality due to thermal noise.

The Mavic Air 2 adopts the system-in-package (SIP) process for the core circuit board in order to achieve the optimal balance of performance, volume, and weight.After the first prototype came out, the R&D team invited various user groups, from senior product managers to drone beginners, to try the product and give suggestions. This input was critical in finalizing the Mavic Air 2’s design, remote controller, flight control experience, image quality, and more.To verify that Mavic Air 2 can fly stably in extreme environments, it was even flown around at an indoor ice rink for extended periods to simulate low-temperature conditions.

Mavic Air 2 Breakthroughs and Challenges

An excellent aerial photography drone should make it easy for users to capture high-quality content, and the Mavic Air 2 does exactly that. A single tap on in the DJI Fly app provides stunning 8 KHyperlapse. In addition to the Quad Bayer re-mosaic algorithm, the diligence of the R&D team made the Mavic Air 2’s enormous technological leaps possible. The team repeatedly broke the limits of software and hardware, solving a bottleneck in storage space, and coping with chip limitations to do more with less.

After more than a year of research and testing, including testing and feedback on a wide range of user behaviors and shooting preferences, SmartPhoto, DJI’s first intelligent shooting algorithm, was developed. SmartPhoto supports intelligent processing of complicated images, integrating multiple information points and algorithms related to the aircraft, gimbal attitude, dynamic range estimation, and scene recognition. Perhaps more than any new addition, SmartPhoto puts aerial masterpieces easily within reach.

Mavic Air 2 SmartPhoto Comparison

DJI studied algorithms related to intelligent recognition and tracking, and came up with a more intuitive and smarter FocusTrack function for Mavic Air 2. The team creatively combined image feature algorithms with machine learning and incorporated common moving subjects (people, cars, boats, etc.), fixed landscapes, and building recognition to significantly improve recognition accuracy and efficiency. At the same time, advanced 3D-mapping and trajectory-planning algorithms were added to the software for smoother following capability.

Even a few-minute increase in battery life requires engineers from different fields to control the weight of modules to the extreme within their responsible scopes.In the early development stage, DJI conducted rigorous sequential engineering for battery life and maneuverability to calculate the maximum battery life possible. During the R&D process, the team performed multiple rounds of simulation and proofing experiments to test the gap between the drone’s actual properties and the theoretical values.

The Mavic Air 2 is equipped with several sensors, including GPS, IMU, a barometer, a compass, and visual sensors, to output environmental information in multiple dimensions. This data is integrated through leading fusion algorithms and ensures safe flight in various scenarios.

The DJI Mavic Air 2 retails in the UAE at AED 2,856

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2018, CES 2017, 2016 and 2015. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.