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Best Drones with Obstacle Avoidance

The Obstacle Avoidance feature found on drone systems today can make a possible bad day a whole heck of a lot better.

That is, if that system works, depending on just how good of a system it is.

Should this be the sole feature you look at when purchasing a drone system? No! It should, however, be one of the things you’re looking for.

When buying a drone, you should always look at all facets of that system, such as durability, flight time, camera quality, price, and the applications you will be applying it to, among many others.

The obstacle avoidance in these systems today is light years from what it was just a few years ago, not only in their detection range, but in the Artificial Intelligence programming that they use to avoid objects.

As it is a passive system, you have limited control over it. Most are working quietly in the background.

Some of these systems will allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the system, and some only allow you to turn them either off or on.

One of the things you’ll find is that nearly all GPS drones will have some sort of obstacle avoidance. They are not all created equally, though, with some being much better at the task than others.

As with any tool in your drone toolbox, they are not entirely infallible either. Some may not pick up a small branch or wire. Some may sense that obstacle, but not react in time to avoid it.

Before we get too far into the drones that have the best obstacle avoidance systems, we should take a closer look at what those systems really are.

Let’s look at what type of optical sensors one system has over another, as well as the different types of obstacle avoidance systems and why they may be different.

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1. DJI Mini 3 Pro

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)

It’s incredible how a small drone can have powerful features, especially for aerial photography. The compact and lightweight qualities of the DJI Mini 3 Pro make it sturdy enough to withstand strong winds.

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DJI Mini 3 Pro Specifications

  • Weight: less than 249 grams
  • Dimensions Folded (without propellers): 145×90×62 mm (L×W×H)
  • Dimension Unfolded (with propellers): 251×362×70 mm (L×W×H)
  • Diagonal Length: 247 mm
  • Max Ascent Speed: 5 m/s
  • Max Descent Speed: 5 m/s
  • Max Horizontal Speed: 16 m/s
  • Max Takeoff Altitude: 4000 m
  • Max Flight Time: 34 minutes
  • Max Hovering Time: 30 minutes
  • Max Flight Distance: 18 km
  • Max Wind Speed Resistance: 10.7 m/s (Level 5)
  • Photo Resolution: 48 MP: 8000 X 6000
  • Video Resolution: 4K Ultra HD: 3840 x 2160 @ 60 fps
  • Sensing Type: Downward vision system               
  • Video Transmission System: DJI O2
  • Battery Capacity: 2453 mAh
  • Battery Charging Time: 1 hour
  • Max Charging Power: 30 W
  • File Storage: micro SD card (256 GB max)

✅ Pros

  • Good value vs. cost
  • Small and lightweight – under 250g
  • Available extended battery
  • Vertical video/photo mode
  • Easy to use

❌ Cons

  • No AirSense ADS-B
  • No object tracking in verticle mode
  • Camera sensor could be larger
  • Limited Internal Storage
  • Not a true 48MP sensor
  • No upward obstacle avoidance

The Mini 3 Pro is equipped with a 4K/60fps video camera and a 48MP sensor, ensuring you capture high-quality footage and images.

Additionally, with a flight time of up to 34 minutes, you have more than enough time to capture stunning aerial shots.

One of the remarkable features of the DJI Mini 3 Pro is its obstacle avoidance system.

With front, rear, and downward sensors, this drone can detect and avoid obstacles in its path, making it easier to fly and reducing the risk of crashes.

The Mini 3 Pro also comes with a return-to-home feature, ensuring that the drone will safely return to its take-off point if it loses signal or if the battery is running low.

This feature adds an extra layer of safety and peace of mind when flying.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro also offers the ability to active track and, with its low cost, is a sure winner.

