Skydio 2 vs Mavic 3: Obstacle Avoidance Testing Video

Just a quick note for those that don’t follow along on YouTube, that I’ve published the first of two videos looking at the Skydio 2 vs the Mavic 3. For those in the sports action tracking realm, the Skydio drones have always led the way in terms of not just tracking you autonomously, but also avoiding all the stuff in the way (trees, buildings, trees, and more trees). It does this using half a dozen onboard cameras to determine what’s a viable flight path, versus what’s a trip to the broken drone bin. I’ve reviewed it in the past here.

Meanwhile, DJI drones have always been fantastic at cinematography, but rarely great at tracking you autonomously. And when they were, they’d usually let you down by flying into a tree and then crashing into a canal. Or flying into a sign, and crashing next to the canal. Either way, crashing was eventually a large part of it.

But with the new Mavic 3, they’ve finally added full 360° obstacle avoidance, which in theory means it’ll be harder to crash. No drone is perfect here of course (even the Skydio), but DJI thinks they’ve cracked the code this time around. Obviously, I set out to validate that.

Now – there’s one itty-bitty catch: DJI launched the Mavic 3 without Active Track 5.0, or for that matter, any Active Track at all. And thus, while there’s obstacle avoidance, the Mavic 3 won’t get back its Active Track features till a January 2022 firmware update. Thus, for now I can only compare side by side with the Skydio 2 from an obstacle standpoint – which is what this video above is all about.

In any event, I’m cooking away on the Whoop 4.0 In-Depth Review for tomorrow, putting the finishing touches on it, and poking at a few final edge cases I want to test. So till then, you can check out the above video.

Or, if crazy storms and slow-mo boats are more your thing, here’s this other Mavic 3 video:

And if hearing about incomplete products that are nonetheless released to make the holidays are more your thing instead, then I suggest this one:

Once I get past some of the wearable reviews I’ll finish writing up my Mavic 3 written review, though realistically it’ll have to be heavily refreshed in January once they actually complete the product. Despite me poking (hard) at DJI for releasing such an incomplete product, the reality is that if Active Track 5.0 can be functionally as good as the DJI Air 2S, but while retaining/adding the new 360° obstacle avoidance system I test above in the Mavic 3 (with the caveats I noted), then I’d be concerned as Skydio. Sure, Skydio is clearly the leader in the autonomous space, but for 98% of users, the greater feature set of a post-January Mavic 3, if it can properly track even 75-80% as good as Skydio, will make it mostly an easy choice.

With that, plenty more soon!

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3 Comments

  1. Ronald Gurney

    Great review as always, Ray. Interesting to see how these two drone industry leaders are competing against each other with constant improvements. Look forward to your future update on these two. Drone-on, Ray.

  2. Jon

    Surely the price difference here means Skydio retains an advantage, even if/when DJI gets all the features working?

  3. Eric

    Ray, great video as always. Has the Air2s improved at all in its obstacle avoidance? First time high end drone buyer and looking for something that would be used primarily in sports tracking. The Skydio2 would seem the clear choice for activity tracking but most of the time I would need it folded up in a cycling jersey or pack.
    Does a drone exist that folds up, tracks good and have good obstacle avoidance? Or I better off just waiting until Skydio launces something that fits the bill?
    Thanks!