Is DJI about to Release Its First Cinewhoop-Style Indoor Drone? New Leaks Reveal Specs, Images of the Avata
BY Zacc Dukowitz31 May 2022
Recent leaks reveal that DJI is getting ready to launch its very first indoor drone. Called the Avata, speculation is that it might come out as early as July or August.
What makes the Avata an indoor drone?
It’s the protective coverings that run around the props, indicating it’s made for flying in confined indoor spaces where it might bump into things.
— OsitaLV (@OsitaLV) May 18, 2022
Based on what we know so far, the Avata will be a small FPV drone made for aerial cinematography—basically, a mini version of its FPV drone that’s made for flying indoors.
According to another tweet from @OsitaLV, the Avata’s model number is WM169, which is just one digit below the DJI FPV’s model number of WM170.
Model name of DJI Avata is WM169, as the reference, DJI FPV is WM170. pic.twitter.com/XAV8MbUgpE
— OsitaLV (@OsitaLV) May 15, 2022
We know that Avata is coming soon not just because of leaks, but also because DJI has submitted a patent application for it back in April. The patent calls the Avata a “class 12 vehicle,” a classification that covers UAVs. The patent request is reportedly still under review.
Everything We Know about the Avata
We’ve been hearing rumors about the DJI Avata for about a year now.
The first leaks about it came from drone industry insider @OsitaLV, who shared a picture of the Avata’s body that showed a small, hand-sized drone with cooling ducts.
More recently, we’ve started seeing leaks of the complete drone along with its specs. One of the biggest leaks yet came from @DealsDrone in this tweet that featured several images:
Avata is compact and weighs about 500g
Can fly indoors
The photo quality is much better (guess that the Mini 3 Pro is the same)
Greatly improved battery life
Manual mode is not supported
Head chase mode
Touchpad for glasses menu
Glasses can connect to phone pic.twitter.com/WUqpjXXEnK
— 航拍世家 打手 (@DealsDrone) May 15, 2022
So what do we know so far about the Avata? Here’s a full list of specs and features collected from all the leaked information that has come out so far:
- Weight. 1.1 pounds (500 grams).
- Battery life. FPV-style battery with a projected battery life of about 20 minutes.
- Obstacle avoidance. The drone will have two obstacle avoidance sensors that face down and a rear obstacle avoidance sensor that also faces down.
- Single-axis gimbal. This gimbal will help stabilize the roll axis so the drone’s horizon line remains even.
- Indoor ready. The drone has ducts to protect its propellers and the camera is recessed into the fuselage, making it safer for flying in tight indoor spaces where it may bump against walls.
- FPV glasses. A phone connection will enable FPV glasses for pilots of the drone.
- Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS). The drone will come with DJI’s EIS technology, which helps make footage appear smooth even when it’s captured while the drone is moving quickly.
DJI’s First Cinewhoop
Based on what we see in leaked images, it looks like the Avata could be DJI’s first step into making cinewhoops—drones that are fast, nimble, and made to shoot the quick fly-through tours we’ve been seeing so much of over the last year.
Cinewhoops burst into the mainstream in 2021, starting with a viral video called “Right Up Our Alley” made by Jay Christensen. After that, it seemed like every sports stadium or large-scale venue was putting one out to showcase its facilities and grounds.
[Related read: The Top 11 Cinewhoop Videos of 2021]
Here’s a fun—not to mention impressively executed—cinewhoop by Jay Christensen made to promote the Mall of the Americas near Minneapolis:
So why would DJI be getting into cinewhoops?
Because it’s a fast-growing market. Currently, many of the drone pilots who fly cinewhoops have to learn how to build and maintain their own drone platforms.
This is true not just for the drone, but also for the cameras they put on them, with pilots often stripping down the cameras they use on these drones to their most essential parts in order to prolong the drone’s battery life.
In fact, the practice of stripping down cameras is so common that GoPro recently released a version of its Hero10 camera called Black Bones made to address this need. The new camera was made specifically for FPV pilots looking to make cinewhoop-style videos.
By launching the Avata, DJI will be providing pilots with a ready-to-fly option they can use straight out of the box, with no need for building or manual work.
FPV drone racing and cinematography also has a barrier to entry in its need to have some basic level of skill with building and fixing drones, and DJI’s FPV drone similarly sought to make it easier to race or fly FPV for aerial cinematography.
The Avata promises to be a good option for pilots already working with cinewhoops. It could also help expand the market by providing an easy-to-use platform for those who don’t want to learn how to build their own drones.