Drones with obstacle detection and collision avoidance sensors are becoming more prevalent in both the consumer and professional sectors. This year, we have quite a few drones with collision avoidance technology.

This obstacle detection and avoidance technology started with sensors detecting objects in front of the drone.  Now the latest drones from DJI, Walkera, Yuneec and others have front, behind below and side obstacle avoidance sensor.

At the time of writing there is 1 drone which has all 6 directions of obstacle detection.

In this article we take a quick view at the top drones with obstacle detection and collision avoidance technology. We also give you a brief overview of the type of obstacle detection sensors being used along with information on software algorithms and SLAM technology which is used to interpret the images being scanned by the sensors.  There are also links and information if you would like to create your own d-i-y collision avoidance system.

Surprisingly, there is not just one type of obstacle detection sensor being used by the drone manufacturers.  We are seeing Stereo Vision, Monocular Vision, Ultrasonic, Infrared, Time-of-Flight and Lidar sensors being used to detect and avoid obstacles.  Manufacturers are fusing these various sensors together to create the obstacle detection and collision avoidance systems.

10 Top Drones With Obstacle Avoidance

The below obstacle avoidance drones contain from 1 to 6 directions of obstacle avoidance technology. We will review this list in more detail further along this post.

  • Kespry 2
  • DJI Spark
  • Walkera Vitus
  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • Yuneec Typhoon H
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro
  • DJI Phantom 4 Advanced
  • DJI Matrice 200
  • DJI Inspire 1
  • DJI Inspire 2

As you can see DJI who are the leading consumer and professional drone manufacturer with something like 70% of the market are also leading the way when it comes to obstacle avoidance drones.

To compare all the above drones, I believe that the DJI Phantom 4 Pro has the best obstacle avoidance system. It has 5 directions of obstacle sensing and 4 directions of obstacle avoidance which is outstanding. It also has many intelligent flight modes, super smooth stability and top 4k camera.  Each drone is different with the more expensive ones been used for commercial inspections, photogrammetry and movie making.

Benefits Of Collision Avoidance Drones

There are so many advantages and benefits to drones with collision avoidance systems.

Safer Drones With Obstacle Detection

Less drone crashes is what everyone wants.  For the drone owner, it is very easy to get carried away while flying.  If you loose your bearings or concentration, you could easily fly backwards or sideways into an object. It is even possible to fly head on into an obstacle especially when flying further out distances.

Nearly all drones have first person view which transmit the video from the drone camera back to the remote controller, smartphone or tablet.  However, it is possible to loose this video transmission. If you have flown a good bit out of direct line of sight, without obstacle avoidance it is going to be impossible to fly back home safely without video transmission. Pressing the Return To Home button is the only option but if you don’t have obstacle avoidance it could very well crash.

Drones are being used in many public areas and at events as they capture stunning film from unique angles. Unfortunately, there have been a few accidents which is not good.  People should be safe at concerts or sporting events so collision avoidance drones at these events is a must.

Flying Indoors

Obstacle Detection And Collision Avoidance Technology ExplainedMost drones today fly using the GPS and GLONASS satellite navigation systems to know exactly where it is and to fly stable.  Flying outdoors in open space is easy. The big challenge is flying indoors.  There are many great uses for drones to fly indoors.   We are seeing factories and warehouses looking to use drones in many ways such as inspections, counting inventory and logistics.

Flying indoors is more difficult.  Less space and more obstacles are the biggest problems.  Many drones need pilots to manually fly indoors. With obstacle avoidance sensors, this will allow drones to navigate autonomously indoors.

Insurance Costs

The costs for insuring a professional aerial filming or multispectral drone can be quite high. A top of the range multirotor carrying expensive camera equipment could cost up anywhere up to USD 50k. For these drones, it is essential to have insurance and the insurance costs are high. Having a drone with obstacle detection collision avoidance systems will bring down these insurance costs.

