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Does DJI Air 2S Have Follow Me? (Explained)

The new Air 2S is one of DJI’s most comprehensive offerings to date. This drone comes with an updated follow me feature, now called Active Track 4.0, and is widely regarded as the greatest drone in terms of quality vs. price.

The DJI Air 2S has an intelligent follow-me feature called Active Track 4.0. This follow-me mode is part of DJI’s FocusTrack mode and allows the drone to follow moving subjects such as vehicles, people, or pets.

Today, we will discuss what this new Active Track feature within DJI’s FocusTrack is all about. We will look at what it can track, the maximum speed at which it can function, and a few crucial points to keep in mind when using this fascinating feature.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

What is Active Track 4.0?

DJI’s new version of the popular intelligent flight mode commonly known as ‘follow me’ is called Active Track, and the Air 2S is running version 4.0.

The improvement of this release comes from the two top sensors located in the best bang-for-the-buck drone from the Chinese manufacturer.

In this mode, within DJI’s FocusTrack, the aircraft will follow the subject and change direction as needed due to its four-way obstacle avoidance system. If the drone loses track of the subject for a brief moment, you may immediately resume monitoring while in flight.

However, be warned that the Air 2S lacks an omnidirectional obstacle avoidance technology, so some caution should be exercised when using this mode.

Note: FocusTrack activates when you drag a box around the subject in the camera view. To exit this mode, tap ‘stop’ in DJI Fly or press the ‘Flight Pause’ button once in the remote controller.

FocusTrack in the DJI Fly app. Image credit: DJI

What can ActiveTrack 4.0 track?

The Air 2S Active Track 4.0 system is smart. Ok, not as smart as you are, but it is pretty smart! The proof of this is that it will identify the type of subject that it is tracking.

For instance, if you are tracking a person, an icon of a human under the tracking rectangle will be displayed. On the other hand, if you are tracking a car, a vehicle icon will be shown.

These icons not only tell what you are tracking as a reference but also help the drone change its flying characteristics to adapt to the subject.

How fast can the Air 2S track a subject?

The most obvious limitation of Active Track 4.0 is that it can only track moving objects that travel at a specific pace.

In Trace mode, the Air 2S Active Track 4.0 stops following subjects that travel faster than 39 mph (62 km/h), according to YouTube Channel ’51 Drones,’ with the drone flying at a speed of 27 mph (42 km/h).

The drone will stop monitoring the subject in parallel mode when the object reaches 44 mph (70 km/h), with the aircraft flying at the same speed as in trace mode, 27 mph (42 km/h).

It is vital to note that tracking accuracy at high speeds is strongly dependent on the drone’s height. In addition to that, keep in mind that practically every time you do this type of test, you will obtain different results. As a consequence, do not expect the Air 2S to be able to follow an object moving at 40 mph (64 km/h) all the time.

Honestly, I think these speeds should be enough for most scenarios. If you are looking into recording moving objects at higher speeds, maybe you should consider the DJI FPV drone.

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07/05/2022 12:09 am GMT

How does Active Track 4.0 work?

Active Track 4.0 is simple to use and flying in this mode should be safe in any open space. Follow these steps to enable it:

  1. Turn on your controller and drone and open the DJI Fly app.
  2. Make sure your controller is set to ‘normal mode’.
  3. Once the drone is in the air, draw a box around the subject you want to track (this enables “Focus Track”, the system that includes the modes Active Track 4.0, Spotlight 2.0, and POI).
  4. Choose Active Track, then one of two modes: trace or parallel (explained below).
  5. Whenever you are ready for the drone to start tracking, tap on ‘Go’.

As mentioned, this improved feature offers two options: trace, and parallel. Let us see what they do.

  • Trace: When you select Trace, the aircraft will track the subject from a fixed distance. During flight, the DJI Air 2S will automatically detect obstacles and alter its flight route whenever necessary.
  • Parallel: Activating this option, the Air 2S will track the subject from the side with a fixed angle and distance.

Other FocusTrack modes

Active Track 4.0 is not the only way that you can track a subject with your new DJI Air 2S. In the DJI Fly app, you can find two options that are useful for other situations. Let’s have a look at them.

Spotlight

In this form of follow-me mode, you will have complete control of the aircraft as it automatically tracks the subject, which is quite handy for adding a personal touch to the footage.

Spotlight is enabled by default as soon as you draw the subject on your device’s screen. The green box highlights it, much as it does in Active Track 4.0, except in this mode, the drone remains still as the subject moves. Spotlight is a hybrid mode that combines autonomous and manual flight capabilities.

The Air 2S will yaw to keep monitoring the subject in this mode, but it is entirely up to you to fly it in the subject’s direction. You may also fly around, overtake, and so on as the drone continues tracking the subject.

POI (Point of Interest)

The last tracking mode is one of the most popular, as we already enjoyed in the DJI Go app. In Point of Interest, you start by drawing a box around the subject, as in the others.

Once you have made your selection, you have to choose on which side you want the drone to fly. Tap on ‘Start’ and the aircraft will fly around the subject.

While your drone is orbiting, you can fly manually closer or farther away from the subject.

Things to Consider

The new Active Track 4.0 included in the Air 2S works better than in the Mavic Air 2. It responds more quickly and aggressively when it tries to find the subject, moving faster to do so, whereas the Active Track system on the Mavic Air 2 felt as if the drone gave up when it lost the subject.

However, as mentioned earlier, the system is far from perfect. This is due in part to the lack of an omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system.

The Air 2S has no sensors on the sides, which means that in parallel mode it could run against obstacles without noticing them, causing the aircraft to crash.  

Here is a list of some of the precautions that you should take when flying Air 2S in FocusTrack:

  • Active Track 4.0 and AirSense: Keep in mind that AirSense will not work if you are using Active Track 4.0. As a result, you are responsible for being aware of any manned or unmanned aircraft in the area.
  • Crashing against branches:  Air 2S does a decent job of following a subject between trees most of the time, as many YouTubers demonstrate on the Google platform. The drone, however, collided with some branches in several videos, as shown in the one below.

    Keep in mind that DJI instructs users not to use Active Track with objects such as tree branches or power lines in the Air 2S manual.

  • Objects around the drone: As the DJI Air 2S does not include an omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system, there are certain blind spots for the drone.

    It is your responsibility to make sure you don’t crash into objects that the drone cannot see.
  • Take manual control if necessary: If you see your drone going to crash, take control as soon as possible. Press ‘Flight Pause’ or tap ‘stop’ in the DJI Fly app.
  • Be extra vigilant in these situations: There are certain situations in which you should be extra careful when controlling your Air 2S. These are a few:
    • When the tracked subject is not moving on a level plane.
    • When the tracked subject changes shape abruptly while moving.
    • When the tracked subject is out of the drone’s sight for an extended period.
    • When the tracked subject is moving on a snowy surface.
    • When the tracked subject has a similar color or pattern to its surrounding environment.
    • In extremely low lighting conditions.
  • Follow the law: Make sure to follow the law at all times while using Active Track 4.0 or any of the intelligent flight modes based on Focus Track.
  • Best objects to track: DJI recommends that you track vehicles, boats, and people (but not children). Always fly with caution when tracking humans.
  • Do not track: Tracking RC cars or boats is not recommended by the manufacturer. Think twice before doing it.
  • Automatic subject swapping: If you are tracking a moving subject, such as a person, and he or she passes by another individual, the system may automatically change the tracking subject to the other person.

That will do it for today, pilot! Have you found this article interesting? There is plenty more on Droneblog to keep you obsessed with drones like we are.

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Photo by Simon from Pexels (link)