Drones have come a long way since the early days. But even though they now have some of the most advanced features, drone users will always want more. DJI finally responded to their customers’ requests by releasing an SDK update. And it’s probably the best thing that has happened to drone users whose drones will benefit from the update.
So, what is the SDK update, and how does it work?
The Android Mobile SDK (software development kit) will make the DJI Mini 2, DJI Air 2S, Mini SE, and Matrice 300 RTK compatible with third-party apps. As a result, features that were impossible, such as the Follow Me in the Mini 2, can now be programmed into the drones without interfering with other drone processes.
Please keep reading to learn more about this update and how to get the most out of it.
What is the DJI Mobile SDK?
SDK stands for Software Development Kit, and it gives developers access to a drone company’s technology or code, allowing them to extend a drone’s functionality. SDKs make it easier to extend the drone’s functionality since they’ll take care of main functions such as drone communication, flight stabilization, battery management, etc., and you can focus on the main features you want to add to the drone.
DJI released the Android Mobile SDK update on December 29, 2021. And thanks to this update, the DJI Mini 2, Mini SE, Air 2S, and Matrice 300 RTK will now be compatible with third-party apps like Litchi and DroneLink.
Unfortunately, iOS users will have to wait since there isn’t an iOS version of the SDK update yet.
Below are the main features that the SDK comes with.
- Support for Super Resolution mode, ActiveTrack, pinpoint, LookAt, and RTK Maintaining Positioning Accuracy.
- For the DJI Mavic Mini 2 – Take off without GPS
- ZenMuse L1 – IMU Preheat status
- Support for flight control flight logs
- Support for Android 11 and 12 Adaptation
- Error code for MSDK
- Error code for WayPoint Mission
- Fixed Various crash bugs
DJI Mini 2 Active Track
I am a big fan of the DJI Mini 2. It’s small, light, and packs excellent features that allow it to be used as both a professional drone and a hobby drone. It’s perfect as a hobby drone since it weighs less than 250g, which means that you don’t have to register it.
However, to make the DJI Mini 2 a sub-250 grams drone with advanced features, DJI had to omit obstacle avoidance sensors and the Follow Me feature.
If you’ve come across any of my posts about the DJI Mini 2, you’ll realize that I had always wished it had the Follow Me feature, and many other drone users shared that hope. And thanks to the latest update, this feature might be possible.
Now, DJI didn’t really add this feature. What they did was make the Mini 2 compatible with third-party apps like Litchi, and these apps have more features (including Follow Me) compared to the standard DJI app.
|Note: The SDK, or the third-party apps, don’t add obstacle avoidance sensors to the drone, so you need to be very careful when using ActiveTrack. Make sure you fly the drone in areas with no obstacles.|
Activating ActiveTrack for Mini 2 Using Litchi
As mentioned earlier, ActiveTrack is one of the most anticipated features of the Mini 2. And I’ve also mentioned that the SDK would be of no use if there are no third-party apps to work with.
At the time of the release of the SDK update, Litchi did not support the DJI Mini 2, but they released the Beta version a few days later, and now anyone who would like to test the Follow Me feature can do so by joining the Beta version.
Here is how you can do that:
- Access the flylitchi.com official website on your computer or mobile device.
- Scroll to the bottom, where you’ll find the Beta option. Click on it.
- On the page that appears, click on the Android version and download it.
Litchi costs roughly $25, but considering all the features it adds to your drone, that one-time cost is totally worth it.
Other features that Litchi provides include:
- Still images
The Rainbow App
This is another app you can use to try the ActiveTrack and other extra features on your DJI Mini 2. Unlike the Litchi App, the Rainbow app has a free trial where you get up to 5 tries. If you uninstall the app and install it again, the counter starts again. I’m not sure how long the app will give you the five tries for every install, but enjoy it while it lasts.
The Flying Experience
As you can see in the videos below, both Litchi and Rainbow apps work pretty well in following the subject. All you have to do is draw a box around the subject. Now you don’t need hacks to make the drone follow you, and you don’t have to buy a new drone to enjoy these features.
There’s an issue with the DJI Air 2S
I’ve seen how the Litchi and Rainbow apps work on the DJI Mini 2, and they presumably work on the DJI Mini SE. However, there’s an issue with the DJI Air 2S.
Apparently, a bug in the SDK prevents the gimbal from functioning as it should, especially when in Waypoints mode. Litchi acknowledged this in response to a YouTuber who experienced the same issue.
Here is their exact response:
DroneLink also acknowledged this bug when listing their current limitations for the DJI Mavic Mini 2, Mini SE, and Air 2S. For now, all you can do is set the gimbal to a specific angle and make sure the point of interest is captured at all times as we wait for the bug to be fixed.
More limitations of the DroneLink App
Below are more issues to expect when using DroneLink with these three drones:
- The app may keep crashing, especially when you’re changing the video resolution on the DroneLink app. You can avoid this by controlling the camera settings through the DJI Fly App.
- Airdata and DroneLogbook will also not work with these drones.
Does The DJI Mini 2 Have SDK?
Yes. Thanks to a recent update, DJI’s SDK is now compatible with the Mini 2.
How to download the DJI SDK?
If you’re a developer and would like to develop some apps for your DJI drone, all you have to do is access the DJI developer’s site and create your account. You’ll then have an option to download the respective SDK version.
Remember, the SDK is designed for developers. Hobbyists and consumers who use the front end of a drone don’t have to download it.
Things to keep in mind
Since you’re using third-party apps, which will mostly be in beta versions for some time, you may void your warranty if these apps cause a crash or damage to your drone. So, be careful when using these apps, as we hope that DJI will update the warranties regarding the SDK.
And there you have it. This update is just a few weeks old at the time of writing this, so several third-party apps may still not be compatible with the Mini 2, Mavic Air 2S, or the mini SE, but with time, they will. If you’ve had the chance to try these apps, or have found other apps, feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.