Obstacle Detection Drones For Ease Of Mind

The latest top drones today have 4k cameras and film beautifully. Many people would love to own a drone but are terrified of crashing.  If a drone pilot crashes into a tree, then it is pretty bad, but if it crashes into a person, cyclist or car it could be pretty catastrophic as well as highly embarrassing.  Many people are afraid that they will crash on their first flight wiping out their purchase.

With obstacle detection along with the many safety features which come on drones today, we should see many more people taking up drone flying as a hobby or as a profession.  There as so many great uses for drones and even more to be realized.

Future – Safe Autonomous Drones Delivering Parcels

Drones are with us to stay and we could be looking at a future where drones are autonomously delivering parcels, medications and pizza to our doors.  There are so many challenges to be overcome for this to happen.  Without doubt, drones will need to be 100% safe. They will need to be perfect at avoiding obstacles both moving and stationery.

Obstacle Avoidance Sensors

The various drones are using the following obstacle avoidance sensors either on their own or combined;

  • Stereo Vision
  • Ultrasonic (Sonar)
  • Time-of-Flight
  • Lidar
  • Infrared
  • Monocular Vision

There are brief easy to understand explanations on how each sensor works further down this post.

What Is Obstacle Detection And Collision Avoidance Technology 

For a drone, car or robot to detect objects and then take action to avoid the obstacle whether to stop, go around or above the object involves many complex technologies working together to create an integrated system.  This entails many various sensors, software programming which include mathematical modelling, algorithms, machine learning and aspects of SLAM technology. Let’s take a quick look at these various technologies.

Sensor Fusion

Sensor fusion is a process by which data from several different sensors are “fused” to compute something more than could be determined by any one sensor alone.  Sensor fusion is a subcategory of data fusion and is also called multisensory data fusion or sensor-data fusion.  Many of the DJI drones combine various sensors into their collision avoidance system.

Another area where sensor fusion is used is in precision agricultural using multispectral sensors on drones.  Multispectral remote sensing imaging technology use Green, Red, Red-Edge and Near Infrared wavebands to capture both visible and invisible images of crops and vegetation.

These various obstacle avoidance sensors feed the data back to the flight controller which is running obstacle detection software and algorithms. The flight controller has many functions.  One of these is to process image data of surroundings which was scanned by the obstacle detection sensors in realtime.

Obstacle Avoidance Algorithms

The obstacle avoidance algorithm is the process or set of rules to be followed in calculating the data from the various sensors.  The algorithm is a detailed step-by-step instruction set or formula for solving the problem of detecting all types of objects both moving or stationary.  Depending on the algorithm, it will be able to compare real time data from stored referenced images of objects and can even build on these images.

There are many techniques which can be used for obstacle avoidance including how the algorithm processes the data. The best technique depend on the specific environment and is different for a collision avoidance drone and a robot in a factory.

Here is a nice webpage which explains obstacle avoidance techniques. It gives you an idea of the technology and techniques which is used to detect objects in a very simple way.

The algorithm is very important.  You could have the best obstacle detection sensor but if the software and algorithm is poorly written, then the data from the sensor will not be interpreted incorrectly leading to flight errors and the drone crashing.

SLAM Technology For Detecting And Avoiding Obstacles

Simultaneous localization and mapping or SLAM is an extremely important technology when it comes to drones, cars and robots in detecting and avoiding obstacles.   SLAM is a process whereby a robot or a device can create a map of its surroundings, and orient itself properly within this map in real time. This is no easy task, and SLAM is currently at the forefront of technology research and design.

SLAM technology works by first building a pre-existing map of its environment. The device such as a drone or robot is programmed with pre-existing maps. This map is then refined as the robot or drone moves through the environment.

The true challenge of this technology is one of accuracy. Measurements must constantly be taken as the robot or drone as it moves through its space, and the technology must take into account the “noise” that is introduced by both the movement of the device and the inaccuracy of the measurement method.

SLAM is fascinating technology and you can read more about it in this article entitled “What is SLAM Technology“.  Many of the obstacle detection and avoidance technology in drones use some parts of SLAM. Monocular vision is one such technology.

