On the last day of January, DJI quietly removed Waypoints from the list of available Intelligent Flight Modes for the DJI Mavic Air. This has caused some people to cancel their orders for the newest DJI drone. It seems that DJI is still trying to figure out how to position the Mavic Air in between the Spark and the (upcoming) Mavic Pro (2). Presumingly there has to be a reason for people to upgrade to a more expensive drone and the availability (or lack thereof) of Waypoints may just be enough to move people over to a higher priced device. Losing the Waypoints feature is a shame as it helps you to focus on capturing the shot, while your drone automatically flies a preset flight path.
What are Waypoints?
Waypoints are a way to record positions (and elevation) ahead of time. This can be very useful when you are trying to create smooth cinematic footage, but you have no second operator to fly your drone. Waypoints allow you to fly the desired path and record waypoints along the way. Then when you are ready to start shooting you can tell the drone to fly the preset route so you can focus on smoothly panning and tilting the camera to get those amazing shots.
Waypoints. Now you see them, now you don’t
As of January 31st, it seems that DJI quietly removed Waypoints from the list of Intelligent Flight Modes available to the Mavic Air, which really is a shame. Especially for adventure travelers, whom DJI supposedly is targetting with the new Mavic Air. They are often in situations with limited resources, i.e. no second shooter available. The ability to pre-set a flight path so that on the second run you can focus on capturing the amazing footage instead of having to focus on flying your drone would have been a huge plus.
Waypoints was a feature that was included on the list of Intelligent Flight Modes, but no more. One person on the DJI forum was able to go back in time (here and here) and confirm that the feature was indeed present on the French version of the DJI website.
We have reached out to DJI for a comment on this. Maybe they will bring it back in a future firmware or software update, but it seems more likely that DJI is trying to create enough of a difference between the Mavic Air and the Mavic Pro (or upcoming Mavic Pro 2) to give people a reason to upgrade to a more expensive drone.
What do you think about losing the Waypoints feature? Is this a feature that you used before? Does it affect your decision to buy the Mavic Air? Let us know in the comments below.
Video explaining Waypoints
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