Aerial imagery app Airnest has extended compatibility to DJI’s Phantom 4 drone. The app, which offers users a simpler, more intuitive way to manage photography from above, can now be used with the Chinese manufacturer’s latest model. The move takes the number of drones that Airnest can work with up to seven.
Airnest is now compatible with 7 DJI drones.
With Airnest, users can plan a flight with a swipe of the finger while the drone is still on the ground. Once airborne, the drone will follow the path and can focus the camera on a specific point of focus. Airnest allows you to control your drone’s camera just by panning and tilting a connected iOS device. The Airnest platform is also updated to account for the latest FAA regulations, visualizes every airport no-fly zone in the US, and can give you local weather reports, instantly.
Airnest COO and Co-founder Justin Miller, said, “Our app offers pre-flight planning by simply drawing where you want to go and optionally setting a point of interest.” DJI GO enables automated flights, but first you have to fly the flight manually and record way points. “This is a time consuming process, and one that Airnest alleviates with it’s design geared towards ease of use”.
So what was it like testing the app with the most sophisticated consumer drone on the market? Miller said, “Like all of the drones that we support we must do a plethora of real world testing. The day that I tested the Phantom 4’s object avoidance with Airnest was especially interesting. I drew a flight path so that the Phantom 4 would run right into my house, and sent the bird off on its own. Amazingly, with no manual input, the drone followed the path perfectly as I watched it move on a collision course, and magically stopped about a meter short of the house and thus avoided what would have otherwise been a catastrophic crash!”
The Phantom 4’s obstacle avoidance is easily the most innovative aspect of DJI’s latest drone. But that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. The system only prevents collisions with objects directly in front of the drone, while during automated flight there is a chance it could cause the Phantom 4 to hit an object above or below whilst trying to avoid something directly in front.
This is something that the guys at Airnest have taken into account. Miller said that when used with the Phantom 4, “Airnest is currently set to just stop and hover when it encounters an obstacle along it’s flight path. We are still determining how to handle these situations. Since the largest number of obstacles for most pilots would be trees, we are concerned that if a drone is flying at low altitude and detects a tree, while being under the tree’s canopy, then setting it to fly over the obstacle could send it straight up and into the canopy. This would also result in a crash, and thus Airnest will set the drone to just stop and hover so the user can take manual control and back out of the situation.”
We’ll be taking a closer look at a few more aerial imagery apps in the coming weeks.
Malek Murison is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for tech trends and innovation. He handles product reviews, major releases and keeps an eye on the enthusiast market for DroneLife. Email Malek