Full Obstacle Avoidance System – Flight Controller

Each drone will have slight differences on what to do once an object has been detected.  The sensors scan the surroundings and feed this information back to the flight control system which will control the obstacle avoidance algorithm.  The flight controller will then direct the drone depending on interpretation of the visual data from the algorithm whether to fly around, above or just hover in front of the obstacle.

Obstacle Detection To Track And Follow Objects

These obstacle detection sensors can do more than just detect objects and navigate around them or to stop from crashing into the obstacle.  All of the drones listed above use their vision sensors together with advanced image recognition algorithms to allow the quadcopter to recognize and tracks objects.   These obstacle detection sensors and algorithms can detect people, vehicles, animals and many other objects to follow.

On the DJI drones, this technology is known as ActiveTrack with the following choices

Trace – Follow behind or in front of a subject, avoiding obstacles automatically.
Profile – Fly alongside a subject at a variety of angles to get profile shots of the subject.
Spotlight – Keep the camera trained on a subject while the aircraft flies almost anywhere.

Ultrasonic sensors beneath the Phantom 4 and Mavic allow these drones to track the level of ground with a terrain follow mode. Basically these drones stay at the same height level above the ground automatically.

How Collision Avoidance Sensors Work

Next, we give a brief explanation how each obstacle detection sensor works.  We have links to further articles and videos relating to Stereo Vision, Infrared, Lidar, ToF, Ultrasonic and Monocular vision sensors.

Stereo Vision Sensors For Obstacle Avoidance

Stereo vision works in a similar way to 3D sensing in our human vision.  Stereoscopic vision is the calculation of depth information by combining two-dimensional images from two cameras at slightly different viewpoints.

It begins with identifying image pixels which correspond to the same point in a physical scene observed by multiple cameras. The 3D position of a point can then be established by triangulation using a ray from each camera.

The more corresponding pixels identified, the more 3D points which can be determined with a single set of images. Correlation stereo methods attempt to obtain correspondences for every pixel in the stereo image, resulting in tens of thousands of 3D values generated with every stereo image.

DJI use stereo vision for obstacle avoidance on the front of their drones.  They also combine Stereo Vision and Ultrasonic sensors beneath their drones too.

Here is a short video on how Stereo Vision works.

Centeye RockCreek Vision Sensor

Centeye has prototyped a vision based system to allow small drones to both hover in place without GPS and avoid collisions with nearby obstacles.

This system was tested on a “nano” unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) which weighs about an ounce and can fit in the palm of one’s hand. It uses Centeye RockCreek™ vision chips.

The video below shows sample flights in an indoor residence.

Ultrasonic Sensors For Detecting Objects (Sonar)

An Ultrasonic Sensor sends out a high-frequency sound pulse and then times how long it takes for the echo of the sound to reflect back. The ultrasound sensor has 2 openings.  One of these openings transmits the ultrasonic waves, (like a tiny speaker) and the other opening receives the ultrasonic waves, (like a tiny microphone).

The speed of sound is approximately 341 meters (1100 feet) per second in air. The ultrasonic sensor uses this information along with the time difference between sending and receiving the sound pulse to determine the distance to an object. It uses the following mathematical equation:

Distance = Time x Speed of Sound / by 2

  • Time = the time between when an ultrasonic wave is transmitted and when it is received
  • You divide this number by 2 because the sound wave has to travel to the object and back

Most drones use the ultrasonic sensors on the bottom of the drone for detecting ground and also for use in terrain follow mode.

Ultrasound is used in many different fields. Ultrasonic devices are used to detect objects and measure distances. Ultrasound imaging or sonography is often used in medicine. In the nondestructive testing of products and structures, ultrasound is used to detect invisible flaws. Ultrasound has many industrial uses from cleaning, mixing, and to accelerate chemical processes. Animals such as bats and porpoises use ultrasound for locating prey and obstacles.

