Behind the Scenes of Mavic Air 2’s R&D Journey

With the recent launch of Mavic Air 2, content creators everywhere can now up their game with our ultra-intelligent drone that delivers stunning flight and camera performance.But what did it take to make Mavic Air 2? In this article, we’ll take you through the incredible R&D journey.

Mavic Air 2 Design

Before development kicked off, numerous technological breakthroughs paved the way for our R&D team. For example, when it came to weight control and power consumption, our R&D team did a deep dive into each and every module in order to optimize these parameters. They also conducted sequential engineering to determine the optimal battery life and maneuverability of the aircraft.

  • Mavic Air 2 design draft
    Mavic Air 2 design draft

Slide to view more

In the very beginning, when even the initial appearance was yet to be decided, our R&D team was able to calculate maximum flight time and the weight goal of each module. This made subsequent R&D work highly efficient and left engineers more room for creativity and imagination.

Mavic Air 2’s early 3D Modeling
Mavic Air 2’s early 3D Modeling

When designing Mavic Air 2, our team found that the arm folding of the first-generation Mavic Air had a lot of room for improvement. They set about optimizing the size, shape, and folding motion of this key area. If Mavic Air 2 had kept the previous shape, it would have been too difficult to prolong battery life with the same volume and weight.

The first machine for structural testing
The first Mavic Air 2 for structural testing

Our R&D team decided to radically reshape Mavic Air 2 by foregoing the design of the original Mavic Air model and adopting that of Mavic Pro.

  • The first set of machines for structural testing
    The first set of machines for structural testing

Slide to view more

Aside from general drone functions, Mavic Air 2’s structural design had to meet requirements related to flight vibration and flexible-body control. Based on a powerful simulation platform and accumulated knowledge of the related technologies, our R&D team optimized every inch of the structure through painstaking calculations and experiments, providing the best flight stability and control experience to ensure high-quality aerial shooting.

Mavic Air 2 Hardware and Software Testing

The gimbal was the greatest challenge during the R&D process. Even though we have plenty of experience in gimbal technology, there are always enormous challenges when developing a new drone model.

  • One iteration of a DJI gimbal
    One iteration of a DJI gimbal

Slide to view more

The gimbal of Mavic Air 2 uses a camera sensor that consumes power at a high rate. This was a major challenge for hardware engineers as well as the structural engineers responsible for heat dissipation.

The engineers for heat dissipation, hardware, and structure carefully designed a heat sink on the gimbal to prevent HD images taken using the HDR Video function from losing quality due to thermal noise.

Mavic Air 2 Core Circuit Board
Mavic Air 2 Core Circuit Board

Mavic Air 2 adopts the system-in-package (SIP) process for the core circuit board in order to achieve the optimal balance of performance, volume, and weight.

The first batch of 3D-printed testing machines
The first batch of 3D-printed testing machines

After the first prototype came out, our R&D team invited various user groups, from senior product managers to drone beginners, to try the product and give suggestions. This input was critical in finalizing Mavic Air 2’s design, remote controller, flight control experience, image quality, and more.

To verify that Mavic Air 2 can fly stably in extreme environments, we even flew around at an indoor ice rink for extended periods to simulate low-temperature conditions.

Mavic Air 2 Breakthroughs and Challenges

An excellent aerial photography drone should make it easy for users to capture high-quality content, and the Mavic Air 2 does exactly that. A single tap on in the DJI Fly app provides stunning 8K Hyperlapse.

Mavic Air 2 8K-Hyperlapse
Mavic Air 2: 8K Hyperlapse

In addition to the Quad Bayer re-mosaic algorithm, the diligence of the R&D team made Mavic Air 2’s enormous technological leaps possible. The team repeatedly broke the limits of software and hardware, solving a bottleneck in storage space, and coping with chip limitations to do more with less. From beginning to end, they worked tirelessly to create the absolute best version Mavic Air 2.

After more than a year of research and testing, including testing and feedback on a wide range of user behaviors and shooting preferences, SmartPhoto, DJI’s first intelligent shooting algorithm, was developed.

MA2 SmartPhoto Comparison
MA2 SmartPhoto Comparison

SmartPhoto supports intelligent processing of complicated images, integrating multiple information points and algorithms related to the aircraft, gimbal attitude, dynamic range estimation, and scene recognition. Perhaps more than any new addition, SmartPhoto puts aerial masterpieces easily within reach.

Mavic Air 2 FocusTrack
Mavic Air 2 FocusTrack

Our R&D team studied algorithms related to intelligent recognition and tracking, and came up with a more intuitive and smarter FocusTrack function for Mavic Air 2.

Our R&D team creatively combined image feature algorithms with machine learning and incorporated common moving subjects (people, cars, boats, etc.), fixed landscapes, and building recognition to significantly improve recognition accuracy and efficiency. At the same time, advanced 3D-mapping and trajectory-planning algorithms were added to the software for smoother following capability.

34-minute Max Flight Time
34-minute Max Flight Time

Even a few-minute increase in battery life requires engineers from different fields to control the weight of modules to the extreme within their responsible scopes.

In the early development stage, we conducted rigorous sequential engineering for battery life and maneuverability to calculate the maximum battery life possible. During the R&D process, the team performed multiple rounds of simulation and proofing experiments to test the gap between the drone’s actual properties and the theoretical values.

Mavic Air 2 is equipped with several sensors, including GPS, IMU, a barometer, a compass, and visual sensors, to output environmental information in multiple dimensions. This data is integrated through leading fusion algorithms, and ensures safe flight in various scenarios.

Flight Safety
Mavic Air 2: Obstacle Avoidance

As the latest iteration of the Mavic series, Mavic Air 2 once again inherits innovative and powerful characteristics. Two years of development have made Mavic Air 2 one of the smartest and most amazing drones available. In keeping with Mavic Air 2’s slogan, “Up Your Game,” we have worked tirelessly to improve R&D, design, manufacturing, supply chains, and more, with the ultimate goal of giving the world products that simply amaze.

Buy Now

You May Also Like:

Mavic Air 2 Unboxing: Ultimate Product Highlights and Features

Mavic Air 2 vs. Mavic Air: Side-by-Side Comparison

Mavic Air 2 Review: 48MP Camera, 8K Hyperlapse, and More!

Mavic Air 2: How Powerful Is Our New Camera Drone?

Mavic Series Comparison: Which Drone Should You Get?

Creativity is at the heart of every dream. At DJI, we give creators the tools they need to bring their imagination to life. Our products push visionaries to go beyond the limits of possibility, inspiring them to see the world from a brand new perspective.