Skydio 2, Mavic Killer?

Skydio 2 not a Mavic Killer?

Autonomous drone

Hey everyone.
I’m Mike from Mike Flys

I’m not normally one to jump in and blog based on the hype of a new product, but I feel that the videos I have seen and blogs I have read doing this for the Skydio 2 are missing some major points. So I decided to do some research and put my opinions into this blog. I also put it on video if you would rather listen to me then read this blog. You can view it here: https://youtu.be/et70DjrYOqA or at the bottom of this post.

There is no doubt that the Skydio 2 is an amazing machine. Knowing the performance of their R1 I know the Skydio 2 will live up to what Skydio claims, and I can hardly wait to get mine.
Syydio R1
Skydio 2

However, I’m not so sure it’s a”Mavic 2 killer” like I see so many people claiming.

Those of you that know me know I have been in this game for years and have owned more drones and RC copters than I can remember.

My Mavic 2 is my work drone. 99% of all the photos and video I do is with my Mavic 2 Pro. Don’t get me wrong I know I will love and use the Skydio a bunch, maybe even more than my Mavic 2 however it can’t replace it for everything I use it for. Granted I do some things other people don’t.
Mavic 2 Pro

Before I go over the comparisons of the 2 drones let me talk a minute about Obstacle Avoidance.
When the Yuneec Typhoon H was released everyone was excited about “Obstacle Avoidance” It is a useful tool, but the whole time I had mine I never turned it on. My thoughts at the time were I have been flying RC helicopters for over a decade and have gotten pretty good at not flying into things.
Typhoon H

With its Obstacle Avoidance turned on My Mavic Pro flew into a small branch over the Dora Canal and crashed into the water while following me in my Kayak. You can read about this and see the video on my blog post here:
http://www.mikeflys.com/mavic-pro-water-recovery-and-repair/

My Mavic Air and my Mavic 2 Obstacle Avoidance sometimes interfere with me flying in tight areas causing me to maneuver differently or even turn it off.

That said What Skydio did with their R1 was a game-changer, the Skydio 2 is the next level for this. Obstacle Avoidance technology is needed in this industry. Not just for photos and video shoots, but for delivery drones, transport/taxi drones…. At some point in time robots of all types will wander the streets, sidewalks and sky with us depending on this type of technology. My hats off to Skydio for changing the game in such a hugely major way.

Okay on to the comparison of the Skydio 2 and the Mavic 2. I will point out some of the features of the Mavic 2 first, but please stick around as I will point out the features of the Skydio 2 next.
Quick disclaimer. As the Skydio 2 is not officially released at this time October 6 2019 some of the information I have on it may be different in the future.

Mavic 2 drone plusses

  • Areas where the Mavic 2 is better than the Skydio 2 that matter to me and my work.
    The Mavics 29 minutes of flight time is 20% more than the Skydio 2s 23 minutes
  • At 214×91×84 mm The Mavic folds up smaller for easier carrying than the Skydio 2s 223 x 273 x 74 mm
  • In the Skydio2 video, it appears that the front rotors can drag on the ground when it
  • At 44mph the Mavic 2 has a faster top speed than the Skyido 2s 36 mph.
    • It needs to be mentioned that the Skyido 2 top speed is with full Obstacle Avoidance and the Mavics is not.
  • Mavic 2s Service Ceiling of 19685 feet is higher than the 15000 feet of the Skydio
  • The Mavic 2 Pros 1-inch sensor is arguably better than the smaller sensor in the Skydio 2.
    • Many utility companies require a 1-inch sensor.
    • Mavic 2 Pro’s camera offers a 10-bit color mode.
  • The Mavic 2 zoom has basically the same size sensor as the Skydio 2 and while it can’t shoot 60 FPS at 4k it does have optical zoom.