The term sonar is used for the equipment used to generate and receive the sound. The acoustic frequencies used in sonar systems vary from very low infrasonic to extremely high ultrasonic.

HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor

The HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor uses sonar to determine the distance to an object like the way bats do. It offers excellent non-contact range detection with high accuracy and stable readings in an easy-to-use package. From 2 cm to 400 cm or 1 inch to 13 feet.

This HC-SR04 operation is not affected by sunlight or black material like Sharp rangefinders are (although acoustically soft materials like cloth can be difficult to detect). It comes complete with ultrasonic transmitter and receiver module.

You can read a complete guide to the HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor here.

Time-of-Flight (ToF) Sensors For Collision Avoidance

Time-of-Flight Sensors For Collision Avoidance In DronesA Time-of-Flight camera consists of a lens, an integrated light source, sensor and an interface.  It is able to capture depth and intensity information simultaneously for every pixel in the image making it extremely fast with high frame rates.

ToF sensors capture depth independently allowing for relatively simply obstacle avoidance algorithms to be used. ToF cameras are also highly accurate. Time of Flight are also referred to as “Flash Lidar” but this technology should not be confused with Lidar which I discuss further down.

How it works. The ToF camera illuminates the whole scene including objects using a pulse or continuous wave light source and then observing the reflected light. It measures the time of flight of the pulse from the emitter to the object and then back after reflecting off the object. Because the speed of light is known, the distance to all of the points on the obstacle can be easily calculated.

From these calculations the result is a 3D depth range map which was created in a single shot of an area or scene.  It is the quickest technology to capture 3D information.

The Walkera Vitus is using ToF sensors for collision avoidance on the front, left and right hand side of their latest pocket sized quadcopter.

You can read further on the many terrific uses for ToF sensors on drones here.

Heptagon Olivia ToF Obstacle Detection Sensor

The OLIVIA range sensor for obstacle detection and collision avoidance provides accurate and repeatable absolute distance measurements up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) in normal lighting conditions.  The OLIVIA is a complete intelligent system module with an integrated microprocessor, adaptive algorithms, advanced optics, ToF sensor and light source. 

Specifically designed for mobile, robotics and other HMI (Human Machine Interface) devices, Heptagon developed the OLIVIA 3D Ranger for long distance ranging, low power, small size, and ease of use. OLIVIA monitors the environmental ambient light, automatically adjusts exposure settings, and calculates the distance. 

Infrared Sensor For Obstacle Detection

An Infrared (IR) obstacle detection sensor works in accordance with the infrared reflection principle to detect obstacles.

An IR obstacle avoidance sensor mainly consists of an infrared transmitter, an infrared receiver and a potentiometer. According to the reflecting character of an object, if there is no obstacle, the emitted infrared ray will weaken with the distance it spreads and finally disappear.

If there is an obstacle, when the infrared ray encounters it, the ray will be reflected back to the infrared receiver. Then the infrared receiver detects this signal and confirms an obstacle in front.

To prevent the IR sensor from being confused by visible light, infrared detectors work with a specific frequency of infrared which is produced by the emitter, reflected by an object, then picked up by the receiver. The two devices (emitter and receiver) are matched for optimal sensitivity.

When there is no object, the infrared receiver receives no signals. When there is an object ahead which will block the IR light and then reflect the infrared light back to the receiver.

Here is a nice short video which explains how an IR obstacle sensor works.

Sharp GP2Y0A02YK0F Infrared Distance Sensor

The Sharp GP2Y0A02YK0F measures distances in the 6 to 60 inch  (20 – 150 cm) range using a reflected beam of infrared light.  By using triangulation to calculate the distance measured, this sensor can provide consistent readings which are less influenced by surface reflectivity, operating time, or environmental temperature.

The Sharp GP2Y0A02YK0F outputs an analog voltage corresponding to the distance to the reflecting object. You can read more on this Sharp IR distance sensor here.

Arduino Nano Board And IR Obstacle Avoidance Sensor Module

A very popular way of learning about obstacle detection is through using an Arduino Nano electronics board and IR obstacle avoidance sensors.

