DJI Air 2S Obstacle Avoidance [Tips and Tricks]

Modern drones are frequently equipped with advanced obstacle avoidance technologies. These devices are critical for keeping your drones safe while acting as an extra set of eyes in the sky. Obstacle avoidance systems are virtually 360° on most recent consumer drones in the upper price range. The DJI Air 2S obstacle avoidance system provides a very robust framework for keeping your drones safe.

The DJI Air 2S obstacle avoidance system includes forward, backwards, downward, and upward sensors, as well as a downward auxiliary light of a single LED for landing. It can detect obstacles up to 28.6 m away.

The obstacle avoidance system is disabled in sport mode. It is available in normal mode and is most effective when the lighting and environment are sufficient for obstacle detection.

DJI has created this drone with the creator and photographer in mind. The obstacle avoidance system also has an advanced pilot assistance system to keep you safe.

What type of obstacle avoidance does Air 2S have?

The DJI Air 2S has a sophisticated obstacle avoidance system that features various sensors, including precision binocular vision and time-of-flight measurement utilising infrared radiation.

The drone can detect in all directions other than to the left or right of the drone.

The full rundown of the sensing system is shown in the table below.

Sensing system

This table will tell you everything you need to know about the sensing system available on the DJI air 2S. It includes the measurement range, effective sensing speed and field of view.

ForwardPrecision Measurement Range: 0.38-23.8 m Effective Sensing Speed: ≤15 m/s Field of View (FOV): 72° (horizontal), 58° (vertical)
BackwardPrecision Measurement Range: 0.37-23.4 m Effective Sensing Speed: ≤12 m/s Field of View (FOV): 57° (horizontal), 44° (vertical)
DownwardToF Measurement Range: 0.1-8 m Hovering Range: 0.5-30 m Vision Sensor Hovering Range: 0.5-60 m
Left/RightN/A
UpwardPrecision Measurement Range: 0.34-28.6 m Field of View (FOV): 63° (horizontal), 78° (vertical)
Downward Auxiliary LightSingle LED

The sensing system is certainly more than enough for most photographers and videographers. I started my drone flying journey with the DJI Mavic Air, which has no left or right sensors. I have found that I rarely need to rely on the senses as long as I keep a visual line of sight of the drone.

While flying, I have mostly received warnings from the forward and backward-facing sensors as I zoom in and out of a particular framing.

The DJI Air 2S obstacle avoidance system also includes an advanced pilot assistance system 4.0.

Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems 4.0

This system is available in normal mode. In this mode the aircraft continues to respond to user command and plans its path according to both stick control and the flight environment. The advanced pilot assistance system will make it easier to avoid obstacles, attain smoother footage and gives a much better flying experience for beginner pilots and those who are distracted during their flight.

When moving the drone forward and backwards the aircraft will avoid obstacles by flying above, below, or around the obstacle.

In this mode, you can stop the drone by pressing the pause button on the remote controller or tapping stop in the DJI fly app.

The advanced pilot assistance system is disabled when using intelligent flight modes and recording at high resolutions above 2.7 K. So, you cannot rely on it at all times.

You should be extra cautious when flying in extremely dark or extremely bright environments and ensure that you have a strong GPS signal.

The advanced pilot assistance system may not work when flying over water or snow-covered areas and when the aircraft is flying near a Geo locked zone.

Setting bypass or brake

In the advanced pilot safety system, you can change the aircraft’s response to obstacles. You can set the obstacle avoidance to bypass or break when it comes to an obstacle.

This setting is found under system settings and safety and flight assistance.

The aircraft cannot fly left or right if the sideways flight option is disabled and will break or go above or below the obstacle.

Turning off the obstacle avoidance system

It is not advisable that you turn off the obstacle avoidance system in the air 2S.

However, I have turned off my obstacle avoidance sensors if I want to fly close to a tree branch for cinematic effect. I always make sure that I turn on the sensors after I have completed my mission as they have saved me a number of times from running into trees and other obstacles that I missed.

The downward system is not as good when flying over certain surfaces

Vision and infrared systems are only useful in specific situations. The downward vision system may not function effectively when the aircraft is flying over water or at too high a speed.

It would help if you did not fly over any of the following surfaces:

  • a single colour – black, white, or any other colour
  • highly reflective surfaces
  • water and other transparent surfaces
  • hovering over moving objects or surfaces
  • Flying over small-surface-area obstacles like tree branches and cables
  • floating over tiles or other surfaces with repeated textures
  • mirrors or other objects that strongly reflect or absorb infrared energy.

Extra caution is advised when flying over any of these surfaces.

Obstacle avoidance during return to home

The return to home function will return your drone to its last known home point and GPS coordinates. When the GPS signal is strong, you can perform a smart return to home, which will guide your drone back to the takeoff spot in a straight route.

Smart return to home, low battery return to home, and failsafe return to home are the three varieties of return to home. If you are less than 50 m away from the GPS home point it will fly back at the current altitude. If you are further away, the drone will try its best to avoid obstacles using its obstacle avoidance system.

The aircraft will sense obstacles and ascend 5 m, while flying forward, to try to manoeuvre around the obstacle.

No operation will occur when an obstacle is sensed from behind while flying forward.

The drone will break and stay in place if the obstacle is sensed from below while flying forward. It will ascend 5 m before continuing flying.

You must set a suitable return to the home altitude before each flight. The return to altitude default height is 100 m. This height is more than enough to stay clear of most trees.

Caring for the Air 2S Obstacle Avoidance system

Keep the sensors clean and don’t mess with them or try to alter them. If you’re flying in an area with dust or humidity, you should wipe the sensors’ glass as soon as possible. Avoid areas where there is a lot of dust, or there is a lot of dampness.

If the goggles encourage you to do so after an accident, you must calibrate the cameras. Regular calibration of the obstacle avoidance system, on the other hand, will ensure that your drone remains as safe as possible.

Before each flight, you should check for stickers or other obstructions over the infrared sensing system or other visual systems.

Use a delicate cloth to clean the systems, and avoid using any cleanser that contains alcohol since this might cause the sensors’ surface to get hazy.

Contact DJI support if you have any problems or if the infrared sensing system or vision detection system glass has been damaged.

Summary

In this article, we have discussed the DJI Air 2S obstacle avoidance system, and everything you need to know about is operation and care.

Relying solely on the sensors for safety is a bad idea, and you should always use a visual line of sight and good flight preparation to stay as safe as possible.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones. His favourite is still the DJI Mavic Air for the portability and functionality packed into a small and portable drone!