Everyone who follows the drone industry is concerned about two questions: when will the new DJI Mavic 3 Pro come out and what will it be like? By answering them, you can also solve such a dilemma: is it worth buying the Air 2S right now or is it better to wait a bit. In general, we tell what we know at the moment about the upcoming pro-drone from DJI, but let’s start a little from afar.
Most Popular DJI Lineup
The Mavic line is without a doubt one of the main reasons for DJI’s success. The original Mavic Pro in 2016 was a real blockbuster that blew up the drone industry and completely changed the rules of the game. No wonder, because this quadcopter contained an incredible number of functions at that time in its compact folding body: 4K video, the ability to connect VR glasses, and even the option to control gestures (for object tracking and photography). The name Mavic will soon become a household name, and everything that comes out after it will be compared to this drone. But that was only the beginning. And while the very word Mavic may disappear from the name of upcoming products, the line that most of us will always identify as Mavic will not disappear from the market. Let’s quickly fly over the main waypoints in the series.
The first Mavic brought a radical change in quadcopter form factor. Phantom-style design was ubiquitous at the time, so you can imagine how revolutionary the foldable Mavic turned out to be: a true engineering masterpiece.
In addition to 4K video, the original Mavic Pro also worked with the first DJI Goggles, bulky but breakthrough goggles.
And most importantly, the model was a new look at the relationship between form and functionality. The Mavic Pro proved to be much more portable than the Phantom models, folding down to a really small size. In addition, he flew longer and came with a more compact (in its own way, even innovative) control panel. While this remote looks a bit dated now, it was comfortable and did the job perfectly.
The success of Mavic has led to many new models and the division of the line into two branches — more amateur and more professional. In the first: Mavic Air, Mavic Mini, Mavic Air 2, Mini 2 and Air 2S (in the last two, the Mavic name disappears, although the recognizable form factor remains).
On the pro side: Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. Both models were released back in August 2018, which means that the time for an update has come. Equipped with a Hasselblad camera, the Mavic 2 Pro quickly became the favorite of professional videographers who needed a compact model (compared to the large-caliber Inspire) with excellent image quality and variable aperture. The Mavic 2 Zoom has a 2x optical zoom but no variable aperture.
Both models have become the default option for more advanced drone pilots. And while the amateur series has been updated several times since then, the pro line is still waiting for its new king.
When will the new Mavic 3 Pro be released?
According to all forecasts that could be heard recently, the novelty should appear this year.
Well-known drone journalist Scott Simmy says that (according to his source close to DJI) the model will be released in the third quarter, i.e. until the end of September. However, according to the same source, the issue could also be pushed back to the fourth quarter.
It’s been almost three years since the Mavic 2 Pro hit the shelves, so it’s clear that the company will be bringing some significant upgrades to the flagship model. What — this is perhaps the most interesting mystery from DJI.
What’s Coming to the Mavic 3 Pro
8K and Hasselblad
According to a Chinese source close to DJI, the Mavic 3 Pro (or maybe just the DJI Pro 3) will get 8K video resolution. There is a certain logic behind this: the original Mavic Pro, released in 2016, shot in 4K, and the newer Air 2S already shoots in 5.4K. In addition, the 8K format is becoming more and more popular in video shooting (although its usefulness is debatable today).
One of the Mavic’s competitors, the Autel EVO II Pro, shoots in 8K resolution and is equipped with a variable aperture lens, while the cost of the model is 140 thousand rubles. Of course, it doesn’t make sense for DJI to simply repeat this price-performance ratio. Most likely, the company will either offer an even more advanced camera, or try to beat the competitor in terms of the cost of new items.
DJI will continue to work with Hasselblad systems. This is a premium offer, just right for the status of a pro drone in the consumer segment.
There is no doubt that DJI will add to the new drone all the features and modes that we saw in the Air 2S, such as Master Shots (the device performs ten different maneuvers over an object, making short recordings). Although the target audience of the Pro line will most likely prefer to edit content on their own, the presence of simple creative modes “for fun” is always welcome.
New frame and obstacle avoidance system
In DJI patents, you can find a diagram of an H‑frame drone. Perhaps it is the Mavic 3 that will receive a new design with two brackets, which most likely fold forward and inwards.
You can also expect that the new product will receive improved tracking and obstacle avoidance systems. In another image from the website of the patent agency (diagram below), you can see the separate upper (10) and rear (420) obstacle avoidance sensors. For comparison, in the Mavic 2, the top sensor is located on the back, and the rear sensors themselves are paired with the side sensors located nearby.
While this is pure speculation, we wouldn’t be surprised if DJI followed in Skydio’s footsteps and implemented a full AI-powered 360-degree obstacle avoidance system.
The new drone is expected to have at least OcuSync 3.0 with its lower latency and higher resolution, as well as a larger range than OcuSync 2.0. But (what DJI is not joking about) it is possible that we will see a new generation of data transmission system. It is also expected that any drone with OcuSync 3.0 will become compatible with the Goggles V2 — the question is when DJI decides to update the firmware.
In any case, a high-quality FPV (first-person flight) mode can be a great addition to the new Pro, and then compatibility with Goggles V2 looks more than logical. FPV goggles can be useful not only for flying a drone, but also for shooting video. So for a quadrocopter “sharpened” for professional videographers, this is a great option.
Extended run time
When a photo of the frame, presumably from the new Mavic, appeared online, many noticed that instead of the traditional top battery cutout, there was now a large new rear compartment. A larger battery could provide longer flight times (something that consumer drones are sorely lacking at the current stage of development). There is also a detail resembling an air intake in the image, which may indicate an increase in processing power (and, accordingly, heating).
According to the same insider, the Mavic 3 Pro will “definitely” come with a rear-mounted battery.
Without a doubt, DJI is the world market leader in drones in the consumer and commercial segments, with a share of 70–80%. But the Chinese company keeps a close eye on its competitors, always wanting to stay ahead.
The American brand Skydio has made great strides in using AI in its Skydio 2 model, which is known for its incredibly accurate tracking system (it is also planned to be integrated into its 3D Scan software package). Tracking in areas filled with obstacles like tree branches has never been DJI’s forte, although the Air 2S’s additional obstacle avoidance sensors have improved things somewhat.
Some time ago, a schematic (of course, it is not known whether it is genuine or not) appeared on the Internet, which depicts a Mavic-style quadcopter equipped with a set of visual sensors. It is similar in configuration to that of the Skydio 2. Partially, this information is confirmed by the large size of the “seats” for the front sensors, which are visible in the photo of the body of the future Mavic 3.
Based on all this, we can assume that we will see some improvements in the tracking and work of the drone AI, but it is not yet clear how deep.
Results: the main thing about DJI Mavic 3 Pro
So, the drone will most likely be released by the end of September. It can be assumed that the novelty will have:
- 8K video,
- Hasselblad Variable Aperture Camera,
- improved obstacle avoidance system,
- advanced artificial intelligence system,
- new frame with new folding method,
- longer flight time on a single charge.
* In preparing the article, materials from dronedj.com (author Scott Simmie) and blog.wazza.com.ua were used