Lidar For Obstacle Detection

A lidar sensor calculates distances and detects objects by measuring the time which it takes for a short laser pulse to travel from the sensor to an object and back, calculating the distance from the known speed of light.

Top of the range sensors such as the Velodyne Lidar sensor used in the Google driverless cars combine multiple laser/detector pairs (up to 64) into one sensor and each can pulse at 20 kHz. This allows for measurements of up to 1.3 million data points per second.

Different applications require different demands on the data quality. However an abundance of data is absolutely necessary for the most reliable object detection making lidar sensors perfect for obstacle detection.

Lidar sensors on drones has many uses and  you can read further on lidar sensors on drones here.

The Kespry 2.0 commercial UAV uses Lidar sensors to detect and avoid obstacles.

LeddarTech Vu8 LiDAR Sensor 

Leddartech Vu8 Lidar Sensor For Collision Avoidance.The LeddartTech Vu8 is a compact solid-state LiDAR which provides highly accurate multi-target detection over eight independent segments. The Vu8 Lidar sensor weighing only 75 grams can detect obstacles at up to 700 feet (215 meters) range. The Vu8 uses a fixed laser light source, which significantly increases the sensor’s robustness and cost-efficiency compared with any scanning LiDAR solution.

The Vu8 sensor is very suited for navigation and collision avoidance applications in driver assisted, semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles such as drones, trucks, heavy equipment for construction and mining, shuttles, buses and other public transportation vehicles.

Applications such as Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) requiring longer ranges as well as wide fields of view will also benefit greatly from the new Vu8 sensor offering.

The Vu8 modules are available today in various field of view options at a list price starting at $475, with discount quantities available.

Monocular Vision Sensors For Obstacle Avoidance

Monocular sensors capture images through a single lens camera. It is 3D depth reconstruction from a single still image.

Depth perception is the ability to see things in 3 dimensions and judge distance.  As humans we use depth cues when looking at images to determine distances between objects. These depth cues can be binocular or monocular.

Depth cues are also known as Pictorial Depth Cues and there are many of them.

An example of a monocular cue is linear perspective. In a photograph of railway tracks going into the distance, the parallel lines of the track appear to meet together.   This gives us the visual perspective of distance.

Another example is when viewing 2 objects which are the same. The object farther away will appear smaller even though the objects are still the same size.

Again, another example of a monocular cue is objects that are farther away appear higher up an image and closer to the horizon line.

Monocular cameras are quite popular and inexpensive. The algorithms used to interpret the image data is what makes monocular vision cameras able to create a 3D images, determine distances between objects and detect obstacles.

In a very simplistic explanation, the algorithm compares the image captured by the monocular vision camera sensor to its pictorial depth cues.  That makes it sound very simple.  However to achieve obstacle detection using monocular vision cameras has take some outstanding research.

Here is a really terrific article entitled Monocular Visual Mapping for Obstacle Avoidance on UAVs.

Monocular Cameras For Drones

The Parrot AR 2.0 drone has 2 monocular cameras. One front facing and the other downward facing.  In fact most drones are equipped with a monocular camera. However, nearly all drones don’t use the monocular cameras for detecting and avoiding obstacles.

However, many researchers are using monocular cameras such as on the Parrot AR 2.0 drone to the detect objects in real time using machine learning algorithms.  Here is another article with videos where the Parrot AR drone 2.0 monocular cameras are being used to detect and avoid obstacles using Monocular vision.

Top Drones With Obstacle Avoidance

Lets start with some of the most popular and latest drones with collision avoidance system on the market today.

NOTE: If you buy any drone with obstacle detection and collision avoidance, please read the manual as obstacle avoidance may be switched off in certain modes or will not work if conditions such as lighting or surroundings are not suited to the particular obstacle avoidance sensor.

In bad lighting the Obstacle avoidance may not work or in certain modes such as Sports mode, it could be switched off.

