Australia’s airspace regulators, CASA, have essentially banned the use of headsets while flying your drone. There are some exceptions, but the requirement to always keep line of sight to the drone your flying prevents pilots from using headsets to control their drones.
When it comes to competitive drone racing, that’s the only way to fly. While drones like the Phantom 4 Advanced or Mavic Pro 2 are all about the highest quality visuals, drone races traditionally use really low quality camera feeds.
Racing headsets typically connect to the drone’s on-board camera using analog signals and while the visuals were low-quality and prone to breakups, they were incredibly low-latency. When it comes to racing, the speed of the connection between the drone and the pilot is critical to winning and not crashing.
Racing involves maneuvering drones through a track of obstacles and as the sport grows up, the best pilots can do this at a seriously crazy rate.
Now DJI wants to solve all these problems with a brand new FPV (first person view) headset that offers the same ultra-low latency signal, but does it digitally, meaning the interference and breakups are gone. Basically DJI are promising the best of both worlds, fast and high-quality and they’ve provided some comparison shots to highlight just how dramatic this is.
The headset looks kind of insane, almost making you look like something from Ant Man. Looks aside, it’s serious business with the signal capable of transmitting up to 4km away, which still offers an incredibly low-latency number of just 28 milliseconds with as high as 120fps.
The headset offers a live view through 2x 2″ displays running a resolution of 1080×720 in 4:3, and 1440×810 in 16:9. DJI says the interchangable batteries will last around 3.5 hours each which I have to imagine is plenty for most use cases.
If you want to record the action, you can snap them out at 720p/60fps quality in MP4 using regular h.264 compression over the USB-C port.
The cost ranges from A$1,299 to A$1,499 depending on the package you chose. The FPV Googgles on their own cost A$829.00, so it’s clear these are a premium product for those very serious about their drone racing careers.
Head to https://store.dji.com/product/dji-digital-fpv-system for more information.