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Top 6 Drones With Obstacle Avoidance Technology 2024

Updated in 2024 by Paul Posea
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Tired of crashing your drone into trees, walls, and god knows what else? 

Contrary to what you see in videos, flying a drone as a beginner can be tough. And if you're not careful, one wrong move could rob you of a $500+ drone.

Luckily, there are drones out there with amazing obstacle avoidance that make flying a piece of cake, even for absolute beginners.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the best drones with obstacle-avoidance technology available today. Then, we'll rank them based on their features, performance, and overall value for money. 

We'll also dive into what obstacle avoidance technology is, how it works, and its limitations.

How does obstacle avoidance work?

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Obstacle avoidance in drones typically works by using a combination of sensors and software to detect and avoid obstacles. 

Here's a general overview of how it works:

Sensors: Drones use a variety of sensors to detect obstacles, including ultrasonic sensors, LiDAR, cameras, and radar. These sensors provide information about the drone's surroundings, such as distance, location, and speed.

1. Data Processing: Once the drone has collected data from its sensors, it uses software algorithms to process this information and create a map of its environment. This map is used to identify potential obstacles that could be in the drone's flight path.

2.Flight Planning: Using the obstacle map generated by its sensors and software, the drone plans a safe flight path that avoids any identified obstacles. This may involve adjusting the drone's altitude or direction of flight to avoid collisions.

Overall, obstacle avoidance is an essential feature for many drones as it enables them to fly safely in complex environments without human intervention or to assist the pilot in dangerous situations.

My Choice - DJI Mini 3 Pro

DJI Mini 3 Pro

My top recommendation is the DJI Mini 3 Pro, because of its exceptional tri-directional obstacle avoidance sensors and APAS 4.0 technology. This combination not only enhances flight safety but also instills greater confidence in pilots, making it a standout choice in the drone market.

  • Safety: Tri-directional sensors and APAS 4.0.
  • Portability: Weighs under 250g.
  • Camera: 1/1.3" sensor with HDR.

 Comparison Table

Drone ModelCamera QualityFlight TimeRangeKey Features
DJI Mini 3 Pro4K34 min10 kmTri-directional obstacle avoidance, f/1.7 aperture, 5.5" built-in display
DJI Mavic 3 Classic5.1K46 min15 kmOmnidirectional obstacle sensing, APAS 5.0, 4/3 CMOS Camera
DJI Mavic Air 2S5.4K31 min12 kmBinocular technology obstacle avoidance, 20MP one-inch sensor, 
DJI Mavic 35.1K46 min15 kmOmnidirectional obstacle sensing, APAS 5.0, 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.04K30 min9.6 kmFive built-in sensors, Auto-follow capabilities
Hubsan Zino Mini Pro4K40 min10 kmTri-directional collision avoidance, 3-axis gimbal, 249g weight
Autel EVO 2 Pro6K40 min15 kmTwelve computer vision sensors, Ultra-HD Sony camera
drones-ranked-by-specs.png

Best Drones With Obstacle Avoidance Technology in 2024

In this detailed review, I share my personal experiences with each drone we previously examined.

1. DJI Mini 3 Pro - Best value for money

camera-icon-spec

4k

battery-icon-spec

34 min

range-icon-spec

10 km

drone-icon-spec

GPS

DJI-Mini-Pro3

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is an impressive drone, boasting advanced features like the tri-directional obstacle avoidance sensor system and APAS 4.0 technology (Advanced Piloting Assistance System). 

APAS 4.0 is a state-of-the-art feature that, along with the obstacle avoidance sensors, helps the drone automatically detect and steer clear of obstacles in its flight path, enhancing safety and pilot confidence. 

For those considering an upgrade, the new Mini 4 Pro presents itself as a slightly pricier alternative. It builds on the capabilities of the Mini 3 Pro, offering enhanced features and performance for a more advanced drone flying experience.

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Safety
  • Camera Quality 
  • Display
  • Portability
  • Value

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Costly
  • Weather Sensitivity

Features:

Tri-Directional Obstacle Avoidance: I find the tri-directional obstacle avoidance system in the DJI Mini 3 Pro incredibly reliable. It consistently detects obstacles in front, behind, and below the drone, significantly enhancing flight safety.

Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS) 4.0: The APAS 4.0 technology is a game-changer. It seamlessly works with the obstacle sensors, automatically steering the drone away from potential hazards. Which is perfect for beginners who haven't yet developed their flying reflexes.

Camera Quality: The camera on the Mini 3 Pro is impressive. It features a 1/1.3" sensor with HDR support, dual native ISO, and an f/1.7 aperture. The large 2.4μm pixels are fantastic.