2. 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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Autel EVO Lite Plus Specifications

  • Weight: 820 grams
  • Dimensions Folded (without propellers): 210×104×85 mm (L×W×H)
  • Dimension Unfolded (with propellers): 430×517×85 mm (L×W×H)
  • Diagonal Length: 368 mm
  • Max Ascent Speed: 8 m/s
  • Max Descent Speed: 4 m/s
  • Max Horizontal Speed: 19 m/s
  • Max Takeoff Altitude: 5000 m
  • Max Flight Time: 40 minutes
  • Max Hovering Time: 38 minutes
  • Max Flight Distance: 24 m
  • Max Wind Speed Resistance: Level 7
  • Photo Resolution: 50M:8192×6144
  • Video Resolution: 4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160 @60 fps
  • Max Bit Rate: 120 MBPS
  • Wi-Fi Transfer: 20 MB/s
  • Battery Capacity: 6175 mAh
  • Battery Charging Time: 90 minutes.
  • Max Charging Power: 78 W
  • File Storage: micro SD card (256 GB max)

✅ Pros

  • 6K 30fps video
  • Night mode
  • Good flight time – 40 mins.
  • Variable aperture
  • 1″ camera sensor

❌ Cons

  • No vehicle tracking
  • No top or side obstacle avoidance
  • Props show in ludicrous mode
  • No D-log profile
  • More costly than the DJI Air 2S

The EVO Lite Plus utilizes a binocular vision principle combined with a three-way obstacle avoidance system to detect and avoid obstacles.

This system can detect objects in three directions: forward, backward, and downward, allowing the drone to obtain images of obstacles and accurately locate them to avoid collisions.

The EVO Lite Plus can fly faster, safer, and more confidently than ever before with its obstacle avoidance system.

Additionally, the drone has a range of up to 12 km (7.4 miles) for HD transmission and no geo-fencing, providing a long and reliable connection with the camera.

3. DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S
$999.00 $949.00

DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions: up, down, forward, and backward, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles, even in complex scenarios and at high speeds.

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03/07/2024 02:02 pm GMT

DJI Air 2S Specifications

  • Weight: 595 grams
  • Dimensions Folded (without propellers): 180×97×77 mm (LxWxH)
  • Dimension Unfolded (with propellers): 183×253×77 mm (L×W×H)
  • Diagonal Length: 302 mm
  • Max Ascent Speed: 6 m/s
  • Max Descent Speed: 6 m/s
  • Max Horizontal Speed: 16 m/s
  • Max Takeoff Altitude: 5000 m
  • Max Flight Time: 30 minutes
  • Max Hovering Time: 31 minutes
  • Max Flight Distance: 18.5 km
  • Max Wind Speed Resistance: 10.7 m/s (Level 5)
  • Photo Resolution: 5472×3078 (16:9)
  • Video Resolution: 5.4K: 5472×3078 @30 fps
  • Sensing Type: Downward vision system               
  • Video Transmission System: DJI O2
  • Battery Capacity: 3500 mAh
  • Battery Charging Time: 1 hour
  • Recommended Charger: DJI 35W USB-C Charger
  • File Storage: micro SD card

✅ Pros

  • 1″ CMOS 20MP sensor
  • 4K to 5.4K 30fps video
  • Compact, easy to carry
  • Decent flight time
  • Robust safety features
  • AirSense ADS-B

❌ Cons

  • Fixed aperture
  • Image edges soft
  • Long charging time

What sets the DJI Air 2S apart from other “follow-me” drones is its advanced obstacle avoidance system that can detect objects in four directions and avoid colliding with them, keeping you and your drone safe during your adventures.

This feature is especially useful when you’re engaged in an action sport and don’t have time to worry about flying your drone safely.

Another advantage of the DJI Air 2S is its long flight time of up to 31 minutes, so you can capture more footage without worrying about the battery life.

With a 1-inch CMOS sensor and 5.4K video, the DJI Air 2S can capture stunningly clear and detailed footage that’s perfect for professional use.

Additionally, the drone’s 12 km of 1080p video transmission ensures that you can always see what the drone is capturing in real-time.

