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Best Beginner Drones with Obstacle Avoidance

Whether you want to acquire a drone as a hobby or for professional work, many new pilots can benefit from obstacle avoidance sensors to avoid unwanted crashes.

What are the best beginner drones for obstacle avoidance?

The best consumer drones with obstacle avoidance systems are the new DJI Mavic 3 Pro, DJI Mini 3 Pro, DJI Air 2S, and the Autel Evo Lite Plus. On top of excellent obstacle avoidance systems, these drones also pack a few more unique autonomous features.

There is much more to learn about obstacle avoidance or anti-collision systems.

We also want to share with you why we have chosen these drones as the best beginner drones with obstacle avoidance sensors.

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What are the best beginner drones for obstacle avoidance?

Let’s have at the best beginner drones with obstacle-avoidance systems, shall we? Just a note, this list may not have the cheapest drones!

1. DJI Mavic 3 Pro

DJI Mavic 3 Pro
$2,199.00

Flagship Triple-Camera Drone with 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera, 43-Min Flight Time, and 15km HD Video Transmission, for pro aerial photography.

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03/06/2024 03:32 pm GMT

Specs

Weight958 grams
Size231.1×98×95.4 mm folded without propellers
Flight TimeMax 43 minutes
Obstacle Avoidance Sensors– Omnidirectional binocular vision system
– Infrared sensor at the bottom of the aircraft
– The detection range of the forward sensor is up to 200 meters, and the measurement range is up to 20 meters
– Uses APAS 5.0 (Advanced Pilot Assistance System)
– Has a total of 8 wide obstacle avoidance sensors
Does It Have Active Track?Yes, Active Track 5.0 with different autonomous functions and with an advanced return to home, where the drone will automatically bypass obstacles on the way home
Camera Resolution– Hasselblad camera can film in 5.1k 50 frames per second or 4k 120 frames per second and has a photo resolution of 20 MP
– Medium tele camera can film in 4k 60 fps and has a photo resolution of up to 48 MP
– Tele camera can film in 4k 60 fps, and the photo resolution is 12 MP

✅ Pros

  • It has one of the most advanced obstacle-avoidance systems found in a consumer drone.
  • The obstacle avoidance sensors can cover any direction, as they’re omnidirectional, allowing you to safely fly the drone in tricky places.
  • It can fly for a long period.
  • Has an advanced return-to-home feature that will carve a path back to the pilot if obstacles are on the way.
  • It has Active Track 5.0 with several useful advanced autonomous functions, such as follow-me mode, waypoint flight, cruise control, etc.
  • Has one of the best cameras found in consumer drones and comes with a total of three cameras.
  • It has the best O3+ long-range transmission system.

❌ Cons

  • The starting price is very high.
  • It’s a heavy drone, at about one kilogram.

Although the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is an expensive drone not many can afford, the advanced features and omnidirectional avoidance system make this drone one of the best beginner drones with obstacle avoidance.

The intelligent drone system will help any beginner fly almost like a professional in no time with advanced autonomous functions. 

Even if such a drone is destined more for professional work, if you’re a beginner and can afford to buy an expensive drone, the Mavic 3 Pro is a wise investment.

2. DJI Mini 3 Pro

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)
$909.00 $799.95

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone

  • 4K/60fps Video
  • 48MP Photo
  • 34-min Flight Time
  • Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Integrated RC and screen
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03/06/2024 03:36 pm GMT

Specs

WeightUnder 249 grams
Size145×90×62 mm folded
Flight Time– 34 minutes with Intelligent Battery
– 47 minutes with Intelligent Battery Plus
Obstacle Avoidance Sensors– Forward, backward, and downward sensing systems
– The forward sensing system has a precision measurement range of up to 25 meters, the backward system up to 23.4 meters, and the downward system up to 9 meters with a hovering range of up to 12 meters due to the downward vision sensor
Does It Have Active Track?Yes, Active Track 4.0
Camera ResolutionCan record up to 4k 60 fps and photograph at a resolution of up to 48 MP

✅ Pros

  • It’s a very well-known drone and has fantastic flight performance
  • Has forward and backward plus landing avoidance sensors
  • It can fly for a long time with the Battery Plus
  • With the simple battery, the Mini 3 Pro is a sub-250-gram drone that may benefit from relaxed drone laws in some countries and territories worldwide
  • Has Active Track with different functions
  • It’s more affordable than the Mavic 3 Pro

❌ Cons

  • It doesn’t have upward and side avoidance sensors
  • The Mini 3 Pro is not as resistant to the wind as heavier drones
  • It’s an older drone

Even today, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is considered one of the best drones balanced with performance and price. 

