DJI's adding autopilot features to Phantom 3 drones next week

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James Trew
September 3, 2015 4:15 AM
DJI's adding autopilot features to Phantom 3 drones next week

DJI pleased Phantom owners recently when it announced that much-needed autopilot features would be coming to its most popular series of quadcopters, and the Inspire 1. Today, we learn when (September 7th) and how (via a good ole' firmware update). The new flight features include Waypoints (map out a path in advance, and the quad will follow it), Point of Interest (the quad flies around a set object with the camera remaining fixed on it) and Follow Me (you can guess what that does -- only coming to Phantom 3, not Inspire 1). There are also two features specific for the Phantom 3 Standard which make it easier to fly the quadcopter back to you should you lose your orientation -- these are already available on DJI's other craft. Finally, Phantom 3 Advance owners get a nice bonus, with the addition of a 2.7K (2704x1520) camera recording option -- a solid bump up from 1080p.

DJI may be the dominant name in consumer-friendly quadcopters (we loved its Phantom 3 Professional), but it's facing more competition for that top spot than ever before. DJI's weakest area with the Phantom line was its autopilot features, or lack of, that many rival craft came with as standard (and some even made their main selling point). Advanced flight modes have been available in the company's higher end craft, or as a pricey after-market upgrade for the older Phantoms for a while, but only those without a built-in camera. For many, me included, it was always a glaring hole in the spec-sheet, one we're glad to see finally getting plugged. Below is our Phantom 3 footage without autopilot, so we're looking forward to testing out the new features when they land.

DJI Phantom 3 Video Sample

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