DJI Air 2S Active Track vs Skydio 2: Tested & Footage!
com here and save a complete autonomous tracking comparison and review between the skydio 2 and the dji air 2s. Now this video is not about all the other features. Those are important. I don’t really care about those for this particular video. If you want to see that video it’s up in the corner there, this video is all about tracking and in particular, solo tracking. So how well do these drones track me, autonomously, while i’m out riding my bike or running or whatever the heck may be now? What makes this test interesting is that both these units are priced at 9.99. Now, while i’ve got plenty of experience on both of these drones from a tracking standpoint for this test, we’re going to do a back to back the exact same course exact same route, the exact same conditions back to back with both drones to see how well they Perform the test is gon na start out on this open field right here to make sure everything’s all good and then from there up a slight rise around the corner of this building and then down this tree line path. And this is where things will get tricky and i’m gon na go as long as the drones. Let me go um and then i’ll turn around and come back and and try to get back to the same starting point. Uh, hopefully on one autonomous test run now the case of the air 2s, because it does require your controller to go with you i’m.
Using this 20 mount, i bought. I actually just posted a review on this. A couple weeks ago, uh it’s been working fine for me, like for 20 bucks, it’s, good stuff um in the case of skydio i’m, just using the drone to throw my phone um on the mount because it’s handy, but you don’t actually need the phone on the Mount you can throw it in your pocket. I do that later on in the video as well, but just to kind of clarify what mounts and what products i’m using now, because this is a newer video, probably mostly interested in why the air 2s is different. I’M. Going to give it to you like in a couple seconds here, essentially, the air 2s has active track 4.0, which are the latest tracking technologies and that’s built on apas, 3.0 apa standing for the advanced pilot assistant system, which is basically the obstacle avoidance system in the Drone itself and it’s going to use all of its sensors, in particular its new upwards facing sensors. To do that now. The air 2s has four sets of sensors on the front. You have the forward facing sensors just like before, and then on the front upper edge. You have the upwards facing centers on the back. You have rearward facing sensors and the bottom. You have downwards facing sensors. Those bottom sensors are primarily used for ground avoidance, as well as when it gets close to the ground to track the ground as opposed to using gps.
There are, however, no side sensors here, so it’s not going to theoretically go side to side directly without avoiding something, but has some tricks up its sleeve that we’ll see so that it doesn’t try to hit trees directly on the side. Meanwhile, on the skydio2 it’s got seven sensors in total there’s three on the top uh one on each wing and then one in the center of the body and then, when you flip it over, there are three more on the bottom. There you see these cameras uh and then on the very front, there’s also the front camera as well. That is used for the actual filming with that let’s get these things up in the air and by the way, definitely not sponsored by any company here. Okay, so here we are out here with the air 2 s up in the air. Already i got a up position there. You can see, on the left hand, side there, that little green icon that indicates that apas is on uh. If you switch over to sport mode, you’ll notice that sport mode obstacle avoidance now turns off, we don’t want that because i don’t want to hit any trees so that red icon left hand side there back to normal mode. You’Ll see it there and if we go up and look at apa’s settings itself, you’ll see under safety at the very top. We have it on bypass, meaning it should, in theory, go around a tree as opposed to just stopping in front of it or turning it off entirely.
So with that, all we have to do is simply highlight myself, so you can see right there. I am now highlighted it sees me. I will choose actor track and i’m going to choose parallel, which tells it to keep it off the side of me and then tap go. It is simple as that, except to remember to go ahead and hit the record button. I really don’t understand why that’s not automatic just seems kind of obvious to me that that should be like an automatic sort of thing so down the bottom. You see 4k. 30. uh. If we try to change that to 5k uh 504k, it will go ahead and disable. I won’t work in that mode there and now we’re ready to roll, so we’re going to go up. This little stretch right here just kind of slowly and then i’ll get at full speed. Gon na go around a small little like a pump station building thing you’ll see it there we go and i’m just gon na. Let it do what it wants to do here. So, in theory, i’m supposed to stay off to my side, uh we’ll see what happens in just a second and it’s. It says the spot’s too narrow, it’s it’s only as narrow as you you make it my friend by the way, just to show you what it’s. Looking at right now and uh that’s what i stopped at so what i wanted to do was to be over here highlight myself there we go actor track parallel and go, and now let’s see how all this works there we go now.