Skydio 2 drone pluses

  • Skydio has better customer service than DJI.
    • While I realize that as they grow this may change but I must say that Skydio has been very responsive to my emails, and even my tweets. Even with all the questions, I have asked them they continue to provide friendly reply’s in a reasonable amount of time. I have been flying DJI, Yuneec, Blade… for several years and have not experienced that from any of them.
    • I’m sure part of the reason they have great support is that their customer service is in the same building as their engineering team, which is across the street from their manufacturing plant.
  •  Better obstacle avoidance, Better obstacle avoidance, Better obstacle avoidance
    • I’m sure if you are reading this you know what sets this drone miles apart from other drones is its ability to fly on its own without crashing. The reason it can do this is its far superior Obstacle Avoidance.
    • Their Obstacle Avoidance not only blows the Mavic’s out of the water it jumps light years ahead of it.
  • Skydo 2 Max Wind Speed Resistance of 25mph is slightly higher than the Mavic 2s 23mph. Interestingly enough I have always thought the Mavic 2s wind capability was 35 mph, but when I check to make sure this was accurate DJI claims 29–38 kph or 23mph.
  • Skydio 2 has No NFZ.
    • Most of the time the DJI Geo fenced No Fly Zones don’t bother me much. I generally unlock them if needed when I apply for my airspace authorizations.
  • Made in the USA!
    • Regardless of how you feel about this with the DOD scare of Chinese drone’s data mining the US some utility companies and other companies require you to have an American made drones to do contract work for them.
  • The Skydio 2 can be flown with your phone, it’s controller or it’s Beacon.
    • I loved the Wizzard my Yuneec Typhoon H came with and the beacon seems like it will be great to use. I’m very excited to play with it
      Skydio phoneSkydio controllerSkydio Beacon

Apps

As the Skydio 2’s app has not been released yet it is hard and maybe a bit unfair to compare it to DJIGo4, however after exchanging some emails with Skydio it seems the first release version of the app won’t have some of the things I love about DJI’s app, and they won’t comment as to whether it will in a future version but all of this is possible with an upgrade.
Skydio 2 app

Here is a list of features the DJI app has that Skydio app does not

  • Live Broadcasting, Facebook Live, Youtube Live….
  • Hyperlapse/Timelapse
  • Hyperlight

I hope they at least add the Live Broadcast and some sort of time-lapse.

It’s also too soon to know what accessories Skydio will off for this drone but my favorite DJI accessories for the Mavic Pro/Mavic Air/Mavic 2 is the Flymore app. Specifically the multi-battery charger block, and battery USB adapter. It goes without saying that a minimum number of batteries is 3, and 6 is better.

In summery I’m not trying to imply that ether drone is better, all I’m saying is that each drone brings its own unique talents to the table and if you can only have one then choose the one who’s features best matches your mission. As for me I have a job for each of them and will use both into the foreseeable future.

Thanks for reading please leave comments thoughts and views below but be nice. And of course, like, subscribe…

Fly safe and have fun.

Here is the YouTube Video version of this Blog.

DJI Mavic Pro 2 II and Mavic Enterprise

With the announcement of DJI’s “See the Bigger Picture” last month, followed by the recent DJI announcement of the postponement of the “See the Bigger Picture” event. Rumors have been abounding. Most of my circle are excited hoping for a Mavic Pro 2. So you can imagine our excitement of the leaked Mavic Pro 2 picture last week.

It looks like it has a swappable gimbal which not only could allow for different cameras to be mounted, but also from the pic I am led to believe that I can put this gimbal/camera on a hand held device making it a steady cam like the OSMO series (I love my OSMOs), and with the hint of a little truck/dolly vehicle in the background maybe install the gimbal/camera on a ground vehicle. A ground vehicle, with GPS, OA sensors could be programmed to do some very cool automated truck/dolly shots.
I get this is not for everyone, but for me it’s great. I often take pictures with my DSLR, or shoot video with my OSMO, and having ran my drone fast near the ground, or water to simulate a vehicle cruising along. I hope it’s an option.
The picture shows a beefier gimbal, and a different camera. Should be safe to assume it’s a better camera than The Mavic Pro/Mavic Air. Nice Air Scoops on the sides behind the gimbal. And what looks like sensors on the sides behind the battery for Obstacle Avoidance (OA). The motors look bigger as well.

So I’m all excited about the Mavic 2 and the next leaked pics are of the Mavic Enterprise…. Could it be “See the Bigger Picture” will have the release of 2 Mavics?!…. How will I ever afford both!… and all the accessories?!

The Mavic Enterprise looks to me like it’s the same as the Mavic 2 photo above just with a hard mounting point on its top in front of the battery. It looks designed to be used for commercial with it’s obvious swappable top load accessories. The first picture here looks to me like a Strobe light, which would be very useful flying near airports and at night. Not sure how the strobe would affect any video/pics.

This looks like a speaker, or maybe a light. I read that someone speculated it could be some sort of sonar or infrared sensor… guess we will find out soon enough.
I would love to see a 360 camera on the drone. This modular mounting system has endless possibilities.