DJI Mavic Pro Obstacle Avoidance Drone

Types of obstacle detection sensors used;

  • Vision Sensors
  • Ultrasonic Sensors

This very high tech simple to fly Mavic drone has obstacle detection and collision in 2 directions.  It fuses these sensors, its main camera and sophisticated algorithms into its system called FlightAutonomy for obstacle detection and avoidance.

FlightAutonomy is made up of 7 components including 5 cameras (forward and downward dual vision sensors and the main camera), dual-band satellite positioning (GPS and GLONASS), 2 ultrasonic rangefinders, redundant sensors, and a group of 24 powerful, specialized computing cores.

As the Mavic flies, dual forward and downward vision sensors measure the distance between itself and obstacles by taking photos from all four cameras and using the information to create a 3D map that tells it exactly where obstacles are. The dual forward and downward vision sensors require visible light to function, and in bright light can see as far as 49 feet (15 meters) in front.

The Mavic’s Terrain Follow function uses height information gathered by the onboard ultrasonic system, and its downward facing cameras to keep you flying at the same height above the ground even as the ground moves.

Both the ultrasonic sensors and vision sensors are required to fly indoors or without have GPS signals. The ultrasonic and vision sensors are also used for super smooth hovering and landing.

Here’s a terrific video showing the Mavic Pro obstacle avoidance technology in action. Also notice has smooth the Mavic Pro flies and films. It is also one of the easiest drones to fly.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obstacle Avoidance Drone

The Phantom 4 Pro is a truly outstanding drone.  It has a terrific 4k camera and flies super stable. In fact, I watched a video recently where one of its propellers was cut off and it still flew very stable.   The Phantom 4 Pro also has many auto intelligent flight modes such as Follow, ActiveTrack, Orbit, Points of Interest which make filming real easy.

Phantom 4 Pro Collision Avoidance

The Phantom 4 Pro has 5 directions of obstacle sensing and 4 directions of obstacle avoidance using the following types of sensors;

  • Stereo Vision
  • Infrared System

DJI fuse the above sensors in a system which they call FlightAutonomy.

FlightAutonomy uses high-resolution stereo vision sensors placed at the rear in addition to a pair placed at the front as well as infrared sensing systems placed on the left and right sides. The Phantom 4 Pro uses a 6 camera navigation system.

Three sets of dual vision sensors form a 6 camera navigation system which work constantly to calculate the relative speed and distance between the Phantom 4 and an object. Using this network of forward, rear and downward vision sensors, the Phantom 4 Pro is able to hover precisely in place without GPS when taking off indoors, on balconies or even when flying through windows with minimal pilot control.

The Phantom 4 Pro is able to fly in complex environments at a flight speed of up to 31 mph (50 km/h) while avoiding obstacles in its path. In Narrow Sensing Mode, the Phantom 4 Pro narrows its sensing scope enabling it to see in more detail and fly through small spaces.

Vision Sensors For Intelligent Flight Modes

Again, DJI use the Phantom 4 vision sensors for more than just collision avoidance.  The sensors are used to follow and track objects and people in their autonomous flight modes.

The Phantom 4 is a big choice for many professionals and can be used for a wide variety of uses such as inspections, 3D imaging and professional film making and photography.  It is also very competitively priced.  There are also many Phantom 4 Pro bundle offers available.

Here is a terrific video of the Phantom 4 collision avoidance system being tested in its autonomous flight modes.  The Phantom 4 has without doubt the best collision avoidance technology when compared to other drones.

Walkera Vitus Collision Avoidance Drone

The new Walkera Vitus fold up drone flies super stable and takes terrific 4k high definition video and 12 megapixel stills.  It’s easy to carry and very easy to fly.  Walkera always pack loads of technology into their drones.

Walkera Vitus Collsion Avoidance System

The Vitus has 3 directions of obstacle avoidance and also sensors for precision hovering. The sensors it uses are as follows;

  • Time of Flight Sensor
  • Infrared Sensor

3 high precision ToF sensors allow the Vitus to detect obstacles 16 feet (5 meters) away in 3 directions (front, left, right).

