Are you ready for the dji phantom 4? Well it’s here, and it learns what you look like.
Recently, DJI announced the Phantom 4! Before the launch, this page was basically a melting pot of Phantom 4 rumors, but now it’s time to take a look at what the Phantom 4 is really capable of. I’m talking about Machine learning!
After you’re done here, you should read the new 7 day Phantom 4 review, to see what we think about the new model.
We’ve also added a dedicated Phantom 4 section for tutorials, reviews, flight videos and more. Take a look…
The History Of Smart Drones
In the past, we’ve seen drones that are able to hover on their own. Then we saw drones that could fly on a pre programed flight path like the 3DRobotics IRIS back in 2013. At the time, these were all very big achievements, but there wasn’t any features that were news worthy until the year after.
Between 2014 and 2015 is when the famous Follow Me drones came out. Kickstarter projects like the AirDog, Hexo +, Lily and many more, are all a result of the rush to get a Follow Me drone to market. This was one of the things that contributed to the growing popularity of drones today, and it’s what made general consumers realize that they could finally have drones that were easy to use. The idea of Follow Me was great, but the execution was terrible and there were a few serious flaws that made it impractical to use for almost anyone.
Follow Me is a feature that could use the GPS information from your phone (or any other GPS device) to determine where you are and how to get to you. It would give itself a desired location, then it would try to get there in the easiest way possible (even if that meant going through a wall or hitting a tree on the way over).
Fast Forwarding to 2016, we now have the Phantom 4 with it’s Active Track feature, which tracks and follows subjects. It might seem like Active Track is just a rebranding of Follow Me, but it’s not. Active Track works in two ways. It tracks you using the main video camera, and then it tries to avoid obstacles along the way using the 4 additional flight cameras. So what does this have to do with machine learning?
What Is The Connection Between Machine Learning And The Phantom 4?
The answer has to do with pattern recognition. In order to track subjects, you first have to tell it what you want to track by tapping on the screen. Once you tell it what to track, the Phantom 4 saves that initial image (possibly even multiple images) to use later, and then it sets an expected position and trajectory for the subject you want to track. That way, it will know where to expect the target in the next frame of the video.
After learning what it needs to look for and where to expect it, It uses patterns, color, position, scale and other information to determine where the new location of the object is. Once a large number of frames from the video have gone through this process, the Phantom 4 doesn’t just look for something that resembles the initial image it was shown. It builds a temporary library of images to reference. That way, it can remember what you look like from different perspectives, enabling it to track you even if you’re sitting down, running, jumping up and down etc…
Another thing to note is that the Phantom 4 does all of this with or without a GPS signal. It only uses the GPS as another form of redundancy to determine where it is, but the active track feature can still be used indoors as long as it can see.
So in simple terms, when you press the track button, the Phantom 4 learns what you look like and tries to find you in a series of images. It’s like a game of Where’s Waldo, but once you find him, you have to find him again, and do this dozens of times in a second.
Machine learning is not what you might expect. It’s not the same as true artificial intelligence and it doesn’t mean your Phantom 4 will one day rise up against you. It’s still pretty interesting though, and I think it’s one of the biggest steps towards fully autonomous drones that we’ve seen in years.
Phantom 4 Rumors BelowYou may be wondering why there's a massive stream of random Phantom 4 photos below. The reason is because this post has slowly evolved from a rumors post to a machine learning post! Incase you're still interested in the old rumor madness, we've left it down there.
The event looks like it’s about to start.
DJI will be opening their doors at 11 AM in New York. For now, here’s a Photo of the front door.
New product photos have been released with some official info on specifications and features. Although, some info seems to be contradicting the previous rumors.
For example, the price listed in one of the photos is $1375 when the original price was thought to be $1700. Also, the video resolution is 4k at 30 FPS (not 4.6K at 24 FPS). If the 4.6K info is true, maybe there will actually be more than one Phantom 4 released in a few hours.
Below is a photo confirming Front obstacle avoidance and active tracking.
The top speed is now 45MPH which is just as fast as the Inspire 1!
