Had the opportunity to fly in Harbin, China in a -26 to -31 degree environment. I had the gimbal frozen once during flight and have to fly back to free it. It could be due to some moisture(melted snow) that gets into the gimbal and freeze up instantly when I took it out of the bag.
The Mavic Pro handles the cold well (no noticeable reduction in flight time) , but not my hand and phone. My iPhone 7 plus shuts down after about 10min with 100% charge. Have to auto RTH once as I lose FPV connection. My fingers becomes numb and later extreme pain, risking frost bite.
Anyway, all is well and my fingers are intact and Mavic Pro is safe.
Had the Inspire 2 for a while, and today I have decided to test out just how usable is the active tracking. I have used it to track another smaller drone, the DJI Mavic Pro. Turns out the active tracking was not bad, so I up the game by making it do point of interest at the same time.
The inspire 2 was actually too powerful or something, I realise it tends to chase and get too close then stop then chase again, looks like a yo yo effect. However, I get it to do the POI, this effect is not visible any more. Mavic Pro was a bit challenging to track as it is small, and it easily get lost if the back ground do not provide enough contrast. But overall the Inspire 2 did well, and I can see many potential to use this feature.
I have always wanted to test out how Good the Active Tracking of the Mavic Pro is in the 3 dimensional space using another drone. Today I had the chance to try out with my buddy on a 550 size hexacopter.
I had some difficulty trying to get the Mavic to recognise the hexacopter as it is rather small if I keep a safe distance. After a few trial and error, I managed to move in close enough to let the Mavic lock on. Tracking is generally smooth, and the obstacle avoidance system ensures the Mavic is kept at a safe distance from the subject. I could observed the Mavic did some emergency braking when the subject made a sudden slow down in speed. However, the Mavic will lose track when the subject makes a change in altitude to disappear from the screen.
In conclusion, I will say the Active Tracking is usable, but not in all situation. Especially, if the subject moves very randomly or moves up and down beyond the vision range.
Had another window today to do quick flight with a friend. She wanted to try out the Mavic Pro before deciding whether the Spark is more suitable or the Mavic Pro is better.
Today’s wind condition was moderate, and Mavic was able to hold position really well. The test went on smooth and I did a quick flight on mode 2 stick configuration. I am a mode 1 flyer, but trying to get myself to be able to fly in both modes. Doing point of interest flight in mode 2 manually was a bit more challenging, but I think I manage it.
Had the privilege to go to Melbourne’s famous Great Ocean Road Trip. Together with my wife and a little helper “Mavic” we had some amazing holiday. Mavic was small and light and almost un-noticed when I bring it along. I did not encounter any issues when I pass through custom check at airports and etc. The batteries were all kept in a fire-safe battery bag while in transit.
At the coast of Melbourne, the wind conditions were very high and I need to fly with extreme caution. Mavic can still handle it, but it will always complain that the wind speed is too high and must fly with caution. So I normally fly out to the max of 25% to 30% battery utilization, reserving 70% battery life to fly back, just in case Mavic needs to fight against strong head wind. If you encounter strong head wind and Mavic is not making much progress, try either flying lower or higher to see if there is a change in wind direction at different altitude. I did encounter in one occasion when Mavic complain that the battery is too cold as well. If that happens, you can either takeoff and hover at 2 meter height for a short while to allow the battery to warm up by itself or remove the battery and warm it up with your body heat.
For me I always fly within line of sight(LOS). It is always tempting to have a “One take” shot, but flying beyond line of sight is extremely risky especially when you do not know the place well. There are also some rocks in Melbourne that cause magnetic interference. So be sure not to just fly high too quickly, always allow Mavic to takeoff and hover at a low altitude for a while to observe the flying behaviour. Some how, in Melbourne I also encounter the GPS switching to alternate / backup GPS a few times. So if such incident happen, start bringing the Mavic back and don’t risk flying too far.
Melbourne seems to be a drone friendly place, and some people even applaud me when I landed Mavic. There are some places with helicopter flying around. Be sure to check if that area is a no fly zone for UAVs before flying.
One last tip, please have a few memory cards. Each time the Mavic returns safely, swap out the card and put in a blank card before flying out again. Why? In case the mavic never return, at least you still have some footages captured. Not all is lost.
Yesterday, Canon released their first industrial drone, the PD6E2000-AW-CJ1, to compete in the UAV market. It is an All Weather search and rescue drone that can see even in extreme low light. With ISO of 4,000,000. The camera carry a 2megapixel full frame sensor and records at 1080p
This drone is estimate to have a price tag of US$20k. Not to sure if this includes the camera. The camera is said to be able to use with some of the EF lenses.
The all important question is “Is Canon 2 years too late?” DJI already have a very robust m600pro that can carry almost any camera with many failsafe features. DJI also has a full range of zoom, thermal cameras for search and rescue and industrial inspection. Will Canon end up like 3D robotics, GoPro and etc, where their UAV endeavour almost wipe out their profits from other area of business? The only unique feature is the ability to see in extreme Low light. Is this feature going to set Canon apart from the rest? Time will tell. Personally, I don’t have high hopes.