» MORE: Autel Evo Lite+ vs DJI Air 2S

4. Autel EVO Nano+

Autel EVO Nano Plus

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone with 4K/30FPS HDR Video, 50MP Photo1/1.28"(0.8") CMOS RYYB Sensor, Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing,3-Axis Gimbal, 3-Way Obstacle Avoidance.

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Autel EVO Nano Plus Specifications

  • Weight: 249 grams
  • Dimensions Folded (without propellers): 140×90×50 mm (L×W×H)
  • Dimension Unfolded (with propellers): 264×310×50 mm (L×W×H)
  • Diagonal Length: 231 mm
  • Max Ascent Speed: 6 m/s
  • Max Descent Speed: 4 m/s
  • Max Horizontal Speed: 15 m/s
  • Max Takeoff Altitude: 4000 m
  • Max Flight Time: 28 minutes
  • Max Hovering Time: 26 minutes
  • Max Flight Distance: 16.8 m
  • Max Wind Speed Resistance: 10.7 m/s (Level 5)
  • Photo Resolution: 50M:8192×6144
  • Video Resolution: 4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160 @60 fps
  • Max Bit Rate: 100 MBPS
  • Wi-Fi Transfer: 20 MB/s
  • Battery Capacity: 3930 mAh
  • Battery Charging Time: 90 minutes.
  • Max Charging Power: 30 W
  • File Storage: micro SD card (256 GB max)

✅ Pros

  • Under 250g
  • Good range
  • Tri-directional obstacle avoidance
  • Phase-contrast autofocus

❌ Cons

  • Slow speed
  • 60fps only in 1080p
  • value vs. cost

This lightweight and foldable drone is equipped with advanced obstacle avoidance technology, making it the top choice for photographers and videographers.

The three-way binocular vision sensors enable the EVO Nano Plus to detect objects around it, making it easy to navigate and avoid obstacles in its path.

The Autel EVO Nano Plus also boasts a 4K/30FPS HDR video camera and a 50MP photo 1/1.28″(0.8″) CMOS RYYB sensor, ensuring stunning, high-quality footage every time.

The 3-axis gimbal provides smooth and stable camera movement, while the 3-way obstacle avoidance system keeps your investment safe.

5. DJI Mavic 3 Series

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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Mavic 3 Pro Specifications

  • Takeoff Weight: Mavic 3 Pro: 958 g, Mavic 3 Pro Cine: 963 g
  • Dimensions: Folded (without propellers): 231.1×98×95.4 mm (L×W×H)
    Unfolded (without propellers): 347.5×290.8×107.7 mm (L×W×H)
  • Max Ascent Speed: 8 m/s
  • Max Descent Speed: 6 m/s
  • Max Horizontal Speed (at sea level, no wind): 21 m/s
  • Max Takeoff Altitude: 6000 m
  • Max Flight Time: 43 minutes
    Measured in a controlled test environment. Specific test conditions are as follows: flying at a constant speed of 32.4 kph in a windless environment at sea level, with APAS off, AirSense off, camera parameters set to 1080p/24fps, video mode off, and from 100% battery level until 0%. Results may vary depending on the environment, actual use, and firmware version.
  • Max Hovering Time: 37 minutes
    Measured in a controlled test environment. Specific test conditions are as follows: hovering in a windless environment at sea level, with APAS off, AirSense off, camera parameters set to 1080p/24fps, video mode off, and from 100% battery level until 0%. Results may vary depending on the environment, actual use, and firmware version.
  • Max Flight Distance: 28 km
  • Max Wind Speed Resistance: 12 m/s
  • Max Tilt Angle: 35°
  • Operating Temperature: -10° to 40° C (14° to 104° F)
  • Global Navigation Satellite System: GPS + Galileo + BeiDou
  • Hovering Accuracy Range: Vertical: ±0.1 m (with vision positioning), ±0.5 m (with GNSS positioning): Horizontal: ±0.3 m (with vision positioning), ±0.5 m (with high-precision positioning system)
  • Internal Storage: Mavic 3 Pro: 8 GB (approx. 7.9GB available space)
    Mavic 3 Pro Cine: 1 TB (approx. 934.8GB available space)
  • Camera Image Sensor: Hasselblad Camera: 4/3 CMOS, Effective Pixels: 20 MP
    Medium Tele Camera: 1/1.3″ CMOS, Effective Pixels: 48 MP
    Tele Camera: 1/2″ CMOS, Effective Pixels: 12 MP