1080p video at 120 FPS is confirmed. Flight time will be 28 minutes!
New pricing info indicates that the new price could be $1375 for the Phantom 4
Here’s a photo of the camera in more detail. We can now confirm that those ports on the side of the body are just the mini USB and Micro SD card slot.
Worlds first Phantom 4 selfie has just been taken!
The Event is just a few hours away and DJI is setting up the stage. It looks like a large venue.
Spoiler alert! Below this text is most likely a picture of the full production Phantom 4. It’s basically the same image that was leaked in the last update, but in greater detail.
There was also some info attached with this photo which could be related to the features we’ll see when the Phantom 4 is finally released. For more info, visit this post.
We are less than 2 days away now and DJI is building more hype.
They now have a timer on their website counting down for the big event. Did they get that idea from us? We’ll probably never know, but what we do know is that the Timer has new teaser words for us to decode! The first on is “Visionary Intelligence” and the other is “Elevated Imagination”. Obviously these are more obstacle avoidance teasers.
One of the best images yet has just been leaked.
This is a shot taken from what looks like an updated version of the DJI Go app on IOS. You can see the traditional icons on the screen with the camera button at the bottom, just like the current version of the app. Out of all the leaked photos I’ve seen, this one gets me the most excited.
We are now just a few days from the announcement and another batch of fresh photos have been leaked. The first two Photos are from a Phantom Facebook group.
Below, you can clearly see the battery compartment on the new Phantom 4. Based on these Photos, the new battery must be massive, giving it a dramatic increase in flight time. It looks like there are also circuit boards on the left and right sides of the battery mounted vertically, to take full advantage of the space. The last thing I noticed in this picture was the motors. The motor on the right (not the Phantom 3 motor on the left) has some kind of new locking propeller mount.
In this next Photo, it appears to be flying over some kind of lake. My guess is that this is a screen shot from one of the upcoming product videos. Just like the other leaked images, everything in this photo seems to match up with what we were seeing before.
One thing that you’ll notice after staring at this image for a while is the new intelligent flight battery and how much thicker the new body design looks.
Since the Phantom 4 will have a lot of new hardware, that’s probably the main reason for a thicker shell. That and a bigger battery!
DJI has just released their teaser video for the Phantom 4. Unfortunately we still don’t have an official name yet, but there’s quite a few revealing images from the teaser that are now confirming different features.
Let’s start by talking about the name of this video. It’s called Return To Your Senses. Clearly, DJI is referring to the new “sense and ovoid” sensors that they’ve put on the drone. The video also shows the larger ultrasonic sensors and cameras on the bottom, but there’s even more that matches up than that.
At about 25 seconds into the video, you can see the newly designed vents at the end of each arm. at the 35 second mark you can see what is either the power or release button for the new battery. At 40 seconds you can see the motors that appear to be raised up higher above the frame. All of these shots are matching up almost perfectly with the leaked images we’ve seen.
It’s been a few days since the last update and no new info has been released yet, however we just started a Phantom 4 Facebook group for any Phantom 4 Tomato. By joining, you’ll always be in the loop with what’s happening. You will see the good, the bad and everything in-between about the Phantom 4 Tomato.
You can also ask me questions there and I will answer every single one as soon as I see them. In the beginning, the group will be more for general info about the Phantom 4 Tomato, but we hope to have a large group of Phantom 4 users helping each other out, just like with the My First Drone Facebook Group which now has over 11,000 members.
To join the group, just click on the link and ask to join. I’ll add you as soon as I can!
An authorized DJI dealer has leaked pricing info for the Phantom 4. The information was given to DJI dealers in the form of an email as a heads up, to help manage their Phantom inventory.
According to the email, the current pricing for Phantom 3 models will stay the same and the new DJI Phantom 4 model will be about $1700 USD.
If DJI really is planning on adding more sensors for obstacle avoidance, improving battery life, or even visual target tracking, all of this would definitely drive the manufacturing cost up. With this new pricing info released, there are a few new questions floating around in my head. Does this mean that all of the Phantom 3 models will continue to be produced, even after the Phantom 4 comes out? Maybe the new model won’t even be called “Phantom 4”. With all of the Phantom 3 models still around, maybe the new name will be “Phantom 3 Tomato”. Who knows!
