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Drones require a lot of mindfulness and babysitting. First, you need to learn how to operate one. Next, you have to give it your undivided attention to make sure it doesn’t get caught in trees or slam into a person. Overcompensate in a quick reaction to an obstacle and there goes your drone. Frankly, it’s a little bit exhausting. (Okay, it’s pretty fun too.) But what if you didn’t have to worry about being responsible for crashing your drone crashing into anything? Autonomous cars are nearly here, so why not drones?

Imagine throwing a drone up into the sky and then not worrying about it. Imagine that the drone flies itself, avoiding all obstacles. Well, the future is here and it’s called the Phantom 4 from DJI.

The Phantom 4 is a the iteration of the widely popular Phantom 3 – and its new feature set is more than anyone would have felt reasonable asking for. Most notably, the Phanton 4 is equipped with five cameras (two in the front, two in the back, and the 4k main camera used to capture footage) that can create a 3D image of the space around it. In doing so, the Phantom 4 has the capacity to detect obstacles and avoid them. Just throw the drone into the air and it will not only not hit anything, but also detect interesting land formations to record all on its own.

Image: DJI

Image: DJI

It’s like a Sci-Fi fantasy.

If you want to give the Phantom 4 a little more direction, you can set it to automatically follow your every move. Unlike other drones, you don’t need a special beacon, smartphone, etc. Instead, the drone identifies an object of your choosing and keeps it in frame. This is especially helpful if you’re running, biking, or otherwise adventuring. Running through heavily forested areas may not yet be totally recommended, but find yourself somewhere with a bit of open space and you’re good to go! The Phantom 4 can travel at 20m/sec (nearly 45mph) and should be able to keep up pretty well no matter what you’re doing.

Image: DJI

Image: DJI

Another nice improvement from the Phantom 3 is that DJI has put extra effort into making sure the Phantom 4 can better stay motionless in the air. Clean, high altitude cinematography always looks professional and the Phantom 4 is 5x better at it than the last model.

When it comes to video quality, DJI didn’t skimp. The Phantom 4 is equipped with a 4k camera with an equivalent focal length of 35mm. When recording 4k, you’ll get 25p and can record in up to 100p in 1920×1080. Recording time has been expanded by 25% up to 28min.

For full specifications, check out DJI’s website here. 

Drones were already forward-thinking devices, but the Phantom 4 feels downright futuristic. DJI is clearly committed to innovating in this already innovative space. The Phantom 4 certainly feels like a step forward and it will be interesting to see how other drone manufacturers respond. DJI certainly looks like its ahead of the curve.

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