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DJI Avata for Law Enforcement

Over the years, drones have been more frequently used in various sectors, including law enforcement. These are usually the larger consumer or enterprise drones such as the Mavic and Matrice drone series.

How about FPV drones such as the newly released DJI Avata? Can law enforcement use Avata?

The DJI Avata is durable and fast and features a high-quality camera and transmission system, making it a viable choice for indoor tactical missions in law enforcement.

Please keep reading to learn more about how the Avata is applicable to law enforcement missions, its drawbacks, and how it compares to similar drones already in the market.

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Why would law enforcement need to use FPV drones?

According to Tim Martin, Director of UAS Training at The Regional Training Center[1] and former police officer, FPV drones are a great way to clear a building before law enforcement can enter.

Many police officers have died or been injured trying to go into a building housing fugitives.

FPV drones could be a safer way of going about it by first scouting the rooms before the officers enter and offering further surveillance during the operation.

FPV drones are also helpful in surveilling smaller areas such as attics, tunnels, basements, etc., where it would be risky for officers to go in or where a larger drone wouldn’t help.

FPV drones can be fitted with powerful cameras and transmission systems to relay high-definition footage to the controller in real-time.

Some indoor FPV tactical drones already available include:

  • Loki MKII
  • Shield AI Nova
  • Lemur S

What makes the DJI Avata good for law enforcement missions?

Below are the reasons Avata could be a viable addition to law enforcement operations.

Ease of use

Compared to traditional FPV drones, the DJI Avata is quite easy to use.

It comes in three modes:

  1. Normal
  2. Sport
  3. Manual

A beginner can comfortably fly in Normal and Sport Modes and get work done.

Once you are comfortable flying in these modes, you can modify the controller and start flying in Manual Mode.

Avata even comes with a simulator that allows you to practice flying it, giving you a feel of how the drone flies in real life.

Also, unlike other FPV drones, where you must buy separate parts and assemble, customize, or even program, Avata comes ready to fly right out of the box.

This makes it useful for those needing the drone up in a few seconds.


Another reason Avata would be great for law enforcement missions is its durability.

Like most Cinewhoops, it is small, light, and features propeller guards.

If it bumps into something, it will most likely keep flying since the propellers will not be touched, and its lightweight design minimizes the impact.

This drone also features a Turtle Mode, which allows it to back to an upright position in case it is inverted after a crash or when you mess up the controls.

If it got inverted in the house and you have no way of getting to it and inverting it to the appropriate position, this feature would be handy.

Powerful camera and robust transmission

Most traditional FPV drones come with a substandard camera; you must attach a third-party camera to get usable footage.

While you can add a third-party camera to Avata, its built-in camera is good enough to give you high-quality real-time footage.

Avata films in 4K at 60 fps, which is good enough for filming projects, but transmits live footage at 1080p at 100 fps and 60 fps with 30 MS and 40 MS latency, respectively.

This is a way higher transmission quality than you will get with most FPV drones, thanks to the newest DJI transmission system, the OcuSync 03+.

This transmission system provides a range of up to 6 miles, which will be strong enough for short-range flights.

Flight time

Most FPV drones will give you a maximum flight time of 10 minutes, but Avata is advertised to last up to 18 minutes.

While you will mostly get 15 minutes of flight time, it’s still a lot of time to quickly scan through a building or tunnel and fly back before the battery runs out.

If you have several batteries, you can always make several trips.

Manual Mode

One of the reasons regular drones would not work as indoor tactical drones is that they rely on GPS for stabilization and have obstacle avoidance. This makes them difficult to fly indoors.

Avata is stripped of those features except for altitude hold in Normal and Sport Modes.

In Manual Mode, the pilot stabilizes the drone, and no sensors will hinder the drone’s flight in a tight environment.


Compared to drones like the Loki MKII or the Shield AI Nova indoor tactical drones, the DJI Avata is more accessible to law enforcement agencies due to its pricing.

For instance, the Loki MKII costs slightly less than $10,000, while you can get a ready-to-fly package of the DJI Avata for less than $2,000, and it will get the work done.

While it may not have upgraded features such as night vision, built-in microphones, and advanced indoor stabilization technologies such as LiDAR like the Loki MkII or the Lemur S, if it came down to a choice of whether to send the officers in blind or send a cheap drone first, it would be better to use the available drone.

DJI Avata’s drawbacks

Avata is not all perfect for law enforcement, and below are some of the reasons why.


Avata’s noise level ranges from 76 to 86 decibels, which is quite loud. This makes it impractical for missions that need stealth.

Can’t see in the dark

Avata lacks night-vision or thermal cameras, making it difficult to see in the dark.

Some users argued that you could add a light to it to see in the dark, which makes the drone even more recognizable in missions where police officers want to go undetected.

Difficult to repair

While Avata is easy to use, it’s also difficult to repair or modify.

For most traditional FPV drones, you can quickly get a new part to replace the damaged part at a lower cost, but with Avata, you may have to replace the whole drone or send the drone back to the manufacturer, which isn’t always cheap.

A crash caused by unapproved modifications could also void your warranty.

1. Tim Martin, Director of UAS Training at The Regional Training Center (link)