Built-in Display on Remote Controller: It comes with 5.5" built-in display on the DJI RC remote controller and supports Full HD 1080p resolution.Price Point: Considering its advanced features and capabilities, I find the DJI Mini 3 Pro to be an excellent value for money. It strikes the perfect balance between affordability and high-end drone technology.

Check out this video to see the obstacle avoidance system in action:

2. DJI Mavic 3 Classic

camera-icon-spec

5.1k

battery-icon-spec

46 min

range-icon-spec

15 km

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GPS

mavic-3-thumb

I recently had the pleasure of trying out the DJI Mavic 3 Classic, and I was thoroughly impressed. The Mavic 3 Classic was launched less than a year after the original Mavic 3 models, but there's a catch: this one is cheaper and features a single camera system.

Still, this drone packs a punch with its 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera, customized for aerial photography, capturing professional-grade shots in an incredibly compact space. In addition, the 5.1K HD video is stunning, providing sharper details

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Safety
  • Affordability
  • Camera Quality
  • 5.1K Video
  • User-Friendly

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Single Camera
  • Complexity (for beginners)

Features :

Safety Features : The Mavic 3 Classic's safety is top-notch, thanks to its omnidirectional obstacle sensing and APAS 5.0 technology. It can detect and smoothly navigate around obstacles in all directions during flight.

Affordability and High-End Collision Detection : What strikes me most about the Mavic 3 Classic is its affordability, especially considering it has a high-end collision detection system.

Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing & APAS 5.0: These features ensure safe and collision-free flights.

4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera: The camera is perfect for aerial photography, offering crisp and clear images.

5.1K HD Video: This capability allows me to capture high-quality footage, which is great for professional-grade projects.

Single Camera System: This differs from the original Mavic 3 models but still delivers excellent performance.

Check out this video to see the obstacle avoidance system in action:

Some Image Samples of DJI Mavic 3 Classic

M72 ZuqxZU4TzlX7x4CLhgAZ9ENmP9y gDwFLVICAubBQP6QxGPYdLHFlmLCD42FcI4YtAvMpiVoE16c nryNmXj4DtCe9GMDrS9S0fWF3NOeTDXClVoc3FZ0MQDJXksjzJCDMqo3eB5CpNKN6 JwA
xKvmw2cVeghI w1P5fagRYc1V4C5BvyOVE9woZggc UDHFhqOo2DzI2U6CBnPz3 1648qTHUz3H71nmszaJvvLvTs00EEhTh6pQZ7FeqGTe1HbNvqodsZgvGpP1acfNTp77RqG2u0liQDGlvsPNWw
FLstWJe05rei84KZWRSE9mR9zUSC7GvnB0xpirRjb1TRrbw0dVD6YbjdelC 6dls3UorHy1YTX3IeFv2OBULZR7IPoefstovBA4Fd2TDUcSRiozLDKFtLh0I4ph5FoLjQp Lbv3 mHdvhuqSpHY2zg

3.  DJI Mavic Air 2S

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5.4k

battery-icon-spec

31 min

range-icon-spec

12 km

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GPS

air 2s mini thumb

Don't get fooled by the name - the DJI Mavic Air 2S has more features than the Air 2. And, of course, it has an advanced sensor system that prevents crashing.

As the name says, the Air is light, portable and foldable, just like its predecessors. And in the same manner, it comes ready to fly out of the pack, allowing you to capture vivid and steady aerial shots in up to 5.4K using the 20MP one-inch sensor. Unfortunately, the sensor comes with a fixed f/2.8 aperture, one of the only downsides of the Air 2S.

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Versatility
  • Camera
  • Portability
  • Safety

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • APAS Limitations
  • Fixed Aperture

Features:

Comprehensive Obstacle Avoidance: The Air 2S impresses me with its extensive obstacle avoidance capabilities. It has sensors for detecting obstacles in all directions - front, back, upwards, and downwards

Advanced Binocular Technology: It can be noticed the binocular technology in the Air 2S is quite advanced. It can detect objects up to 28 meters away, which is quite a distance

LED Light for Landing: There's a handy LED light pointing downwards, which is very helpful for landing assistance. It adds an extra layer of safety, especially in low-light conditions.

Camera Quality: The 20MP one-inch sensor camera is a standout feature for me. It captures up to 5.4K video, providing outstanding quality for such a compact drone.

Portability: It's incredibly easy to carry around, making it perfect for travel and outdoor adventures.

Caution:

It's important to remember that the advanced pilot assistance system gets disabled in certain modes, like Track and Parallel modes, and when recording at high resolutions above 2.7K. So, you should always stay extra cautious in these scenarios.

Check out this video to see the obstacle avoidance system in action:

4.  DJI Mavic 3

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5.1k

battery-icon-spec

46 min

range-icon-spec

15 km

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GPS

DJI Mavic 3

The Mavic 3 is the latest and greatest premium drone from DJI, and it features an omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system. Paired with APAS 5.0, it can detect obstacles in any direction to keep the drone safe in most flight conditions even if you're a complete beginner to flying. 