Like the Mavic pro 2 picture above it clearly has bigger more powerful motors, which for a guy like me that likes to add things like float kits to his drones for water oops this is really great news. The Mavic Pro did great with a float kit however the lethargic motors on the Mavic Air just couldn’t perform with the added parts which no matter how light I made them struggled with float kits, especially in the wind. As for other features it is clear that the Camera Gimbal is much beefier than the current Mavic pro. I have never had an issue with mine in the nearly 2 years I have been flying it but I have heard people complain about how flimsy it appears.
The camera looks bigger, but I’m not sure if it is big enough to house the 1 inch sensor we have been hoping for. Since it looks basically the same as the Mavic Pro 2 picture above I’m guessing the gimbal is designed to be detachable and this different looking camera is one of the camera options you can have on ether the Mavic 2 or Mavic Enterprise. Like the Mavic 2 Picture above it looks like nice big air vents on the sides behind the gimbal . We can’t really tell from the picture, but it looks to me that it has sensors on the sides behind the battery like the Mavic 2 picture. I think everyone is wanting side, and rear obstacle avoidance (OA).

Excited for some release dates, and it’s looking like I need to make some more money.

Till next time have fun and fly safe,
Mike

 

Quiet Props: Comparing the Obeka low -noise props to the original DJI props for the Mavic Pro

Want to try the props? You can buy them here on Amazon!
Click this link!

Don’t have time to read the details and theories? Here are the quick links to what you want to know:
Tools used
Data
Drone Flight Theory
Video
Results

I’m a private pilot and have been building and flying model aircraft (sUAS) for decades.
I haven’t seen any reviews on DJI Mavic Pro quiet props that I really liked.  So when I was presented with the opportunity to test Obeka’s quiet prop for the Mavic Pro, I was very excited to do it.

For this evaluation I did visual inspection, weight, RPM/Power, and sound level, all of which allowed me to make what I feel are accurate conclusions.

  • I tried to make the tests as fair and accurate as possible.
  • I mounted my sound meter to a tripod so it would be at the same spot and angle for each flight.
  • I created autonomous flight paths so I could fly the same position flight path and speed for each flight.

Tools I used

Test Data

  • Prop Weight
    • Stock: 34 gm average per prop. Total 29.35 gm
    • Obeka: 52gm average per prop. Total 26.09 gms
  • Average Hover Decibel
  • Average Hover RPM
    • Stock: 570
    • Obeka: 440.
  • Average Hover Power as per DJI Go4. Visible in “Sport Mode”.
    • Stock: 25.5%
    • Obeka: 23.5%
  • Balance was as good as the balance of the stock Mavic props which are very close.

Drone Flight Theory:

The flight controller on these drones varies the RPM by what you are telling the drone to do. When in hover the controller spins the motors at whatever rpms it takes to keep the drone at a steady altitude and position. Something every full-sized aircraft pilot knows that most DJI drone pilots may not is that the air-conditions affect the performance of your wing/prop. Flying in Cheyenne Wy at 6000 feet above sea level the air is generally much thinner than here in Mount Dora Fl at sea level. So, the Mavic’s controller will have to spin the props faster to hover in Cheyenne than it will in Mount Dora. Spinning the props faster generally means more noise and shorter flight times.

More than altitude affects the density of the air. Weather plays a big part of it. Air Pressure, Air temperature, and even humidity. When the temperature goes up the air density drops. Flying airplanes in North Las Vegas there where days the air at the 2600ft elevation had a density altitude of nearly 6000 feet.

video

 

My Conclusions:

The Obeka props have an obvious shape difference and in spite of their less weight they are bigger and have more surface area. A prop is basically a wing. Generally a wing with more surface area creates more lift but at often at the penalty of more drag which would mean that the motor may have to work harder to spin it at speed.

The increased lift causing the rotors to spin at a lower RPM creates less noise but also a lower pitch noise so it doesn’t sound as much like a bunch of angry bees.

Lower RPM to spin the lighter more efficient props should slightly increase flight times.

Prop RPM, Flight Performance, flight time/battery life are effected by wind as well as the ever changing air conditions. When you fly your drone in the cool morning air, the motors will not have to work as hard to generate the lift needed—as compared to flying in the hot afternoon air, which means your props will make more noise in the afternoon, and your batteries are not likely to last as long.

Want to try the props? You can buy them here on Amazon!
Click this link!

Used to make video:

Waterproof Mavic?

Mavic Pro Water Recovery

 How I fixed my Mavic Pro after it crashed into the water and waterproofed most of the electronics.

For well over a year I have been bringing my Mavic Pro out in my kayak. I get out on the water, pull it out of the dry bag, set it up attach the floats, and then launch from the water. When I’m done, I land it in the water next to me, swap batteries for another flight, or stick it back in the dry bag.
A few months ago, my wife and I decided to paddle the Dora Canal here in Central Florida.

