The drone industry is constantly evolving, with new models being released every year. How do you know which one to purchase? We at Skydio want customers to be confident in their purchases and have the best experience possible when using our products. So we’ve decided to take a look at two of the latest drones on the market for 2018: The Mavic Air 2 vs the Skydio 2. Which one will come out on top?
DJI Mavic Air 2
The DJI Mavic Air 2 drone, which is an improved version of the original Mavic Air, is a type of successor. It is actually a transition from the original Mavic Air to a Mavic drone. It also offers ADS-B for the first time. The DJI Mavic Air 2 drone is the middle-tier of DJI’s range. The Air 2 also falls somewhere between the Mavic Mini drone and the Mavic 2 series drone in terms of size, price, and capabilities.
The Mavic Air 2 camera update is also impressive. This is due to the 1/2-inch sensor, which can shoot 12MP stills and 48MP stills. Quad Bayer technology makes the 12MP photos look better. While you can capture stunning images, many users find the 4K video capture at 60fps and a data bitrate of 120Mbps more compelling.
Skydio 2 is my favorite model and is an improved version of the Skydio R1. Skydio drones are powered by the Nvidia Jetson Onboard Computer and an array of obstacle avoidance sensors. This drone uses 6 cameras with 48MP resolution for obstacles avoidance. It is one of the safest drones in terms of avoiding crashes. If your drone crashes or experiences a problem, they will repair it or replace it free of charge.
Skydio 2 cameras can shoot at 60 fps and are standard 4K. This drone is a leader in follow-me mode and offers additional control options. Skydio 2 can be controlled by your smartphone just as the older models. Or you can use the Skydio Beacon remote control to give you some control over the drone. This will allow it to follow you even if it doesn’t see you.
However, the downside with the Skydio2 is that the manual flight of the drone is not as good or as much fun as the DJI Mavic Air 2
Skydio 2 vs Mavic Air 2
ActiveTrack 3.0: DJI’s latest tracking technology
DJI’s latest prosumer drone, the Mavic Air 2, is now available. The Mavic Air 2 is a sequel to the popular Mavic Air. It boasts an improved camera, longer flying times, and more autonomous features.
ActiveTrack 3.0 is the Mavic Air 2’s ace in the hole. This is the third version of DJI’s ActiveTrack technology. It is the most advanced and powerful subject following feature DJI has ever created. ActiveTrack 3.0 was previously seen in the handheld Ronin-S gimbal, but this is the first time that it has been applied to the Mavic Air 2.
Mavic Air 2 features an AI-aided subject track feature. This predicts the trajectory of moving objects and allows the drone to track them even when they are temporarily out of sight. ActiveTrack 3.0 DJI is now more reliable thanks to the new APAS 3.0 obstruction avoidance technology.
Skydio 2: Redefining subject tracking standards
Skydio is an established name in the field of subject-tracking. The first drone from the company, the Skydio R1, was considered a breakthrough in autonomous drone flight. The Skydio R1 was the first drone to use six cameras to generate a “Voxel view” of the environment. It outperformed all other drones when it came down to following a subject
The Skydio 2’s early success was a major factor in the high expectations. The Skydio 2 has a familiar shape, but it is more portable than a regular drone. It comes with six 4K navigation cameras as well as an NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor.
Skydio 2’s tracking feature can be activated via image recognition or GPS navigation. You can control the drone entirely from your smartphone using an app on your phone.
In short, We test and compare the new DJI Mavic Air 2 and Skydio 2 drone, both of which make use of impressive technology for obstacle avoidance and automated subject tracking
A subject tracking system must include an effective obstacles avoidance system. A drone flying to track a moving object could run into many obstacles. The drone must avoid not only obstacles but also keep the subject’s attention. The obstacles avoidance system must be more than just sensors.
Mavic Air 2
The Mavic Air2 features obstacle detection sensors on the front, rear, as well as bottom sides. DJI continues to use the Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS), a feature previously used in the Mavic 2 series. This smart obstacles avoidance feature allows the drone to identify obstacles and create a trajectory that will allow it to evade them while still keeping track of the subject.
The sensors on the Mavic Air2 don’t give the drone omnidirectional obstacles avoidance, as you might have noticed. The Mavic Air2 doesn’t have sensors at the sides, perhaps to reduce cost or maintain its compact size.
This is a significant defect and can be felt in many of the drone’s autonomous flying modes. The Mavic Air2 doesn’t roll at all when flying autonomously; instead, it flies at an angle that covers its blind spot.
Skydio 2 makes use of its six 4K hemispherical cameras to continually build a 3D map around its surroundings. This technology is not new and uses the same principles that made the Skydio R1 the benchmark for autonomous drones flying. Almost everything on the drone was designed to serve the cameras. The position of the propellers, battery, and gimbal has been designed to not obscure the 4K cameras.
The camera data is sent to the NVIDIA TX2 processor. This creates millions of points in 3D space and virtually creates a 3D model. With this technique, the Skydio 2 does not suffer from having blind spots in the same way that the Mavic Air 2 does.
Skydio 2’s limitation is its dependence on only optical sensors. The Skydio2 relies on optical sensors to see obstacles. The Skydio 2 can be challenged by flying through extremely thin branches and wires, over reflective surfaces, or in direct sunlight.
The Skydio 2 and Mavic Air2 use optical recognition to identify subjects. The main camera can be used to identify the subject during flying. This process is very similar for the two drones.
