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When DJI introduced the Mavic to the world, it had to be better than the Phantom 4, now the challenge of introducing the Phantom 4 pro, is that it has to be better than both the previous P4 and better than the Mavic aside the portability aspect of the Mavic of course.

Let’s look at some of the details and differences between the Phantom 4 and its Pro version.

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The Aircraft itself

The aircraft performance looking at DJI specks are similar there in an increase in weight on the pro version of only 8 grams from 1380gr to 1388gr, the max sport mode speeds are the same 72km/h or 20m/s, but there is an increase of 16 km/h on the max speed in P-Mode (10 mph) .

There is also a noticeable an increase in range to 7km (advertised) similar to its little brother the Mavic Pro.

The Camera

The biggest and most useful difference upgrading from a Phantom 4 to the pro version is of course the camera, the camera is the money maker in a competitive world of aerial services, being able to sell better looking pictures or higher quality videos should guaranty a return on investment for the upgrade.

The camera has a 1-inch CMOS sensor that shoots 20 megapixel stills and can capture up to 11.6 stops of dynamic range. Greater dynamic range means the camera’s sensors will be better able to balance and resolve differences between light and dark. This is a common problem in aerial footage, when you often have a brightly lighted sky against dark terrain below.

It is the first DJI camera to use a mechanical shutter, eliminating rolling shutter distortion which can occur when taking images of fast moving subjects or when flying at high speed. Many drone cameras struggle with the “rolling shutter” effect, which can give a Jell-O-like shake to footage, especially when filming quick pans or chasing fast-moving subjects.DJI says a new mechanical shutter on the Phantom 4 Pro will help to alleviate that.

And it has added the ability to adjust the lens aperture, giving filmmakers greater control over depth of field in their images. The camera can now shoot 14 photos per second in burst mode and capture slow motion video at 60 frames per second. The 1 inch sensor seems to be the same sensor as Sony Rx100 m4/5 which in itself is a $1000 camera

The field of view is slightly narrower than the Phantom 4—the Pro’s lens captures the equivalent of a 24mm prime on a full-frame system, versus the P4’s 20mm scope. The camera also adds aperture control (f/2.8 through f/11), so you won’t have to rely on neutral density filters to control your shutter angles.

The video bit rate has been improved as well. Footage is compressed at 100Mbps using H.265 compression, up from the H.264 60Mbps format offered by the Phantom 4…

Max Image Size 3:2
Aspect Ratio : 5472 × 3648
4:3 Aspect Ratio : 4864 × 3648
16:9 Aspect Ratio : 5472 × 3078
ISO Range Video : 100 – 3200 (Auto); 100 – 6400 (Manual)
Photo : 100 – 3200 (Auto); 100- 12800 (Manual)

Increased Obstacle Sensors e.g. 5 Direction Obstacle Detection

An additional stereo vision sensors placed at the rear to add to the pair placed at the front as well as infrared sensing systems placed on the left and right sides, so this gives us a total of 5-direction of obstacle sensing and 4-direction of obstacle avoidance right ? Not all the time. Though IR sensors are advertised as part of ‘five-way’ obstacle detection system, they only work in beginner mode and tripod mode, so basically if you fly in P mode or Atti mode; it’s only two-way obstacle avoidance system (front and back).

I assume the reason DJI did that, because IR sensors could only detect obstacles within 7 meters, as opposed to vision cameras sensors 30 meters. So in P mode or any other mode which allows you fly faster, there’s no enough distance for braking.The Phantom 4 Pro front and rear visual sensors that can detect obstacles up to 98 feet or 30 meters away. Bottom sensors can help avoid landing on uneven ground or water.

While infrared sensing systems on both sides allows the drone to figure out where it is within a space, recognizing obstacles up to 23 feet or 7 meters away. The top of the drone is the only side left unprotected; there are also some new and enhanced modes, made possible by the additional sensors.

One of witch is Aerial intelligence. It is made up of a complex network of ten component groups including seven cameras — forward, rearward and downward dual vision sensors and the primary camera — an infrared sensing system,The Phantom 4 Pro acquires a real-time view of its environment and information about the height and position of nearby obstacles to create a 3D map it can locate itself within.

Obstacle sensors are useful, even though there seems to be a split between the more experienced aerial filming community and the more consumer oriented videos. Obstacle sensors will modify a trajectory if an obstacle is detected, and will go against the flight path chosen by the operator in order to avoid a potential collision. Most experienced pilots I know will shut off the sensors and fly in ATTI mode, this is ideal for pilots looking to capture smoother footage in a tight environment.

There is an example below of a low resolution video taken with a Phantom 4 that would otherwise been impossible to take with all the sensors activated, ATTI mode was also used to give a smoother flowing effect

The Battery

The previous P4 Battery, had a capacity of 5350 mAh for a weight of 462gr, the new battery PH4-5870
Has an increase in capacity of 5870 mAh for a new weight 468gr, just 6 grams heavier, and both batteries type can be used in all P4 models.

DJI rates the Pro for an extra 2 minutes of flight time, giving it the potential to fly for 30 minutes. Battery estimates don’t always reflect real-world results, but the Phantom 4 netted an average 23 minutes of flight when we tested it. Based on this, we expect the Pro to fly for 24 or 25 minutes in real-world conditions.