New info has been recovered from DJI patents and trademarks that could lead to new features like target tracking being implemented on the Phantom 4, Inspire 2 and any other future DJI drones.
Another rumor that has been going around like crazy is the possibility of 6K video recording. Recently, I’ve seen others posting Pictures of what could be the Phantom 4 camera with a 6K label on the lens. There’s a few reasons why I don’t believe this claim. The first is that 4K is still not common in most peoples homes, so making a camera that records 6K wouldn’t make sense. Also, since we’ve already seen some convincing images of the Phantom 4, we already know that it has a slightly different shape. Plus, there are now two arms that attach to the sides of the camera housing (not one).
There is one reason why I could see DJI using a higher resolution image sensor. If it did have some kind of subject tracking using image recognition, it would be helpful to have a higher resolution. That way, it could track small objects and have more pixels to work with.
You could also use the extra resolution as a high quality digital zoom function when recording in 1080p or 4K.
To take things even further, I decided to see how long it would take me to take my own 6K Phantom 4 picture and do some quick editing. The whole process took less than 15 minutes, which surprisingly is less time than it took me to write this update.
More leaked photos of the DJI Phantom 4 Tomato have been recovered. This time, we’re seeing even more details than before! Surprisingly, what we’re seeing on these new photos is matching up exactly with the older images from a few weeks ago.
Phantom Tomato Leaked Photo #1
The first thing you will notice in photo #1 is that there’s a massive silver plate on the bottom which appears to hold the new ultrasonic sensors and camera for it’s optical flow stabilization. You can also see that the body is clearly very shiny and the LED lights are now directly over the motors. This appears to give more room for ventilation.
Phantom Tomato Leaked Photo #2
In photo #2 we’ve marked it with arrows pointing to all of the strange areas where it looks like new hardware has been added. on the side of the Phantom’s shell, there appears to be a new array of sensors. There are also new sensors located near the ultrasonic sensors. At this point, it’s starting to look like the Phantom 4 Tomato really will have some kind of obstacle avoidance!
The camera and gimbal also look like they have been redesigned.
Phantom Tomato Leaked Photo #3
In photo #3 you can see that the camera definitely has a different shape to it. There are also arrows pointing to what look like more sensors on the top section of the legs. The remaining arrows are pointing to possible spots for mini cameras, but they could also just be stickers.
We now have a possible release date and maybe even a new name for the Phantom 4. There will be a major announcement in New York on March 1st. I can only guess that this will be the Phantom 4, but it could be something else, maybe the Inspire 2? There’s also a strange image that’s circulating around with the text “Connect your DJI device. PHANTOM TOMATO”.
We can only guess that this Phantom “Tomato” might be some kind of Phantom 4 variation that will be released with the Phantom 4. It could also be some kind of new product for the Phantom like a VR headset. In any case, it’s a very strange name.
Original Article Below
In 2014 DJI released the Phantom 2 Vision Plus which set the standard for what a drone should be. In 2015 DJI released the Phantom 3, changing just about everything but the design and adding the ability to record 4K video. It’s now the year 2016 which can only mean one thing. There’s probably a Phantom 4 coming just around the corner!
More Flight Time Is Always Welcome!
If there’s one thing that everyone wishes for in a drone, it’s more flight time. Right now, the Phantom 3 gets about 20 minutes of flight time, and until recently I thought that the Phantom 4 would get around 20 minutes as well, but there has been some strange leaked photos floating around indicating that the Phantom 4 battery will be much larger than the previous model. Like any leaked photo though, this could just be a prototype design that was never used, it could be Photoshopped, or maybe it could be real!
This brings up another question. why are leaked photos always so low resolution!