It is always a good idea, as with subject tracking features in the past, to choose a subject that contrasts sharply with the background. The drone can project the motion of the subjects they are tracking. This allows them to maintain focus on the subject even when it becomes temporarily obscured by obstacles. This is not surprising given the Skydio 2’s upgraded ActiveTrack.
The Skydio 2’s beacon-based tracking is one of its greatest advantages. Skydio2 uses a handheld beacon that acts as a GPS receiver. The Skydio 2 tracks a subject by continuously tracking it with its beacon. This allows for the Skydio2 to follow them even if they are not visible. The beacon can also be used as a remote controller to control the drone prior to an autonomous flying session.
Control of flight
Skydio 2’s controls are simple. It doesn’t come with a remote controller. All the controls are available via a mobile application. The drone can be controlled manually or automatically by setting flying parameters. For those who don’t want to carry large remote controllers, the beacon is a great bonus.
Drone pilots are well aware that flying a drone with touchscreen controls is very slow. Skydio 2’s remote controller is missing, which only reinforces the fact that the drone was not intended to be operated manually. The drone is heavily dependent on autonomous drone flying.
However, the Mavic Air2 has no such restrictions. The Mavic Air2 is not only a tracking drone but also a camera drone that has about a dozen flying modes and camera features.
If you want your drone to be able to travel with you as you ride along trails or surf at the coast, the controller can be bulky. You can’t use the drone with a smartphone, so you will have to bring the controller everywhere you go.
Best Camera/Performance DJI MavicAir 2
- 48 Megapixel Raw Photography
- 4k/UHD Slow motion HDR Video (60 frames per sec)
- Intelligent Flight Modes
- Maximum Flight Time 34 Minutes
- Video Transmission 10km (6.21mi).
Best Autonomy: Skydio 2
- 360-degree Obstacle Avoidance
- 12.3 Megapixel Photography
- 4k/UHD Slow motion HDR VIdeo (60 frames/second)
- The maximum speed of 36 miles per hour (Autonomous Speed).
- 23-Minute Max Flight Time
- Video Transmission – 3.5km (2.2mi).
Photo and Video Comparison
The Skydio 2 would be the most popular camera if it were how many image sensors and cameras won the race. We are primarily interested in the major camera, which is a Sony IMX577 image sensor measuring 1/2.3 inches. .The Skydio 2 has better color and dynamic range than the DJI drones.
It can record 4K videos at 100 Mbps and 120fps slow-motion footage. It also has the ability to take RAW photographs, just like the DJI Mavic Air2.
The DJI MA2 also features a 4K video camera. It uses the slightly larger Sony IMX586, which has a 1/2″ image sensor. The DJI Mavic Air2 can take 48mp JPEG photos, which is more than the Skydio 2 offering. It also has 1080p at 120fps. Both drones can shoot 4K video at 60fps.
Additional camera features include video enhancements such as HDR video, flat profile, and d-cinelike flat profiles. This is great for color grading your footage post-production.
Comparison Of Performance
The real difference between these two drones is not their size or camera but their performance and capabilities.
Skydio 2 offers some of the best active trackings of a person or vehicle and obstacles avoidance in all directions. This is omnidirectional obstacle avoidance.
The DJI Mavic Air2 can fly at 69km, compared to the Skydio’s 58km.
Skydio 2 is better at handling wind speeds, with wind speeds up to 40km (compared to 38km in the MA2).
The DJI Mavic Air2 has a longer transmission distance, but it could also be due to the larger controller that will provide a strong signal. Skydio 2 allows you to control the drone with your smartphone, but not as easily as the Skydio2. This limits the distance that video transmissions and control can be sent.
The DJI Mavic Air 2’s 34-minute flight time is one of its greatest strengths. The DJI Mavic Air2 has a 34-minute flight time, as opposed to the Skydio’s 23-minute flight time.
Skydio 2’s most problematic feature is the shorter flight time. This is especially true when you consider that there will be drones available in 2020 with flight times between 30 and 40 minutes. This is likely due to the extra technology, cameras, and sensors on the camera drone.
Skydio 2 works best as an autonomous drone camera. It will track you or the object you wish to follow. You just need to keep an eye on it when it is in an area that has many obstacles like trees or a forest.
DJI Mavic Air2 has active tracking and object tracking. However, they are not as effective as the Skydio2 due to the use of fewer obstacle avoidance and tracking software.
Pure subject tracking is a clear winner. Skydio’s technology has been refined so much that we can’t imagine any drone performing at the same level over the next few years. Skydio 2 continues to be the benchmark in autonomous drone flight. The drone does a very good job of keeping up with its subject while weaving in and out of obstacles in its way.
Speed is another important consideration. The Skydio2 can easily keep up with standard bike speeds. Running, skiing and surfing shouldn’t be a problem.
The Mavic Air2 is very competitive in subject tracking, for what it’s worthwhile. DJI’s most advanced subject tracking feature, ActiveTrack 3.0, is now available. It was a lot of work to develop a smart system that can predict the trajectory and movement of a subject.
The Mavic 2 lacks side obstacle detection sensors, which has hampered its autonomy flight features. This not only limits the direction the drone can fly but also creates blind spots if the drone is forced to fly laterally.
The Mavic Air 2’s true strength lies in its ability to be more than a subject-tracking drone. With its 4K camera, long flight times, and outstanding obstacle avoidance, it is one of the most popular prosumer camera drones on the market.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is an amazing drone, but the Skydio 2 sets itself apart with its ability to follow you around and react to your movement. If you’re looking for a new upgrade or want something that can fly autonomously, I would recommend opting for the Skydio 2 over the DJI Mavic Air 2.
We hope this article was helpful in making your decision!