✅ Pros

  • Exceptional quality video/photo
  • Excellent flight times
  • Omni-directional obstacle avoidance
  • Very good in low-light conditions
  • AirSense ADS-B
  • Adjustable aperture

❌ Cons

  • Pricy in all variations
  • No RAW non-prime lens
  • Long charge time
  • No mechanical shutter

The Mavic 3 Series is the latest in the DJI lineup and can be found in three variations, each of which presents the very latest in Omnidirectional Obstacle Avoidance and is one of the best systems found on the market today.

The DJI Mavic 3/Mavic 3 Classic/Mavic 3 Pro is the most powerful folding drone the company has made so far. Looking at it from a pure performance standard, it’s also the best.

The Mavic 3 is a significant upgrade on the Mavic 2 series.

It can shoot 5.1K video up to 50fps, 4K at up to 120fps, FHD up to 120fps when shooting Apple ProRes, and up to 200fps when using the H264/H.265 codecs, which includes D-Log (Raw).

The Mavic 3 offers several other improvements as well, including improved responsiveness in flight and a better battery life of up to 46 minutes.

The Mavic 3 uses multiple vision sensors to sense obstacles in all directions, which is extended up to 200m when using the Return To Home (RTH) feature.

It also offers improved obstacle avoidance in the form of DJIs latest (Advanced Pilot Assistance System) or APAS 5.0, which combines six fish-eye sensors and two wide-angle sensors to sense obstacles in all directions.

6. Skydio 2+

Skydio 2+ Pro Kit

Autonomous Cinema Drone with Advanced Cinematic Skills, Unmatched 360° Obstacle Avoidance, 4K60 HDR Camera, 27 Minute Flight Time, with 2 Year Skydio Care Warranty.

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Skydio 2+ specifications

  • Camer: 12.3MP Type 1/2.3 (6.3 x 4.7mm) CMOS sensor
  • Lens: 20mm lens with fixed F2.8 aperture
  • Dynamic Range: 13.5 stops of dynamic range
  • Video Recording: 4K/60p HDR video; 8-bit recording
  • Codec: H.264 and H.265 recording at 100Mbps
  • Sensors: Six 4K visual sensors for 360º obstacle avoidance
  • Tracking: Can track and follow subjects from the front, sides and behind
  • Max Speed: 36 mph top speed
  • Photo: Raw and JPEG image capture
  • Range: 3km (1.9 mi.) range with handheld Beacon remote and 6km (3.7 mi.) range with Skydio Controller
  • Mode: ‘Keyframes’ cinematic flight-plan mode
  • Flight Time: 27-minute flight time
  • Weight: 775g (1.7lb) total weight

✅ Pros

  • Exceptional obstacle avoidance
  • Stand-out tracking
  • Auto-record
  • Hand-held beacon

❌ Cons

  • Inferior camera
  • Limited flight time
  • Non-folding
  • No night mode
  • No D-log profile

The Skydio 2+ is the latest in the Skydio line and is only mentioned here due to its fantastic AI control system.

It did offer one of the most impressive 360 Obstacle Avoidance Systems when it was released and sadly due to not getting any improvement in its main camera system, it is very limited as far as a flyable drone is concerned in today’s marketplace.

That’s sort of the point though with any of the consumer Skydio drone systems – they are not meant to be flown in the traditional sense.

They are intended to operate mainly through its autonomy system.

The Skydio 2 drone uses a super fisheye lens for a true 360° view, giving the Skydio 2 omnidirectional obstacle detection including above and below.

