DJI Air 2S lost to Skydio 2 in automatic obstacle avoidance
DJI in its new Air 2S drone has significantly improved the obstacle tracking and collision avoidance system: the new drone has received, in addition to the main camera, sensors from the bottom, top, front, and rear. Many immediately asked the inevitable question: will the new quadcopter see obstacles as effectively as the already relatively old Skydio 2. And the real tests have already taken place.
According to the Chinese manufacturer, new sensors, camera-based and improved advanced autopilot algorithms (APAS 4.0) allow the Air 2S to recognize obstacles in even more challenging scenarios and at high speeds. The ad even shows a drone working in a forest with an abundance of branches – very promising.
The American Skydio 2, powered by NVIDIA Tegra X2, has an excellent reputation for its advanced tracking systems. Its six visual sensors build a spherical picture of the environment; the drone constantly assesses the situation and makes decisions about where to go next. Its algorithms even predict in advance where this or that obstacle or moving object will be short. For example, this works very effectively: Skydio 2 understands the environment much better than Tesla’s “autopilot” and even sees cables in the air.
The Air 2S costs $ 999 – the same as the Skydio 2. Both devices claim excellent obstacle avoidance and superior environmental tracking capabilities. A blogger from the DC Rainmaker YouTube channel posted an excellent video comparison of the two devices and their intelligent systems:
As you can see from the video, the Skydio 2’s obstacle sensing system works head-to-head than the Air 2S. Of course, the DJI drone does not have side sensors, but the drone flew into the dense branches of a tree even when flying forward, albeit after turning. However, Skydio 2, in the same situation, not only did not fly into the tree but found free space and followed the operator. It is also worth noting that when the cyclist suddenly stopped during the test, Air 2S twice approached the person at a dangerously close distance. The Chinese drone also loses sight of the tracked object easily.
DJI support noted that the drone did not have time to react to the obstacle. The development team is constantly improving the machine vision system, especially about branches. Indeed, in the future, the APAS system may be further improved by software algorithms. Still, now it is better not to rely on it, especially in difficult conditions such as forests and an abundance of bare branches.
However, the Air 2S is compact, lightweight, and has a ton of great features like 5.4K video capture, a 1-inch 20MP sensor, up to 12km control, and so on. This is an excellent drone for capturing high-quality video and photographs, albeit not with such advanced automation as the Skydio 2.