The Infrared sensor and also an optical flow camera on the bottom of the Vitus takes images at 50 frames per second for positioning and precision hovering. This infrared sensor makes flying indoors possible without satellite signal.

Kespry 2.0 Collision Avoidance Drone

The Kespry company provide commercial aerial solutions such as inspections and surveying across many sectors including Mining, Telecoms, Construction, Insurance and Roofing. Their solution includes the Kespry 2.0 drone, the software for mapping and converting images into understandable data for their clients. They also store the data in the cloud for their clients.

Kespry use high resolution cameras such as the Sony UMC-R10C which has a large Exmor APS-C Sensor to capture 20 megapixels of color in detail to accurately calculate volumes, precisely measure distance and angles, and safely identify hazards or damage.

Kespry configures each camera to maximize image quality for specific job types. The geotagged high-resolution images are processed using photogrammetry in the Kespry cloud. A single orthomosaic image is then created to deliver high quality topographic maps, dimensional and volumetric data, and rich business insights.

Kespry 2.0 Collision Avoidance Drone

The Kespry 2.0  drone calculates the flight path and flies autonomously, using LiDAR sensors to avoid obstacles.  Kespry don’t go into any real detail about the Lidar sensors which they are using. Overall, if you need a full solution commercial drone, the Kespry 2.0 is worth looking at.

DJI Spark Drone With Collision Avoidance

DJI Spark Collision Avoidance DroneThe DJI Spark is a mini drone which features intelligent flight control options, a 2-axis mechanical stabilized gimbal, and a camera with incredible image quality. It launches from your hand and hovers in place within seconds. It uses face recognition to keep you in focus.

It takes amazing aerial photos using just hand gestures, without the need for a remote controller or mobile device. The Spark’s camera features a 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor, allowing you to shoot stabilized video at 1080p and 12 megapixel stills. Larger pixels mean Spark is acutely sensitive to light and records colors precisely.

It has many intelligent flight modes which you see on the Mavic such as TapFly, Sport, Gesture and also Quickshot.

Spark Obstacle Sensing

The DJI Spark can sense objects and avoid obstacles in front of it and it can do this in Return-To-Home mode also.

The Spark is equipped with a 3D Vision Sensing System and uses the following sensors;

  • 3D Infrared Sensor Module – Front
  • 3D Infrared Sensor Module – Underside
  • 2D Camera – Underside

The Spark Vision System uses 3D infrared and image data to help the aircraft maintain it current position enabling precision hovering including indoors with GPS signal.

The 3D Vision system constantly scans for obstacles and feeds this information back to the flight controller.  The Spark has an obstacle avoidance range of 16 feet maximum.

Yuneec Typhoon H Collision Avoidance Drone

This Yuneec Typhoon H drone uses the Intel RealSense technology to detect and navigate around obstacles.   It uses the  Intel® RealSense™ R200 camera with an Intel atom powered module to build a 3D model of the world to stop the Typhoon H flying into obstacles. It  uses the following sensors;

  • Infrared laser camera sensor
  • Sonar Sensor

This RealSense technology is capable of remembering its environment, further enhancing the prevention of possible collisions. It is not reactionary – if it avoids an obstacle once, it will remember the location of the obstacle and will automatically know to avoid it the next time.

The Intel RealSense IR laser camera emits IR light into the scene of where it is going to fly. Based on the displacement of the pattern due to objects in the scene, it can calculate the distance of the objects from the camera. This method of calculating depth in general is know as structured light, and this is the way other 3D cameras, like the original Kinect work.

The intelligent front sonar sensors allow the Typhoon H to stop short of obstacles automatically, ensuring a safer, stress-free flying experience. For example if the obstacle was too big like a cliff and it can’t avoid it, then the sonar sensors will stop the Typhoon H in front of the cliff.

