Drone manufacturer DJI unveiled its next big thing Tuesday — even if “big” is the last word to describe it. The folding, pocket-sized Mavic Air is DJI’s bid to make drones more portable, yet also more powerful and more intelligent than ever before.
DJI showed off plenty at the product launch in New York, but those eager to try out the new drone for themselves can already head to the DJI website to place their order. Let’s take a look at just what the Mavic Air promises for its $799 price tag.
The big highlight from Tuesday’s presentation is the drone’s size, as DJI first unveiled how small the Mavic Air is removing a clown’s car worth of stuff — including wallet, smartphone, drone, two controllers, and a second drone — from his previously unobtrusive vest pockets. A point of emphasis for the new system is the idea that this drone can integrate seamlessly into people’s daily activities, without needing to tote around an entire case or bag at all times.
“The entire system is about as tall and wide as a smartphone,” said the DJI spokesperson. “The entire system is half the size of a Mavic Pro and weighs 41 percent less than a Mavic Pro.”
The other crucial advance is the introduction of the Advanced Pilot Awareness Systems, or APAS, which uses the drone’s sensors to plan a flight plan in real time to avoid obstacles. The DJI team demonstrated this feature by having it fly around miniature trees and rocks. While the user kept the drone pointed straight ahead at all times, the Mavic Air automatically adjusted, moving either right and left or up and down to avoid objects as necessary.
The drone’s specs include a 21-minute flight time, 2.5-mile range, a top speed of 42.5 miles per hour, and the ability to operate at altitudes as high as 16,000 feet above sea level.
The camera features are also more advanced, including automatically generated paths to create breathtaking videos without any direct user input. This Quickshot feature includes Asteroid, which stitches together a unique panorama effect…
…and Boomerang, which flies in much the kind of path you would expect from the name.
To preorder the drone, [you can head to DJI’s website](https://store.dji.com/product/mavic-air?site=brandsite&from=buy_now_bar&vid=39101. The base model is available for $799, while the combo pack that also includes three batteries, extra propellers, and additional goodies is $999. The Mavic Air is expected to begin shipping on January 28.