Two separate sources with a solid track record for leaking news about upcoming drones (including the recently announced DJI Mini 3 Pro) have shared photos and early details about another new first-person view drone supposedly coming from DJI this Summer, one specifically designed for capturing unique shots in tight, indoor spaces.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is certainly already a smaller option as far as camera-carrying drones go, but it was designed that way so it would weigh less than 250 grams and users wouldn’t have to register it with the FAA — not to make it easier to pilot in tight spaces. This new option would fill that niche, with protection and other features the Mini 3 Pro lacks.
First, some background. A year ago, DJI released its first FPV drone with the aptly-named DJI FPV Drone, but according to @DealsDrone and @OsitaLV, the company has a follow-up enroute, with a potential July or August debut, featuring a cinewhoop-style design (more on that later) with ducted propellers that make it safer to operate indoors and more likely to survive a crash: a greater risk given where these types of drones are usually operated.
The new drone will seemingly be called the Avata and feature a low-profile body on top housing the batteries, camera, and other electronics. The drone will supposedly offer image quality on par with the new Mini 3 Pro, which was a big step-up for DJI’s compact drones, with better battery life and included FPV goggles for the pilot. It will also likely weigh around 500 grams, which means that users will have to register it with the FAA. There’s no pricing details yet, but the big appeal here is a noted drone manufacturer like DJI delivering a pre-built, ready-to-fly cinewhoop solution.
But what’s a cinewhoop? About a year ago, Jay Byrd Christensen, a highly-skilled drone pilot, shared a video of a drone flying through the Bryant-Lake Bowl bowling alley in Minneapolis. It was a white knuckle ride with what looked like countless close calls, and was only made possible by a relatively new type of drone nick-named a cinewhoop.
The name cinewhoop comes from combining the words ‘cinematic’ and ‘tiny whoop’ — a small and agile type of drone with propellers protected by ducts — and is most often applied to tiny drones custom-built to be fast and stable while being powerful enough to carry a capable camera. The other thing that differentiates cinewhoops from something like the DJI Mini 3 Pro is that, like racing drones, they’re piloted by someone wearing a pair of video goggles that provide a first-person video livestream from the drone itself, instead of manoeuvring it by watching the drone’s in-air movements from the ground.
DJI’s Avata would make it easier for anyone to capture these amazing kinds of shots — with the emphasis on easier and not easy, because even seasoned drone pilots will still need to up their skills to safely send a drone racing through a bowling alley.