The goal here is that it tracks me without hitting the trees which are in between me and it we may try the trace from behind here once we get going, but let’s get a little tight there and the problem is if it hits something here. There’S, a moderate chance it’s going to end up in the canal, which, oh nay, hey little buddy, no don’t go back that way. Yeah it’s not it’s, not working very well, not gon na lie here, so let’s try trace instead, okay, it sees me active track, trace and go so this will tell it to basically follow behind me as opposed to off the side, which should be easier in theory. Here but we’ll have to see, got things to avoid, but at this juncture it’s better than off the side, you can see it’s doing fairly well it’s keeping itself out of the trees up. Above there sorry i’ve heard my jacket rattling, it’s windy, obviously because i’m riding so far, so good, though now in trace mode. I think i see someone up ahead so i’m gon na have to have it move out of the way when i get a bit closer. Okay and a quick note, if you’re, finding this video, ancient or useful entertaining or something like that, simply whack that, like button at the bottom there, it really helps up the video in the channel quite a bit in case you’re, curious by the way, whether or not Zoom works, it does work in active track mode.
This is potentially useful if you want to pull it out. Quite a bit further, obviously you’re losing resolution. When you do that, but you know it’s an option. Okay, we are all clear, see how it gets itself back into the trace mode. There nice it popped itself through the trees good to go. Okay. This point i’m gon na turn around and see if it’ll follow, whoa hello, little buddy. That was a little bit close don’t, you think. Did you see me active, track, trace and go so it lost me there for a second, but now it’s got me again so at this point, we’re just gon na fast forward, a bunch because, frankly, it’s kind of boring to watch uh and it tracks just fine. This entire direction through uh, as long as it’s in the trees kind of behind me or out of the trees off the side, it’s tracking, no problems at all, except right here when i go to stop what are you doing? Buddy i’m over here that’s a tree it’s a poor, no dude, no back over here. What was that all about a little drunk – and this is the exact same thing that happened just a few minutes ago. When i stop, it just simply decides to run into me and i’m, not stopping that fast by the way, i’m just kind of like rolling to a stop there. We go after track parallel now, you’ll notice, it’s flying slightly behind me, as opposed to directly to my side.
What it’s doing here is compensating for the lack of sideways optical avoidance sensors by flying slightly behind me, it’s able to keep the aircraft in a bit of an angle and use these frontward sensors to detect what’s going on slightly to the side of it, as well As in front of it it’s an interesting little trick, they started doing on the original mavic air, 2 and it’s carried through to the 2s as well. A little unclear what’s going to happen up here. Let this guy go past the car on the bike path which isn’t really ideal but you’re stopping here. I guess so. Jerome got a freebie see what happens here. We’Ll go around this tree through this tree. If we get itself – oh, nay, that’s, not good. Now i know it might look sunny out here right now, but it snowed this morning, nice, cold, cold, that’s, cold. Now obviously, after that happened, i went back to dji and i gave them all the footage and everything and they in turn took that from the pr media team to their engineering team and they looked at it and they came back to me and said it’s. The way it works and yeah so here’s, the exact quote on the screen right there and what they’re essentially saying one bit there is that, as you got closer, the trees entered into the front sensor detection range, but the drone was traveling too fast or was too Close to the object already for it respond accordingly.
So what they’re saying is when it saw the tree, it said, shrug but here’s the thing i don’t think it’s all the tree. I think there’s an issue with the centers because normally when it sees something it puts orange in the upper edges, and it never did that here versus other times when it sees things, it shows the orange where the actual obstacle is. They then go on to say that there’s an option there that i can turn off sideways tracking to reduce this sort of thing. However, that does not explain the cases where it nearly flew straight into me, nor does it explain the cases where it flew straight into trees, straight on and not sideways tracking, for which i have plenty of those over the last week and i’m betting that, once you Enable active track or master shots which increases the processing power required by the unit itself, it’s losing some of the processing power allocated to obstacle avoidance, because in all the testing i’ve done, if i’m flying without active track or master shots, it sees the objects it avoids. The objects, if i’m flying with either those two things, it sees the objects and it hits the object straight on almost every single time. I yeah i’m, not sure what to say it is what it is. Let’S switch over to scotty at this point: okay, i’m. Gon na get myself tagged so on the scadio it’s. As simple as that, i literally just tap myself.
