Drones Technology

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Drones with ACTIVE Track follow function are ideal for environments where you want to get an immersive video during outdoor activities. What kind of mode it is, what useful properties it brings, we will consider in our new review. A nice bonus will be a selection of TOP 6 drones with the follow function.

Principle of operation

Imagine you have reached the top of a mountain and want to take a selfie with an amazing sunset in the background. But understand that this is impossible while the hands are busy piloting the drone. To do this, DJI has developed a number of functions that take on the bulk of routine work. This includes the automatic object following function.

Unmanned aerial vehicles with Active Track are able to automatically track the selected target. You don’t have to pilot the device for this. With a smart obstacle avoidance system, the action is doubly simplified.

follow function

Currently, the follow function relies on two main object tracking technologies:

GPS technology

The first UAV models were programmed to look for a signal from a GPS transmitter or Ground Control Station (GSC) sensor. The pilot of such models had to carry these systems with him, creating a “virtual control cable” between himself and the drone.

Visual Recognition Technology

The technology has existed and been used in robotics since the early 2000s. The bottom line is to track a person or object through data coming from the device’s camera.

The principle of operation is simple: the camera collects photo, video and audio data, which are transmitted to the processor. It then recognizes moving objects in the frame and locates them.

The processor recognizes objects of any type: cars, bicycles, people or animals In low light conditions, it does not work accurately.

To optimize performance, DJI combined these two technologies into the ACTIVE Track system, taking the best qualities from each of them.

The system uses GPS and visual recognition at the same time. They serve to determine the location of the drone, stabilize it in flight, determine other objects in the frame, and plot the flight path between obstacles. The system quickly gained popularity, and today absolutely all DJI quadcopters are equipped with it.

Consider the best UAVs equipped with ACTIVE Track. What is the difference between their functionality, and which ones are best for you, see below.

1. Mavic 2 – foldable drone and outstanding technology
The ACTIVE Track 2.0 mode on the Mavic 2 includes the following features:

Trace: The aircraft follows the operator at a specified distance. The control stick on the remote control is used to fly around the object in a circle. You can also control the device through the DJI GO 4 app.

Parallel (Profile): The aircraft is positioned sideways at one angle.
Spotlight: The aircraft does not automatically follow the subject, but keeps focus on it at all times. The remote control is used for piloting, but attitude control is disabled. To adjust the frame, use the left control stick and the wheel to adjust the stabilizer.
The Mavic 2 is the first in a line of DJI drones to feature six obstacle detection sensors in all directions. They provide quality work even in the most difficult situations. And thanks to the upgraded Flight Autonomy autopilot system, data is transmitted and processed continuously in real time.

There is also DJI proprietary technology – the APAS Advanced Piloting System. It allows you to easily control the drone, both in the direct direction of flight and backwards. The obstacle avoidance system also operates on both sides. The APAS system automatically plots the optimal flight path around these obstacles. Works in both free flight and ACTIVE Track.

2. Mavic Air 2 – cutting-edge quality and style

New from DJI, released in May 2020. It has a compact design, a 48 MP camera and a number of smart modes. The Air 2 can be considered the best all-around drone for travel or outdoor sports.

Mavic Air 2 features an improved ACTIVE Track 3.0 with similar tracking features as described above. Interestingly, with the advent of the third generation of DJI’s Active Track technology, following an object and avoiding obstacles is smoother than ever.

With “smart” technology, the drone skillfully avoids obstacles, reducing or gaining altitude as needed. It does not have cameras on the sides and top.

The model also includes the optional APAS 3.0 obstacle avoidance and collision avoidance system. The mode is capable of operating at a copter flight speed of up to 12 m/s.

3. Mavic Pro – a classic in modern processing

At the time of its appearance on the market, the model acted as a flagship. The drone combines portability and functionality and remains one of DJI’s most popular drones. By the way, one of the first Mavic Pro provided shooting video in 4K resolution.

Mavic Pro’s ACTIVE Track mode comes with three of the previously discussed features, plus a fourth, Terrain Follow.

The Downward Vision Sensor is used to register and maintain the flight altitude (max. 2 m). The function is designed to work in conditions where the climb angle does not exceed 20 degrees.

Thanks to the system of visual recognition, Mavic Pro is able to track obstacles both in front of it and from below. Upon detecting an obstacle in one of the flight modes, the drone will stop, hover for a short time, and then rise above the obstacle (at least 5 meters).