DJI, the undisputed leader in commercial drone technology and sales, has recently announced an all-new goggle based piloting system that offers full immersion and a first person perspective from compatible UAVs. Providing full HD streaming from a connected Mavic Pro or Phantom 4 drone, the new tech is set to be a hit with both commercial operators and enthusiasts.
A New Way to Control Drones
Current DJI UAV owners will be familiar with the smartphone and remote control based piloting technologies that have become the industry standard. While this conventional method of piloting provides both accurate control and efficient streaming feedback from a drone camera, some operators might find the method to be limiting when it comes to immersive realism.
DJI’s new goggle based solution, simply known as DJI Goggles™, will provide a VR type experience with high definition imagery displayed in each eye, with full touch screen controls built into the goggle housing. DJI has revealed that each lens will provide a 1920x1080p image (Full HD) which will allow for seamless image quality with practically no pixel visibility. The resolution can be compared to viewing a 216-inch cinema screen from a three-meter viewing distance.
A Seamless HD Experience
This type of technology would have been unimaginable just a decade ago, at least at the resolutions that DJI is promising. Video data will not stream through the DJI controller when the goggles are in use, reducing latency and making flight operations both safer and more intuitive. Adding an additional layer of functionality, a single DJI Mavic Pro will be able to stream its camera feed to two sets of Goggles, allowing for more than one user to take part in the experience. This not only creates opportunities for enthusiasts and sightseers, but also for professionals who are using drone technology for aerial photography and videography, or even for surveying and search and rescue functions. On the technical side, the DJI Goggles will be able be able to output full HD streams at 30fps, or the resolution can be reduced to 720p with the advantage of streaming fluid 60fps video.
The touchpad built into the DJI Goggles™ allows for intuitive menu navigation, allowing an operator to choose from some of the exclusive flight features like Cinematic Mode, ActiveTrack, and Terrain Follow. Recent developments even allow for fixed wing flight with a DJI Mavic Pro device, simulating the forward movement of a conventional aircraft. DJI promises a thrilling experience for anyone using their goggles, simulating aircraft piloting from a safer environment. Even with all of these features, DJI is not stopping there when it comes to industry-first technologies.
One of the most compelling features integrated into the Goggles is full head tracking functionality. This feature will work with both the Mavic Pro, and various models from the Phantom 4 line. An operator can use head movements either for the control of the UAV, or for adjusting the on-board camera. For safety, the standard handheld control will retain master control of the UAV, allowing for safe flight, even when inexperienced operators are using the goggles. DJI recommends that due to the lack of situational awareness and peripheral view, a spotter is present whenever the goggles are being used. Operators should take care to follow all local regulations, as would be expected when piloting a drone with any type of controller.
More Than Just a Drone Viewing Headset
DJI Goggles™ rely on proprietary technology, but the peripheral can be used with a number of different devices. In addition to the OcuSync transmission that connects to devices like the Mavic Pro, users can also use a USB connector from the standard handheld controller for UAVs like the Phantom 4. Goggles include MicroSD functionality for reviewing video and photos without having to use a smartphone or other device, and units will even accept an HDMI input to view content from any HDMI compatible device. This means that an investment in DJI Goggles™ will provide entertainment opportunities, even outside of the UAV use-case-scenario.
Currently slated for shipping on May 20, initial expectations are that the DJI Goggles™ will retail for US$449 (£348).