This drone is also one of the most known drones nowadays, and it’s fantastic for a beginner looking for a drone with avoidance sensors.

Although there is a newer version released, the DJI Mini 3, this doesn’t have any active avoidance sensors or Active Track, and that’s why, as an affordable drone, we recommend the Mini 3 Pro.

The Mini 3 Pro also features an excellent return-to-home system, smooth flights, and control, and is so tiny it can fit in your pocket (it’s the size of a sandwich!).

3. DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S Fly More Combo
$1,249.00

Drone with 3-Axis Gimbal Camera, 5.4K Video, 1-Inch CMOS Sensor, 4 Directions of Obstacle Sensing, 31-Min Flight Time, Max 7.5-Mile Video Transmission, MasterShots, Gray

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03/07/2024 05:16 pm GMT

Specs

Weight595 grams
Size180×97×77 mm
Flight TimeMaximum 31 minutes
Obstacle Avoidance Sensors– Forward, backward, downward, and upward precision sensors.
– The forward and backward sensors have a measurement range of about 23 meters, the upward about 28 meters, and the max hovering range is 30 meters with a vision sensor of 60 meters
– Downward auxiliary light
Does It Have Active Track?– Yes, Active Track 4.0
– Also has FocusTrack that features Spotlight 2.0 and Point of Interest 3.0
– Fully uses the APAS 4.0 system
Camera ResolutionCan film in 5.4k at 30 fps and photograph at a resolution of 20MP

✅ Pros

  • It has good obstacle avoidance sensors. With anti-collision capabilities, it is superior to DJI Mini 3 Pro but inferior to DJI Mavic 3 Pro.
  • Has autonomous features such as a focus track, point of interest, etc.
  • It can film at a huge resolution of 5.4k with a 1-inch camera sensor
  • It can stay in the air for a decent amount of time
  • The drone has downward auxiliary lights
  • Has a fantastic O3 long-range video and radio transmission
  • A good drone for beginners

❌ Cons

  • It’s an older drone
  • There are no avoidance sensors on the sides
  • It may not be the cheapest option out there with obstacle avoidance sensors

Although the DJI Air 2S is an older drone, its technologies are near to the latest generations, including the obstacle avoidance sensors.

On top of what Mini 3 Pro offers regarding an anti-collision system, the Air 2S also has upward avoidance sensors, which is useful in many scenarios, especially when flying inside forests and places where objects could be above the drone.

This drone still has a decent flight time, and the camera sensor is fantastic, with 1-inch CMOS that can offer a wide dynamic range when photographing and filming. 

4. Autel EVO Lite Plus

Autel EVO Lite Plus

Premium Bundle, NEWEST 1-Inch CMOS Drone with 6K HDR Camera, F2.8 - F11 Aperture, 6K/30fps Video, 40 Mins Flight Time, 3-Way 360° Obstacle Avoidance, 12Km (7.4 Miles)

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Specs

Weight835 grams
Size210×123×95mm folded
Flight Time40 minutes
Obstacle Avoidance Sensors– Forward, backward, and downward (360-degree) avoidance sensor system
– Ultrawide angle obstacle avoidance
Does It Have Dynamic Track?– Yes, Dynamic Track 2.1 with a fast-moving subject track
– Flick, Rocket, Fade Away, and Orbit automatic shooting modes
Camera ResolutionIt can film in 6k at 30 fps with a 1-inch CMOS sensor
Other FeaturesDual focus system

✅ Pros

  • Has one of the best subject-tracking features for fast-moving objects of any drone
  • Can film in a fantastic resolution of 6k 30 fps
  • The camera sensor is very large, 1-inch
  • Has good (ultrawide) avoidance sensors (front, back, and downward)
  • Fast dual-focus system
  • Dynamic Track 2.1 with different autonomous functions
  • Can fly for long periods
  • Adopts binocular vision principle to obtain information about obstacles and avoid collision accurately
  • It comes with a rich bundle pack and many reasonably priced accessories

❌ Cons

  • Compared to some other drones, it is slightly pricy
  • It does not have upward and side sensors for the price

The Autel Evo Lite Plus is a fantastic non-DJI drone packing some high-end technologies with incredible flight performances, flight times, and more than decent avoidance sensors.

This drone is also very beginner-friendly and has several autonomous functions to take advantage of stunning cinematic shots without needing much experience to fly the drone.

5. Autel EVO Nano Plus

Autel EVO Nano Plus (Premium Bundle)
$2,099.00

249g Mini Professional Drone with 4K RYYB HDR Camera, 50 MP Photos, 1/1.28" CMOS, 3-Way Obstacle Avoidance and more.