The Skydio 2 was designed specifically for tracking people and objects.

This drone also has exceptional follow you tracking technology and is able to film in 4k video at 60 fps in HDR quality.

It’s actually this company’s political policies that should keep you away, as they are one of the leading lobbyists to have their competitors banned, instead of just producing a superior product to compete against them.

They have also stepped away from the consumer/prosumer market and have shifted their attention to more enterprise level sales.

Although this latest version does increase range and flight time, there are simply too many drawbacks to make this drone a viable option for anyone who wants to fly their aircraft as opposed to watching it fly itself.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Skydio 2+: Which One is Right for You?

7. Autel EVO II Pro V3

Autel Robotics EVO 2 PRO V3
$2,099.00

Autel EVO II Pro V3 is upgraded with Autel drone's all new SkyLink 2.0 video transmission technology, allows video transmission from up to 15 km.

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Autel EVO II Pro V3 Specifications

  • Takeoff Weight: 2.6 lbs (1191 g)
  • 2. Max Takeoff Weight: 4.4 lbs (2000 g)
  • Diagonal Wheelbase: 15.6 inches (397 mm)
  • Aircraft Battery: 7100 mAh
  • Max Flight Time (standard): 40 min
  • Max Hovering Time (standard): 35 min
  • Max Level Flight Speed (Standard): 45 mph (20 m/s) (Ludicrous)
  • Max Ascent Speed: 18 mph (8 m/s) (Ludicrous)
  • Max Descent Speed: 9 mph (4 m/s) (Ludicrous)
  • Max Takeoff Altitude: 4.3 miles (7000 m)
  • Max Wind Resistance: Force 8 wind
  • Operating Environment Temp: 32-104°F (0-40°C)
  • Working Frequency (2.4G): 2.4~2.4835GHz
  • Transmission Power (2.4G): 2.4~2.4835GHz | FCC: ≤26 dBm | ISED: ≤26 dBm | CE: ≤20 dBm | RCM: ≤20 dBm | SRRC: ≤20 dBm
  • Hover Precision: Vertical: ± 0.02m (with visual positioning in normal operation) | ± 0.2m (with GPS in normal operation) | Horizontal: ± 0.02m (with visual positioning in normal operation) | ± 0.2m (with GPS in normal operation)

✅ Pros

  • 1″ camera sensor 20MP
  • Multiple color profiles
  • Omni-directional obstacle avoidance
  • 40-minute flight time
  • No geo-fencing

❌ Cons

  • Range
  • No panorama mode

One of the top drones with obstacle avoidance is the Autel EVO II; it is an improvement to the original version, the Autel EVO.

The latest is the V3. This drone has a camera that can capture images of 20 megapixels and has a video resolution of 6K, making it one of the best drones for photography.

The Autel EVO II has an omnidirectional binocular sensing system or a 360-degree obstacle avoidance feature that helps prevent it from crashing.

The total flight time of the Autel EVO II is 40 minutes, the maximum hovering time is 35 minutes, and the top speed is 45 mph.

Obstacle Avoidance

What is obstacle avoidance? It’s a safety feature that is found in most advanced drone systems that are available.

It’s a passive system that is continuously scanning the environment and detecting obstacles along the route the aircraft is taking in real-time.

One of the main elements of obstacle avoidance technology is precision.

Most utilize several technologies that all work together to provide information to the system so it can have a complete picture of the environment around the aircraft.

It enables the drone to detect an obstacle from a few centimeters to several feet away and doesn’t require any GPS to be aware of its surroundings.

This means your drone is provided with some positioning information even when operating at high speed.

When we look at the current obstacle avoidance systems available, they tend to be using vision sensors, infrared sensors, or ultrasonic sensors.

Some of the most advanced systems are now employing Lidar.

The best systems use a combination of all three or four of these technologies, as the more data the aircraft can collect during flight and correlate, the better it can react to any obstacle it’s detecting.

So that only leaves the question, what are these sensors, and what do they do.