It sees me as an object to track i’m going to tell it to get on my right hand, side, which is where i want it. There we go and i’m going to increase the range a little bit so move forward, so it sees that’s my right hand, side there. We go now knows that’s my right hand. Side perfect, like i said i’m gon na increase the range a bit because that’s, where i want it to be out i’m. Also gon na increase the height slightly there it’s a little bit finickier in terms of controls on this uh, because the fact that it is the phone controls now right now it’s in front of me, but once i start moving it’ll slide to the right. As you can see right there, it looks like we’re all clear all the way down here and there we go it’s to the right so skydio two here we go remember before on the air 2s on this churn. It lost me so doing the exact same kind of positioning as the air 2s, except now. It’S got itself off to the side there, exactly where i originally wanted the air 2s to be – and you can see so far so good on avoiding the trees. Sorry again for my jacket, i thought about changing and taking off the jacket, but i wanted to keep things identical from a color standpoint, contrast between the two units, so you can see at this point no issues it’s cruising along just where i wanted.
The previous test run to be what i’ll do up here is i’ll, have a pot behind me and we’ll uh see how well this does i’m, not even gon na stop i’m. Just gon na show you what i can pull off here so wan na go behind me let’s, see when it doesn’t, so i was trying to find an opportunity to do it. Hasn’T found that opportunity yet we’ll. Do it on the way back though don’t worry. This is actually the turnaround spot right here, so same spot as we used before we’ll turn around and have a track from behind we’ll see if it can slide its way through. Here there we go little guy, and this is where you can start to see. Sort of the depth and impressiveness of the skydio2 on this skydeal platform at large, with all the sensors it has on there, uh it’s, clearly built for this sort of thing. Now, just like the air 2s, this portion is pretty boring as well, because it’s working just fine, so we’re going to fast forward here as well to get up to the good stuff, which is, of course, the same portion that the air to us crashed so i’m. Going to tell it now that i can go out and find the right side there let’s see it do that i’m going to slow down a little bit like before last time, let it find its spot to go out to the trees.
I love doing this with this drone it’s, so fun to watch it swerve these trees just give it a second and we’ll be like boom out. I go almost come on, go out there. Little guy there we go come on that’s cool. You know that’s cool, all right and then we’re making the turn right here, just like before that’s the tree at kerplunk. So this thing clearly went wide around it. Smart move and won’t lose me well there’s me: oh, it almost hit the bottom of the tree or top of the tree or bottom of the top of the tree whatever, and we got ourselves back home, see that’s how it’s done now, let’s let’s take it back Inside and talk about this because it’s not as straightforward as you think uh, despite the fact that we lost a drone and it’s not as straightforward as i’ll, explain in just a second okay with both of those tests complete, you may be saying yourself well, the winner Is obviously skydio and yes, when it comes to tracking that is true, except the word tracking is kind of a little bit mixed, so tracking actually means tracking and obstacle avoidance from an obstacle avoidance standpoint that’s, actually, where the dji drone failed. In fact, over the last, while when the air 2s didn’t have anything to avoid the actual footage was great, for example, this other section right here, i went like three or four minutes non stop before i eventually ran on a road uh, and it looked really really Nice as i went behind trees and all that kind of stuff tracking wise, no problems at all, but ultimately, all that cinematography tracking prowess means nothing if it can’t avoid the obstacles, which is the entire point of the sensors.
It also means nothing if your drone ends up in the canal. That said, this is a good time to point out that dji drone isn’t the only one to end up in the canal. This little guy’s brother also ended up in the canal. In fact, a week after the scotia 2 released its friend due to a bug end up in the canal, in fact, it’s still out there in the canal waiting for someone to go pick it up just like the air 2s is still out there in the canal, Because this actually isn’t the air 2s, this is the air 2, with extra props on it. The r2s is still in the canal as well. So in this case, this audio they issued a firmware update for the drone within about a week, which is pretty impressive. To fix that bug in the case of dji, they say they’re working towards improving the software and the hardware, but there’s no particular time frame for when they might kind of sort. These sort of things out the challenge you have, if you’re trying to make a decision that these drones are very different. This is a sports tracking drone. It is really good a sports tracking drone, but not very good at anything else. If you look at the dji drone, it is very, very good at everything else, but not terribly great, at sports tracking and ultimately, our recognition is pretty darn simple, if you’re all into sports tracking – and you just can use it primarily for sports tracking go with skadio That’S the best option out there.
If, however, you’re primarily using it for everything else with a little bit of sports tracking, then this is probably a better drone. Just simply got ta be more careful with it, so you don’t end up in the drink with that. Thanks for watching go ahead, and let that, like button, the bottom there or check out all my full reviews and other videos and stuff on both these drones linked somewhere on the screen, you’ll find it have a good one. Oh and i’ll leave you here with this video. The second run i did towards the end full sand full speed on that same tree turn with the skadio just because i was feeling bad for myself about losing a Music drone Music.