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03/06/2024 09:57 pm GMT

Specs

Weight249 grams
Size142×94×55mm folded
Flight TimeMax 28 minutes
Obstacle Avoidance Sensors– Forward, backward, and downward (360-degree) avoidance sensor system
– Three-way binocular vision sensors
Does It Have Dynamic Track?Yes, Dynamic Track 2.1 has a fast-moving subject track and features modes such as Flick, Rocket, Fade Away, and Orbit automatic shooting modes
Camera ResolutionIt can film in 4k at 30 fps and can photograph with a resolution of 50 MP

✅ Pros

  • It’s cheaper than the Lite Plus version
  • It’s a sub-250-gram drone that may benefit from relaxed drone laws in some countries and territories.
  • It’s lightweight, small, and can fit in a pocket, the same as DJI Mini 3 Pro
  • It also comes with a Dynamic Track 2.1 with a few autonomous features
  • Has a similar perception system to the Lite Plus with binocular vision elements
  • The drone photo resolution is one of the highest found in a drone
  • It also comes in a rich bundle at an even more accessible price

❌ Cons

  • Like with the Lite Plus, the company is not as known as DJI and may not emit trust amongst professional drone pilots
  • Due to its small size and weight, this drone is not as resistant to flying in windy conditions
  • It lacks side and upward sensors

The Autel Evo Nano Plus is yet another brilliant drone from Autel Robotics and has some similar features to the Evo Lite Plus but is packed in a more petite frame.

This has some advantages, as it’s a brilliant drone for travelers.

The price of the Autel Evo Nano Plus is much lower, but it does not come with a 6k resolution and lacks a few features.

However, the Autel avoidance technology is fantastic, which is the reason why the Autel Evo Nano Plus made our list of best beginner drones with obstacle avoidance sensors.

What are the benefits of obstacle avoidance sensors on a drone?

Obstacle avoidance sensors enable a drone to avoid obstacles by stopping the drone in front of the object or autonomously creating a path around the object.

The obstacle avoidance sensors in drones are for multiple purposes, and here is what we know about them:

  • Safety: The main reason obstacle avoidance exists is safety, not only drone safety but also pilot safety.

    The ability of a drone to avoid collisions has drastically improved over the few years, and we should expect even better anti-collision performance in the near future.
  • Insurance cost: When you apply for drone insurance, some companies may decrease the insurance cost if the drone has obstacle avoidance because it is less likely to crash due to human error.

    It all depends on the drone and the obstacle avoidance system it has.
  • Confident flying: Beginner pilots are more optimistic about flying drones with obstacle avoidance in case mistakes are made.
  • Autonomous flight: Some drones with return-to-home features have advanced obstacle avoidance sensors that allow the drone to form a new path if something is in the way near the takeoff point.
  • Active Track features: Although it’s not mandatory to have obstacle avoidance sensors for Active Track to be present in a drone, they are mostly in drones with obstacle avoidance.

    The reason is that when the drone performs automatic maneuvers such as follow me or orbit, obstacle avoidance may help the drone stop or change its course instead of crashing when it gets close to an object.

What type of obstacle avoidance sensors exists?

  • Infrared sensors emit infrared light, and the other receives it. When the infrared light hits a surface or an object at a certain frequency, the light is bounced back, where the drone will recognize the distance and shape of an object.

    Infrared sensors are commonly used as landing sensors for drones.
  • Ultrasonic sensors emit ultrasound waves, and when the wave hits an object and bounces back, the drone will calculate the distance based on the time traveled by the ultrasound.
  • Time-of-flight sensors emit short light pulses that are received back by the camera sensor to analyze the distance of an object. 

There are many more types of sensors, and each year, both anti-collision sensors and AI evolve, where drones become more autonomous and better at detecting objects when flying.

For instance, the DJI Mavic 3 series all have an omnidirectional binocular vision system that will detect objects from afar, especially the frontal sensor that can perceive objects to a distance, even up to 200 meters.

Any Mavic 3 drone can detect objects in any direction possible and is one of the few drones capable of having 100 percent avoidance coverage.

If you want to read more about DJI obstacle avoidance sensors, check out the following article:

» MORE: Obstacle Avoidance in DJI Drones

Do you really need a drone with obstacle avoidance sensors?

Not really, but as a beginner pilot, it’s good to have some sensors in case you make flying mistakes.

Just beware that not many drones have omnidirectional sensors, and most drones may be unable to detect upward or side objects.

For instance, the DJI FPV has only frontal and landing sensors (when flying in Normal Mode), whereas DJI Mini 3 Pro has frontal, backward, and landing sensors.