DroneCompare Pits DJI’s Optical Avoidance vs Yuneec’s Ultrasonic System

​DroneCompares revealed a common barrier for first-time drone buyers is the fear of crashing as they learn to fly.

Crashes happen, even with the best pilots at the sticks, so it’s an understandable concern for newbies.

Shenzhen-based DJI takes that issue head-on with the Phantom 4 model – a drone widely acclaimed as the best in class for the recreational flyer since its March 1 launch. The Phantom 4 was the first consumer drone to market with optical collision avoidance technology and has raised the bar, features- and technology-wise for other drone companies looking to price their craft above $1,000.

Since then, rival Yuneec has begun some early shipments of its Typhoon H craft, also touting its avoidance capabilities. It launched with an ultrasonic system and promises and Intel-based RealSense system as a premium add-on later this year.

For now, at least, DJI has the upper hand when it comes to obstacle avoidance for three reasons: technology, machine learning and speed.

Technology

DJI’s Guidance system employs stereo computer vision, ultrasonic object detection and depth-mapping to make the Phantom 4 aware of obstacles in front of it. When the drone is flying, the cameras actually “see” the obstacle and make decisions about how to handle it – either hover in front of it or try to clear it.

The Phantom 4 also has two more cameras and two ultrasonic sensors pointing downward, so the drone knows where the ground is and maintains its altitude.

In comparison, the Typhoon H drone from Yuneec uses sonar sensors. The sonar sensors emit sound waves that bounce back from an object to the sensors on the front of the UAV. This gives the drone a general sense that there’s something in front of it, but it can’t tell what it is, how large the obstacle is and whether the craft can bypass it. There’s no decision-making processor onboard.

So, the Typhoon H’s system works to avoid a collision at very low speeds, but it doesn’t do so as precisely as an optical system, nor can it function at the same distance. The Phantom 4’s optical sensors are good out to about 15 meters and have a 60-degree-wide field of view. The Typhoon H’s sensors only operate at 1/10th that distance.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is the second difference that gives the Phantom 4 the edge. In its “Active Track” mode, the Phantom 4 builds a 3D model of the subject it is supposed to track, learns the subject’s movement pattern and refreshes, as needed, to stay locked on. At the same time, the craft is scouting its environment in real-time. That feature is not available with the Typhoon H, the Parrot Bebop 2 or the 3DR Solo.

Speed

Last but not least, there’s speed. Obstacle avoidance on the Phantom 4 works at speeds up to 10 meters per second, about five times as fast as “Turtle Mode” on the Typhoon H.

The Phantom 4 has the best obstacle avoidance technology on the market. Whether you’re a first time flyers or an experienced pilot – the Phantom 4 lets you fly smarter and more confidently.

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Source: http://www.dronecompares.com/