If you're more interested in the obstacle avoidance system than the camera setup of the Mavic 3, you should look at the Mavic 3 Classic we just mentioned.  There's virtually no difference between these drones apart from the extra 1/2 inch tele camera on the Mavic 3.

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Camera
  • Safety
  • Battery
  • Professionalism

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Cost
  • Specialization

Features

Camera and Battery : Great 4/3 inch CMOS Hasselblad Camera, perfect for taking amazing aerial photos. Its battery life is long too, which I really like. 

Obstacle Avoidance: It comes with omnidirectional obstacle sensing and APAS 5.0 technology. This means they're really good at avoiding crashes, making them safe to fly.

Price and Use : The Mavic 3 Classic is more affordable than other high-end drones from DJI. It's great for most people because it's easy to use, even for beginners. The Mavic 3 is a bit more advanced, especially for filmmaking.

See it in action here:

5.  Hubsan Zino Mini Pro

camera-icon-spec

4k

battery-icon-spec

40 min

range-icon-spec

10 km

drone-icon-spec

GPS

hubsan-zino-mini-pro-thumbnail

Hubsan Zino Mini Pro is the most affordable obstacle avoidance-equipped drone that weighs under 250g. While its system is not as advanced as the other entries in this ranking, the price makes up for it. 

So, the Zino Mini Pro has a tri-directional collision avoidance sensor system that can detect objects in the front, back and under the drone from up to 15 meters. Let me tell you from experience - this is way, way better than nothing!

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Portability
  • Camera Quality
  • Range
  • Safety Features
  • Affordability
  • Build Quality

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Limited Features Obstacle
  • Avoidance Range
  • Professional Use

Features

Lightweight and Portable: This drone's weight is just 249g, and its foldable design makes it incredibly portable.

High-Quality Camera: Equipped with a 3-axis gimbal, the camera captures 4K30fps videos. This feature allows me to take stable and high-resolution footage effortlessly.

Impressive Range and Safety: It boasts a range of about 10km, which is quite extensive for a drone of its size. The "Return to home" feature adds a layer of safety, ensuring the drone comes back to me if needed.

Obstacle Avoidance System:The tri-directional collision avoidance sensor system is a standout feature. It detects objects up to 15 meters away in the front, back, and underneath, enhancing the drone's safety.

Affordability and Build Quality: Despite being relatively inexpensive, the build quality of this drone impresses me. It's one of the most affordable mini drones with obstacle avoidance I've come across.

See it in action in this video:

6.  Autel EVO 2 Pro

camera-icon-spec

6k

battery-icon-spec

40 min

range-icon-spec

15 km

drone-icon-spec

GPS

autel evo nano drone

The Autel Evo 2 Pro drone is a high-end drone with impressive specs. It has a 1-inch sensor Ultra-HD Sony camera that can take photos with up to 5472 x 3648 resolution and record 5.5K video at 60 fps or 4K video at 120 fps. In addition, the camera's aperture is adjustable, perfect for aerial cinematography and mapping.

The drone's obstacle avoidance system is top-of-the-line, with twelve computer vision sensors, two sonar sensors, and two LED landing lights working together to avoid obstacles. It also has a failsafe & one-key return home functions for added safety during flight.

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Duration
  • Range
  • Tracking
  • Safety
  • Camera
  • Flexibility

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Price
  • Size
  • Specialization

Features

Superior Transmission Range: The drone offers an extended transmission range of up to five miles. This feature is great for covering large areas without losing connection.

Dynamic Tracking: It has the capability to track up to 64 objects simultaneously. This dynamic tracking ability is ideal for complex filming scenarios.

Advanced Obstacle Avoidance: Equipped with twelve computer vision sensors, two sonar sensors, and two LED landing lights, the drone's obstacle avoidance technology is top-tier, ensuring safe flights.

Enhanced Safety Functions: The failsafe and one-key return home functions add an extra layer of safety, giving me peace of mind during flights.

High-Resolution Camera: The 1-inch sensor Ultra-HD Sony camera, with a resolution of up to 5472 x 3648 and the ability to record 5.5K video at 60 fps or 4K video at 120 fps, is perfect for high-quality aerial cinematography and mapping.
Adjustable Aperture: The adjustable aperture feature is a boon for aerial photography, allowing me to adjust lighting and depth of field for the perfect shot.

See it in action in this video:

What DJI drones have obstacle avoidance?

DJI offers several drones with full obstacle avoidance capabilities. Here is a list of some of their most popular models:

  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro
  • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
  • DJI Phantom 4 RTK
  • DJI Inspire 2

These drones feature advanced obstacle avoidance systems that use a combination of sensors and software to detect and avoid obstacles in real-time, including forward, backward, downward, and upward-facing sensors.

