DJI Phantom 4 Arrival
Published at 11 Mar 2016

Recently, DJI announced the Phantom 4! UAVwholesale are proud to be distributing the unique Phantom 4 by end of March. The phantom 4 delivers some interesting new features not seen on any other drone before. Avoidance and Active track are the big highlights of the new DJI model which is set to overtake its competitors on release.



The answer has to do with pattern recognition. In order to track subjects, you first have to tell it what you want to track by tapping on the screen. Once you tell it what to track, the Phantom 4 saves that initial image (possibly even multiple images) to use later, and then it sets an expected position and trajectory for the subject you want to track. That way, it will know where to expect the target in the next frame of the video.

After learning what it needs to look for and where to expect it, It uses patterns, color, position, scale and other information to determine where the new location of the object is. Once a large number of frames from the video have gone through this process, the Phantom 4 doesn’t just look for something that resembles the initial image it was shown. It builds a temporary library of images to reference. That way, it can remember what you look like from different perspectives, enabling it to track you even if you’re sitting down, running, jumping up and down etc…

Another thing to note is that the Phantom 4 does all of this with or without a GPS signal. It only uses the GPS as another form of redundancy to determine where it is, but the active track feature can still be used indoors as long as it can see.

So in simple terms, when you press the track button, the Phantom 4 learns what you look like and tries to find you in a series of images. It’s like a game of Where’s Waldo, but once you find him, you have to find him again, and do this dozens of times in a second.

Machine learning is not what you might expect. It’s not the same as true artificial intelligence and it doesn’t mean your Phantom 4 will one day rise up against you. It’s still pretty interesting though, and I think it’s one of the biggest steps towards fully autonomous drones that we’ve seen in years.


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