The Remote / The Range And The Power / Frequency Swapping Technology

The main difference with previous remotes is that both aircraft and remote integrates a new technology that consists in frequency swapping, actually from 2.4 GHz to 5.8 GHz the ability to choose between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz allows pilots to cut through interference and eliminates image lag caused when flying in an area with extensive 2.4GHz frequency use. As the 2.4GHz frequency band is often affected by Wi-Fi, 4G cell towers, and other types of interference in urban areas, a 5.8GHz band will increase transmission reliability. When switched on, the Phantom 4 Pro evaluates local signal levels, automatically choosing the transmission frequency with the lowest level of interference.

There are 2 different remotes for the Phantom 4 Pro, the GL300E or the GL300F; The GL300F looks similar to the remotes we are used to in the phantom 4 original with no monitor screen and an USB port to connect our mobile device. There is no information so far if the HDMI module could be installed on a GL300F, I would think not, since the technology inside the remote is completely different from the previous versions.
The second more sophisticated remote is the GL300E that includes a integrated monitor GL300E:

  • Built-in display device 5.5 inch screen
  • 1920×1080, 1000 cd/m2
  • Android system
  • 4G RAM+16G ROM
  • Live views projections
  • Can be used for various applications

Integration of an HDMI port, Micro SD card slot so you can save streamed footage, as well as a GPS, a microphone, embedded loudspeaker, and a Wi-Fi connection that allow images to be edited inside DJI GO.

What is interesting also is that DJI boosted the Transmitter Power (EIRP) of the remotes on the new P4 models from 23 dbm to 26dbm ( FCC) for the 2.4 GHz frequency, and to 28dbm o the 5,8ghz

New Modes And New Functions

1. Draw

Draw is a brand new technology for waypoint control. Simply draw a route on screen and the Phantom 4 Pro will move in that direction while keeping its altitude locked. This allows the pilot to focus on camera control and enables more complex shots. There are two Draw modes that can be used in different scenarios.

2. ActiveTrack dengan 3 sub mode

Pilots can now choose between:

  • Trace – Follow behind or in front of a subject, avoiding obstacles automatically.
  • Profile – Fly alongside a subject at a variety of angles to get profile shots of the subject.
  • Spotlight – Keep the camera trained on a subject while the aircraft flies almost anywhere.

3. TapFly

There are now three TapFly modes:

  • TapFly Forward – Tap to fly in the selected direction
  • TapFly Backward – Tap to fly in the opposite direction of the tap, i.e. tap in the bottom right corner of the screen to fly backward towards the top left.
  • TapFly Free – Lock the forward direction of the Phantom without locking the camera direction allowing it to turn as it flies.

4. Return to Home (RTH)

Improved obstacle avoidance during RTH.

Tripod Mode that was introduced with the mavic is now available on the P4P
TapFly has been improved and now lets you move the drone backward and supports Free mode, which rotates the aircraft as it moves along its path, without changing the direction of flight.

5. Gesture Mode was originally introduced with the mavic

Using Gesture Mode, selfies can be captured easily using a few gestures without the remote controller. Advanced computer vision technology allows the Phantom 4 Pro to take instructions through gestures. The subject simply lifts their arms when facing the camera and the aircraft will recognize this movement by locking on and placing the subject in the center of the frame. When ready for a photo, the subject holds their arms out to signal the aircraft. A three second countdown will begin, making time to strike a pose, allowing moments to be captured without the remote control.

I’m not sure this mode is really useful but it will surely impress the heck out of your friends, at least the ones that are still new to drone technology, if there are still some of them in this world.

DJI is rapidly moving towards building more intelligent drones with every upgrade, the new P4P is the case, for example new capacities in anticipating the difference in movement of a bicycle and a pedestrian or a car, something that was never done before is clearly one step closer to artificial intelligence.

One thing that is rarely talked about is the introduction of redundancy in drone’s technology.

Because failure is always has to be an option, redundancy played a big role in the design of modern civilian aircrafts, and is now slowly being introduced to drones e.g. Phantom 4 and the Inspire 2.

First what is redundancy?

Redundancy is best defined in engineering, as the duplication of critical components or functions of a system with the intention of increasing reliability of the system.

In the case of the new Inspire, the use of 2 batteries (Not only to increase flight time) Dual batteries mean that if a problem occurs on one battery the other is able to continue flight long enough for a safe landing, dual IMUs and dual compasses that automatically switch if an error is detected in one or the other, the Inspire 2 propulsion system is driven a PWM signal with serial port signal redundancy so that if PWM signals are lost. In other words “Safety ”

New laws and regulations around the world will eventually be pushing the drone manufacturers to apply the same safety standards in designing a drone as it would for an commercial aircraft manufacturer, that is especially true for commercial applications of UAVs, Drones are getting smaller and also getting bigger, so the industry has to adapt, miniaturized but also smarter, heavier and bigger drones are coming our way, the future is exciting and technology is moving fast.

Teknisi Emon

Teknisi Emon

Teknisi JogjaSKy

Written by Emon Teknisi JogjaSky

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