» MORE: Obstacle Avoidance in DJI Drones (Explained for Beginners)

Vision sensors

Vision sensors are probably the most advanced obstacle avoidance technology available and are typically used in high-end drones.

They use cameras and computer vision algorithms to detect and track obstacles in the drone’s path, providing a more accurate and comprehensive obstacle avoidance system.

The vision sensor provides an accurate view of what’s around the aircraft, with most using stereo vision.

Since they come in multiple quality levels, these systems can vary greatly.

When considering a drone with obstacle avoidance, it’s important to look for a system that uses multiple sensors.

This will provide the most comprehensive obstacle detection, including forward, backward, upward, and downward obstacle avoidance.

Additionally, some drones offer features such as automatic obstacle avoidance, which can take over control of the drone and avoid obstacles on its own, ensuring a safer flight.

It’s crucial to point out that obstacle avoidance technology is not foolproof, and it’s always important to maintain situational awareness and exercise caution when flying a drone, especially when using any system’s autonomous modes such as Tracking or running a third-party mapping program.

It is very true that a comprehensive obstacle avoidance system can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and crashes, making for a more enjoyable and stress-free flying experience.

Infrared sensors

Infrared sensors use infrared light to detect obstacles and measure their distance. They are commonly used in low-altitude drones and are best suited for flying in indoor environments or areas with low-light conditions.

The IR sensor comprises an infrared receiver, a transmitter, and a potentiometer. The infrared ray will weaken according to the distance it spreads and finally vanishes.

However, this happens if there is no obstacle. If there is an obstacle, the infrared ray will bounce back to the infrared receiver.

So, it’s sort of like radar on your aircraft and is usually tied to the vision sensor system.

As infrared sensors work within the infrared spectrum, your aircraft is seeing things that the vision sensor is not, unlike radar, which sends a signal out and then looks at the return or bounced-back signal to determine range and distance.

An infrared sensor only sends the signal out and determines the range at which the signal stops, as opposed to a return of that signal.

The crucial part of these sensors is they are viewing things outside of our visible spectrum and therefore are able to add awareness that the vision sensor or the human eye would not be able to detect.

Ultrasonic sensors

Ultrasonic sensors, unlike infrared sensors, are much closer to how an actual radar system works.

They send out a signal and read the return of the signal and its strength which is done by emitting high-frequency sound waves that bounce back from objects in their path, allowing them to calculate the distance to the object.

A very good example of this is how bats can detect objects in their flight path. Our modern sensors are based on that principle.

These types of sensors are generally used for close-range obstacle avoidance and are ideal for flying indoors or in areas with limited visibility or low-light conditions.

Lidar sensors

This type of sensor detects objects and calculates their distance, similar to all the other sensors we’ve looked at above.

They operate by measuring the time that a short pulse takes to travel from it to an object and back. It also calculates the distance from the light’s speed to establish any objects within.

Lidar isn’t very common yet in most obstacle avoidance systems, as the technology is still relatively new and being developed.

We hope to see this type of sensor and system become more commonplace in the next few generations of Unmanned aerial vehicles as it shows great promise to improve these obstacle avoidance systems even more.

How does it all work?

Obstacle avoidance technology combines several technologies, all working together to enable the drone to avoid obstacles.

Before we can dig deep into the topic of obstacle avoidance drones, it really is important to understand how this technology works in these devices.

In the simplest terms, this technology isn’t really a single technology.

Instead, it’s more of a broad term that covers many complex technologies and operations that work in unison to help the drone avoid collisions.

These technologies include:

Obstacle Avoidance Algorithm 

The obstacle avoidance algorithm is a pre-set set of rules that all of the operating sensors must follow in order to detect and avoid obstacles.

The obstacle avoidance algorithm is one of the essential parts of the technology and needs to be functional.

Even if the drone has the best sensors and systems in place, a poorly written and bug-ridden algorithm renders all of them ineffective.