No 8K Video Recording
Since the Phantom 2 did 1080p and the Phantom 3 does 4k, the Phantom 4 should do 8K video right? Well no. Most of the parts in DJI’s cameras are not actually manufactured and designed in-house, so they don’t have the ability to create new imaging chips with better technology in them. Just like how the camera sensors in the iPhones and GoPros are from sony, the camera sensors found in most DJI products are usually from Sony or Panasonic. So basically since there aren’t any cheap 8K camera sensors or image processors for dealing with massive 8K video streams, it just isn’t possible right now for DJI’s Phantom 4 to record at anything higher than 4K.
What we might see in the Phantom 4 is a camera that shoots higher quality 4K. we may be stuck shooting 4K video for now, but that’s more than enough resolution for most people and a lot of people would prefer image quality over image resolution anyway. Some of the things they could improve would be low light performance, bitrate, color processing and maybe frame rate at lower resolutions.
They Could Improve The Video Signal
The video feed that we get from the Phantom 3 is already impressive, giving us a good video signal at up to 3 miles away (yes, 3 miles!), but one thing that DJI could do with the Phantom 4 is turn the resolution of the video stream up from 720p to 1080p and improve the video latency. I think it would be nice to have these features, but on the other hand, most people aren’t going to sell their Phantom 3 and get the Phantom 4 because of it, so it might not be a necessary change right now.
Getting a little off topic, I do think that the Inspire 2 would benefit from this, especially for focusing with the X5R which still isn’t out yet, but we aren’t here to talk about the Inspire 2, that’s a subject for another article.
It’s Time To Talk About Obstacle Avoidance
Obstacle avoidance is a big feature to put on a drone. It’s something that people have been dreaming about since before the Phantom 2 came out, but is DJI finally ready to integrate it into the Phantom 4. We don’t know for sure, but here’s what we do know…
Before I get into the details about obstacle avoidance on the Phantom 4, you should know that there are other drones with this technology scheduled to release this summer. In January, Yuneec announced the Typhoon H, a hexacopter with the ability to avoid obstacles. Since the Typhoon H will have obstacle avoidance when it comes out this summer, the Phantom 4 should have it too, right? Maybe, but the answer to this question is complicated, because in my opinion, the Typhoon H doesn’t really have obstacle avoidance.
One thing that most people probably don’t realize about the Typhoon H is that it’s expensive. The starting price for the Typhoon H will be somewhere between $1,600 and $2,000 which gets you the base model, but that doesn’t include the (optional) obstacle avoidance which doesn’t even have a price yet (but it won’t be cheap). We also aren’t sure if the obstacle avoidance will be available on day one, but since the technology behind it is actually coming from Intel, it could take a while to get the obstacle avoidance module and the drone itself to work together without any bugs.
If DJI is planning on putting obstacle avoidance on the Phantom 4, they will probably have all of the technology behind it developed in house. After all, they did come out with Guidance over a year ago, which is an obstacle avoidance development platform for the Matrice 100. I think DJI is going to have two issues to solve if they really are putting obstacle avoidance in the Phantom 4.
The first problem is software. It’s not easy programing obstacle avoidance from scratch. The basic idea is that the system has to take in images and sensor data, determine what it’s really looking at, figure out if it’s going to hit something and finally, make a plan to avoid the object it’s going to hit all within a fraction of a second. Oh yeah, then it has to do the same thing all over again thousands of times in a flight without any errors.
The other problem with obstacle avoidance is cost. Yuneec for example is trying to get around this by charging more money for the drone and giving it more rotors so people can justify the cost, but if DJI comes out with a Phantom 4 that’s twice as expensive as the Phantom 3 Professional, I don’t think a price point like that would be affordable for the average Phantom 3 owner or really any general consumer.
Another Interesting Photo!
In the Photo below, you can see that the motors are definitely different looking from the current Phantom 3 and the paint is shiny like a hard boiled egg. I wouldn’t judge the color of the Phantom 4 based on this photo though.
When Will The Phantom 4 Be Announced?
It’s hard to say when the Phantom 4 will be officially announced by DJI since there isn’t any solid info, but we know that both the Phantom 2 Vision Plus and the Phantom 3 came out in April just before NAB (a national trade show similar to CES, but featuring the latest camera gear instead of consumer electronics).