Obstacle Avoidance In Follow Me Mode

In Follow Me mode, RealSense films in all directions to ensure collisions with objects are avoided. The Intel® RealSense™ R200 camera with Intel® Atom™ powered module builds a 3D model of the world, allowing you to focus on the subject without worrying about flying into obstacles.

DJI Matrice 200 Collision Avoidance Drone

The DJI Matrice 200 is the latest commercial drone from DJI and has many uses including inspections of power line, bridge, cellphone towers etc. It is very adaptable and can carry the Zenmuse X4S, X5S, Z30 and XT cameras.  It can also carry a camera on top of the quadcopter and 2 cameras under the Matrice 200. So you have a Zenmuse Z30 zoom camera and a thermal camera mounted under the drone.

The Matrice 200 has many dual systems for fail safe redundancy such as dual battery, satellite navigation, IMU and IP43 protection. It also has many intelligent flight modes such as Points of Interest and ActiveTrack.

DJI M200 Obstacle Detection And Collision Avoidance

For obstacle detection and collision avoidance, the DJI Matrice M200 combines various sensors as follows;

  • Time of Flight laser Sensor
  • Stereo Vision Sensor
  • Ultrasonic Sensor

An upward facing Time-of-Flight laser sensor camera recognizes objects above.  The Matrice 200 uses Stereo Vision sensors to detect objects in front.  It also uses both Stereo Vision and Ultrasonic sensor below.

The Vision System consist of 3 stereo vision sensors and 2 ultrasonic sensors on the front and bottom.

There are 2 Time of Flight infrared laser sensors on top of the Matrice 200.

This whole Vision System constantly scans for obstacles allowing the Matrice 200  to go over, around or just hover in front of the obstacle.

DJI Inspire 2 Collision Avoidance Drone

The DJI Inspire 2 is a dream come true for professional filmmakers, news stations and cinematographers as it supports many features that demanding aerial videographers require, including dual-operator control and pro-grade video compression.

The Inspire 2 has added features to increase its reliability with dual redundancy of key modules such as the IMU and barometer. The intelligent flight control system monitors the redundancy system, giving it accurate flight data.

To make filming a lot easier, the Inspire 2 has intelligent flight modes include Spotlight Pro, Profile Mode, Tripod mode, Broadcast, QuickSpin, TapFly and ActiveTrack giving pilots the ability to create complex, dramatic shots.

The quality of film produced by the Inspire 2 would make a Hollywood producer proud. Integrated into the Inspire 2 is the brand new CineCore 2.0 image processing system, capable of recording 5.2K videos in CinemaDNG, Apple ProRes and more. CineCore 2.0 is built into the aircraft nose and works with any camera connected through the dedicated gimbal port.

The Inspire 2 is the only drone you will need for producing Hollywood quality film. It comes with ground gimbals so you can film 100% of the movie or documentaries with the Inspire 2.

DJI Inspire 2 Obstacle Avoidance System

The Inspire 2 uses the following sensors in its Vision and Infrared Sensing system to sense and avoid obstacles;

  • Stereo Vision Sensors
  • Ultrasonic Sensor
  • Infrared Sensor

The main components of the Vision System is on the front and bottom of the Inspire 2 which includes 2 x stereo vision sensors and 2 x ultrasonic sensors.

The Infrared sensing system consists of 2 x Infrared modules on the top of the Inspire 2.

The forward and downward vision systems enable the Inspire 2 to detect obstacles up to 98 feet (30 meters) ahead, allowing for protected flight at up to 34 mph (54 km/h) at a controllable attitude angle of 25°.

The upward facing infrared sensors scan obstacles 16 feet (5 meters) above, adding protection when flying in enclosed spaces. Obstacle sensing systems are active during normal flight, Return To Home and all Intelligent Flight Modes.

The DJI Inspire 2 is the drone we all dream of.  You can read more on the fantastic features of the Inspire 2 along with Inspire 2 bundle offers here.

Below we have a nice graphic which shows where the DJI Vision System sensors are located on the Inspire 2.

DJI Inspire 2 Collision Avoidance Drone

 

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