These OA Algorithms can be classed into two categories: Off-line planning algorithms and on-line adjustment algorithms.

Off-line obstacle avoidance algorithms use a closed-loop control system based on the parameters entered and are used to track the task trajectory.

This method is typically found when planning a mapping project and using an App such as DroneDeploy or Pix4D.

The opposite is true for On-line adjustment algorithms where the aircraft itself is providing real-time data, and it is being correlated by the algorithm as the aircraft is actively moving through the airspace.

On-line adjustment algorithms allow for real-time trajectory adaptations in dynamic environments. Or, in other words, your day-to-day flying experience.

These systems can either work independently or in conjunction with each other. This is how, while during an autonomous flight, your aircraft can still detect an object and move to avoid it.

SLAM 

Short for “Simultaneous Localization and Mapping,” is the computational problem of constructing or updating a map of an unknown environment while simultaneously keeping track of an aircraft’s location within it.

This is an essential component in all obstacle avoidance systems, and not just those installed in drones. SLAM allows the drone to map out its surroundings in real time and orient itself accordingly.

The way this works is that SLAM uses a pre-existing map built in its memory and only refines it as the aircraft moves through the environment.

SLAM algorithms are based on computational geometry and computer vision and are not aimed at perfection but at operational compliance.

Sensor Fusion

As the name implies, sensor fusion is the process of combining sensor data or data derived from disparate sources such that the resulting information has less uncertainty than would have been possible when these sources were used individually.

The term uncertainty reduction, in this case, can mean more accurate, more complete, or more dependable.

Or it can refer to the result of an emerging view, such as stereoscopic vision which is the calculation of depth information by combining two-dimensional images from two cameras at slightly different viewpoints.

This could include fusing several separate sensors in one system so that it can more effectively determine something than any one of the sensors can do on its own.

Sensor fusion is especially important in drones so that they can produce real-time data that can be employed by an obstacle avoidance system.

Flight Controller

It’s easy to confuse this term with that of the Aircraft’s control system. In this case, we are not referring to the Controller that you hold to operate your aircraft.

The Flight controller, in this regard, is that of the control board within the aircraft that all of the sensor data is sent to and then correlated to make the obstacle avoidance system function.

This is where the SLAM algorithms and the obstacle avoidance algorithms are stored and operate.

As the obstacle avoidance sensors obtain data, they send it to the flight controller in real time.

The flight controller may also receive data from other places within the drone. This would be the central processing hub for all of this collected data.

With this information, the flight controller can direct the drone to fly around, above, or just stop to avoid the obstacle.

In a more user-friendly way terminology, this is the brains of the whole obstacle avoidance system.

When all of these technologies are combined, they are able to create a system that’s capable of more than just avoiding imminent impact due to an obstacle.

Many of these drone systems can also use this technology to recognize and track a variety of objects.

This means that you can set them to follow people, animals, vehicles, or any other moving object. This has become a very popular feature found on most drone systems today.

Now that we’ve covered just what these system components contain and how they operate, let’s see what we have as some of the most advanced and best obstacle-avoidance drones on the market today.

Conclusion

There are simply too many drone systems available today that offer some type of Obstacle Avoidance to list them all in one place.

This list features some of the very best systems on the market today that offer some of the very best examples of Obstacle Avoidance that can be had.

You can and will find that nearly all drone systems today have some form of Obstacle Avoidance and if one of these above systems is out of your budget, you can and will find one that is.

Obstacle Avoidance is a great feature to have, and it will keep your aircraft safer as it transits the skies.

Another added benefit for having a high-quality obstacle avoidance system is that it can cut down on insurance cost for the drone.

» MORE: Drone Insurance Made Easy (For Pilots and Clients)

A top shelf system as those represented above are certainly desirable qualities of any drone system;

However, they are but only a tool in your pilot toolbox and shouldn’t be used to replace proper situational awareness when flying.

Not even the most advanced Obstacle Avoidance is able to avoid all obstacles. At least not yet!

Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!