There I was paddling along in my kayak with my Mavic Pro on floats following me with Active Track like I have done dozens of times before. I would paddle along, and if the drone got near a tree Obstacle Avoidance (OA) alarm would go off and I would stop paddling and reposition the Mavic away from the trees, then paddle some more. This time was different. I heard a crack and looked over my shoulder to see the drone tumble through some branches into the water.

I turned the kayak and was paddling to the drone as fast as I could while I watched the rear float bracket with floats slowly rotate from under the Mavic and float away. As the rear floats came out from under the Mavic, the rear of the drone sank into the water. When I got there, the Mavic was upside down under the water with its nose up floating by the front floats. Even with rear floats missing, the drone didn’t completely sink. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of it, but I was a bit freaked out and anxious to get in in the boat. I was thrilled it was not at the bottom of the canal. I pulled it out, removed the battery, and paddled back to the boat launch to load the kayaks and go home.

This article is about recovering my Mavic from its swim, but I have to say that when the next version of a Mavic Pro comes out, I hope it has rear OA sensors so I can have it active track backwards in front of me—and can keep a better eye on it. I have said from the beginning the sensors are on the wrong side of these drones. I would much rather have my face in the shot than the back of my head. That’s partly why I bought a Mavic Air. Although I wish the Mavic Air had a longer flight time.

On the way home, I stopped and picked up a couple pounds of dried rice. After wiping the drone off, I dumped the rice, the Mavic Pro, and the battery in a 5-gallon bucket, clipped the airtight lid on it, and let it set in my shed for a couple of weeks.
Before pulling the Mavic out of the bucket, I watched a couple videos on how to dismantle a Mavic Pro.
https://youtu.be/ndZVS8CtTLw
https://youtu.be/_4rfiX7JmOg
https://youtu.be/ydabCZ4bUd4
I have years and years of experience building and repairing RC aircraft. Planes, Helicopters, Multi-Rotors/Drones. If you’re not experienced with this, taking apart a Mavic Pro may not be something you should attempt.
I carefully dismantled my Mavic until I had access to all the circuit boards—making sure to keep the bolts separated in a way to help ensure the different lengths and types go back in the right places.

The rice had done its job. I didn’t find any moisture in the Mavic. To ensure there was no corrosion or moisture I might have missed, I cleaned all the boards with contact cleaner then brushed Corrosion-X on the boards and all connections.

I was careful not to get Corrosion-X on the positioning cameras, which I cleaned carefully before reassembly. The drone needs a clear view of the ground for good low-level hovering and landings. I also cleaned and checked to make sure I could see through the positioning camera lenses in the heat sink.

If you’re not an airplane mechanic or boat guy, you may not have heard of Corrosion-X. It is great stuff.
Besides dissipating moisture and corrosion, it can protect metal and electrical connections for years from moisture and corrosion making the Mavic Pro very water resistant nearly waterproof in case this happens again.
This video can give you an idea of just how effective Corrosion-X is:

Then I carefully put the drone back together making sure I put the correct screws on top, on the bottom, and the long-shouldered ones in the middle of the heat sink on the bottom.  I also added a little Thermal Compound Paste between the heat sink and chips to help ensure good heat transfer.

I installed all the bolts in for each section before tightening them to ensure proper alignment. Then I snugged them in steps using a cross pattern working from the middle out, being careful not to over-tighten them.

The battery that was on the Mavic when it went in the water never recovered. It will not charge.
After a through pre-flight I powered up the controller and the drone. Doubled checked everything and gave it a test flight. It did drift some, so I plugged it into the computer and calibrated the positioning cameras, then calibrated the IMUs, then of course the compass. My Mavic Pro flys great again. The camera works and everything! With the Corrosion-X treatment and my float kit, I feel much better about flying it over water in case it crashes again.

Quick note on my float kits. I have said from the beginning that they are designed for water operations, not crashing. They are designed to break before breaking the drone in a crash.
They will stay on and float the Mavic upside down if it is capsized, but if they hit something they may come off.
Just ask No Fish Nick, he uses my float kit for his fishing channel.

• Check out 0:58

• Check out 2:28

I hope you found this entertaining and maybe even learned something. More stories tips and tricks coming soon.
Fly safe.
Mike

Mavic Float Kit Squishy Float announced via You Tube Live

I announced the Squishy float upgrade for the float kit live on youtube.
The Squishy float squeezes like a little rubber ball to more than half it’s normal size to easily fit in your Mavics case.
It comes in bright colors for easier visual tracking and a cool look.
In the chat during the video Gary asked about the camera/gimbal cover I have on my Mavic. like I said I got it on Amazon here is the link: http://amzn.to/2D4ZSaT