FCC listing: Could the new DJI Air 2S be FPV-capable?

DJI Mavic Air 2 prototype

The new FCC listing contains some tidbits, as noted by colleague Josh Spires, about an upcoming Mavic Air 2s. There’s not much information yet, but it does open the door to informed speculation on what that product might include.

When the FCC listings are released, everyone in the biz starts mining them for clues. What do the labels tell us? Are there any supporting documents that hint at features? In short, what is this thing going to be? All good questions, and the FCC filing offers only a few answers. We know, for example, that it will include an upgraded camera sensor.

And this got us thinking. What else might this signal for an upcoming Mavic Air 2 successor?

The name

Well, “Mavic” has been stripped out. And that’s consistent with a shift DJI began taking in 2020 when it comes to product lines. It has started removing those familiar names. So the successor to the Mavic Mini was the Mini 2. The latest Ronin gimbals are simply called RS 2 and RSC 2. And the new DJI FPV drone? Well, that’s its name. No Flash (that was the company’s internal, pre-release code name), no product name.

We kind of miss the old naming scheme, to be honest. But DJI must have its reasons. And so the successor to the Mavic Air 2 will be the DJI Air 2S, or so it appears.

The sensor

As noted by Josh, there’s an upgraded camera sensor in the new drone. It’s the Sony IMX686, which contains a significantly larger 64MP sensor, compared with the 48MP IMX585 contained in the Mavic Air 2. We’ve only found a couple of online comparisons between the two chips, with one of them using two different cellphones to compare the image quality. That’s not an ideal way to compare, given that optics and processing can vary significantly between devices and especially between different brands of device. In theory, though, this sensor will provide not only greater resolution but also better low-light sensitivity.

FPV?

Now, let’s preface this section by saying this is purely informed speculation. But what if the new Air 2S were FPV capable? It’s not a stretch to imagine. And it’s even less of a stretch when we think back to the photo of an apparent prototype we saw:

This photo surfaced last November…

Take a good look at the image above. It looks almost identical to the existing Mavic Air 2, except for those additional sensors on top. Assuming those might be for obstacle avoidance or detection, could they be a sign this is destined for an FPV option? Well, given that drones in fast forward flight have a nose-down pitch to them, that’s not an unreasonable guess. The gimbal in this prototype, as far as we can tell, is still a three-axis gimbal, indicating that this prototype, at least, could be something of a hybrid.

A couple of caveats here: This is just speculation, based on a photo. And a source close to DJI tells us more than one prototype has been kicking around. Will it be FPV-capable? We asked our source.

“That depends solely on DJI engineers,” he said. “It’s definitely capable… but whether it would be added as a bonus feature would depend on DJI.”

Not acro, of course

We don’t mean a fully-manual capable FPV here, and this is just speculation based on the prototype photo. But really, it wouldn’t be that hard for DJI to pop in OcuSync 3.0 and any other tweak required for V2 Goggles to pick up the signal.

And, really, given that DJI is now selling V2 goggles like hotcakes – either alone or with the DJI FPV combo – this isn’t really that far-fetched. I mean, who as a pilot wouldn’t want that option were it available? Most, right? And it’s also a sales channel to further V2 goggle sales.

Should you wait?

Well, that’s always the question when there’s a product somewhere around the corner. If you’re considering buying the Mavic Air 2, you can still rest assured it’s a great product. But if there’s no immediate and pressing need… you might consider waiting, at least until more information becomes available.

What we can say with confidence is that the model will, at the very least, contain an improved camera sensor. And since many if not most pilots want to be able to capture great stills and video from the air… that alone might be enough.

But we’re hoping there’s more.

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