Does the DJI Mini 3 Pro have return to home?

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is a fantastic drone that packs a wide variety of features into a very small form factor. Not only does it have an excellent camera, but it also has all of the automatic flight modes that DJI users have come to love and expect.

Return to home is one of these important flight functions that will keep your drone safe and allow you to fly confidently.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro has a return to home function that brings the aircraft back to the last recorded home point when the positioning system is functioning normally. There are three return to home modes: smart: low battery, and failsafe return to home.

When the return to home function is initiated, the drone will automatically fly back and land at the home point.

You can manually trigger the return to home, or the smart return to home is initiated when the drone enters a low battery or the signal between the remote controller and the aircraft is lost.

You no longer have to worry about flyaways when the GPS home point is securely and accurately pinpointed. Return to home will also be triggered in abnormal scenarios where the video transmission is lost.

Home point definition

The home point of the DJI Mini 3 Pro is the first location where the aircraft receives a strong to moderately strong (GNSS) GPS signal.

It is highly recommended that you wait until the home point is successfully recorded before flying.

After the home point has been successfully locked, a prompt will appear in the DJI fly app.

You can always update the home point before takeoff as long as the aircraft continues to receive a strong GPS signal.

If the signal is weak, the home point will not be updated.

However, if you want to update the home point during a flight, the home point can be manually updated in the safety of system settings on the DJI fly app.

Where to update the home point during your flight

Smart return to home

If the GPS signal is sufficiently strong, smart return to home can be used to bring the aircraft back to the recorded home point.

The smart return to home is initiated by tapping the hardware button on the remote control or by pressing the return to the home button in the DJI fly app.

You must keep an eye on the drone as it is returning home and, if you must, you can exit smart return to home by tapping the X in the DJI fly app or by pressing the return to home button again on the remote control.

Low battery return to home

The low battery return to home on the DJI Mini 3 Pro is triggered when the intelligent flight battery is depleted to the point where the aircraft may not be able to return to the home point safely.

To avoid DJI Mini 3 Pro is constantly determining whether the current battery level is sufficient for returning to the home point. It is calculating it based on the current location and battery level.

Should the drone think that you need to return home, a warning prompt will appear in the app when the battery level is low and only enough to complete a return to home straight line flight.

The drone pilot can choose to cancel the return to home by pressing the return to home button on the remote control.

However, if you cancel the return to home on a low battery warning, you may not be able to fly back to the home point and therefore lose or crash your drone.

I never ignore the low battery return to home warning as it is the only thing ensuring that my drone can return safely. This morning is particularly important if you cannot land near your current location, such as when flying over water.

Auto landing

If the battery level gets too low, the aircraft will land automatically if the current battery level can only support the aircraft long enough to descend from its current altitude to the landing spot.

Auto landing cannot be cancelled, but the remote controller can be used to alter the drone’s position and the descent’s speed.

During auto landing the drone will find appropriate place to land by moving horizontally and using its downward facing sensors. The aircraft will crash if the user keeps pushing the throttle stick upwards into the power is depleted.

The drone will fall out of the sky once the battery level reaches a critical point.

Failsafe return to home

If the DJI Mini 3 Pro loses remote control signal or live video feed it will enter failsafe return to home.

You have three seconds before the drone returns to home if the remote control signal and connection is lost.

Obstacle avoidance during return to home

During the return to home the DJI Mini 3 Pro will use its obstacle avoidance to stay out of trouble and avoid collisions.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro detecting obstacles

While the aircraft is ascending

If the aircraft is ascending and it detects an obstacle, it will fly away until it determines it is safe to continue climbing.

When the aircraft is flown forward

During the return to home the drone will point towards the home point and continue in a straight line.

It will break if an obstacle is sensed from the front and will fly backwards until a distance is reached that is deemed safe to continue.

If an obstacle is sensed from below the aircraft will break and ascend into there is no more obstacles sensed below it before continuing.

Does the DJI Mini 3 Pro have precision landing?

Many previous DJI drones have had the option for precision landings. However the DJI Mini 3 Pro has not yet had this feature.

With the current firmware there is no support for precision landing for the DJI Mini 2 Pro. In a future firmware maybe there will add that function.

Instead, DJI have offered landing protection.

Landing protection

The DJI Mini 3 Pro has the ability to determine whether or not the ground is suitable for landing before landing gently.

If the ground is determined unsuitable for landing, the drone will hover in place and wait for the pilot confirmation before descending further.

If the landing protection is not operational the fly app will display a landing prompt when it reaches half a metre from the ground. Pushing the throttle stick downwards for one second will cause the drone to land.

Important warnings about return to home for the DJI Mini 3 Pro:

Here are some important warnings that you need to know about the DJI Mini 3 Pro return to home feature:

  • during return to home obstacles on the side of the aircraft cannot be detected or avoided.
  • The aircraft will not return to the home point is the GPS signal is weak or unavailable.
  • The drone may enter manual mode (ATTI) if the signal becomes unavailable after entering failsafe return to home.
  • Please set a suitable return to home altitude before each flight. I set it to 60 m and have not had an issue.
  • During the return to home the speed and altitude of the aircraft can be controlled by using the remote controller. However, the drone cannot be moved to the left or to the right.
  • You can exit the return to home by pushing the control stick in the completely opposite direction and the aircraft will stop and hover in place.
  • Geo zones will affect the return to home and the drone will not enter Geo zones.
  • When windspeed is too high the aircraft may not be able to return to the home point. Fly with caution if you are flying in high winds.

Wrapping up

This article has covered everything you need to know about the DJI Mini 3 Pro and its return to home features.

The return to home feature has saved me several times from having to fly back manually and has helped me return quickly when I have accidentally run my batteries too low.

Learning how to use it and get out of return to home will be something that you will want to learn to ensure that your drone stays safe while flying.

 

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!