Some of these drones also have other features, such as ActiveTrack, which allows them to follow and track moving subjects while avoiding obstacles along the way.

It's worth noting that while these drones have advanced obstacle-avoidance capabilities, it's always essential to fly safely and within legal regulations to avoid accidents or incidents.

Is obstacle avoidance worth it on a drone?

Obstacle avoidance is definitely worth it on a drone, especially if you plan to fly in complex environments or near obstacles such as buildings or trees. Here are some reasons why:

1.Increased Safety: Obstacle avoidance technology can help prevent collisions and accidents, which is especially important when flying in areas with many obstacles or in crowded spaces.

2.Improved Flight Experience: With obstacle avoidance, you can focus on capturing great footage or enjoying the flight experience without worrying about potential collisions.

3.Greater Confidence: Knowing that your drone has advanced obstacle avoidance capabilities can give you greater confidence when flying, allowing you to explore new areas and take more risks without fear of crashing.

Overall, while obstacle avoidance technology may add to the cost of a drone, its benefits far outweigh the additional expense. So if you're serious about aerial photography or simply want to have fun flying your drone safely, investing in a model with obstacle avoidance is worth considering.

Does obstacle avoidance work at night?

Obstacle avoidance technology on drones typically relies on visual sensors, such as cameras, to detect obstacles in the drone's path. As a result, most obstacle avoidance systems may work less effectively at night or in low-light conditions.

However, some newer drones have additional sensors that allow them to detect obstacles using infrared or other methods that are not dependent on visible light. These drones may be able to avoid obstacles even in low-light conditions. 

Here are a few examples: 

  • DJI Mavic 2
  • DJI Mavic 3
  • Autel Evo II
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
  • Yuneec Typhoon H Plus

It's important to note that even with advanced obstacle avoidance capabilities, flying a drone at night can still be risky and should only be attempted by experienced pilots who are familiar with the limitations of their equipment and the regulations for nighttime flights in their area.

What is the "Follow me" mode?

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"Follow Me" mode is a feature commonly found on drones that allows the drone to autonomously follow and track a subject, such as a person or a vehicle. The drone uses GPS and other sensors to keep track of the subject's position and movements and can adjust its own flight path in real-time to keep up with them.

This flight mode is often used in action sports, outdoor adventures, or other scenarios where the subject wants to capture footage of themselves without having to operate the drone manually. For example, if someone is skiing down a mountain, they could set the drone to Follow Me mode, and it would automatically fly behind them, capturing video footage from various angles. 

What to look for when shopping for an obstacle avoidance drone?

When you're choosing the best obstacle avoidance drone, focus on several key factors to ensure value and safety in your purchase:

  • Advanced Obstacle Avoidance: It's essential that the drone comes with top-notch obstacle collision avoidance technology. This feature significantly improves real-time navigation and safety.
  • Comprehensive Sensor Coverage: You should look for drones with sensors that cover multiple directions – front, back, upwards, and downwards. This comprehensive coverage is crucial for avoiding unexpected obstacles.
  • Flight Assistance Technology: Systems like Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS) are a game-changer. They work alongside the obstacle sensors to automatically detect and steer clear of obstacles, which is a huge confidence booster during flights.
  • Camera Specifications: Since aerial photography is often a priority, I check for drones with high-quality cameras. Features like a large sensor, HDR support, and the ability to shoot in high resolution are what I consider.
  • Long Flight Time and Range: When picking a drone, look for ones with a long battery life and the ability to fly far. This means you can use the drone longer and explore more without having to charge it all the time. It's really handy for having more fun and freedom with your drone.
  • Build Quality and Portability: Drones that are lightweight and can be folded up are great because they're easy to take with you wherever you go.
  • Value for Money: Balancing the price with the features is key. While some high-end models are pricier, their advanced features, especially in safety, often justify the cost.
  • Ease of Use: The drone should cater to both beginners and professionals. An intuitive interface and reliable performance are what make a drone stand out for me.

Conclusion

Wrapping up, these seven drones are my top picks after trying out many. They all have excellent features for avoiding crashes, which is really important for safety. If you're a beginner, this feature is especially helpful for you, making it easier to fly without worrying about accidents. 

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is a standout, but the others, like the DJI Mavic series and the Autel EVO 2 Pro, also offer great picture quality. 

For those looking for a more affordable option, the Hubsan Zino Mini Pro is both budget-friendly and portable. In short, each of these drones is a great choice for their safety, camera capabilities, and value for money.

faq what should you look for in a drone

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we'll answer all questions related to the above article:

Can you add obstacle avoidance to drones?

Yes, you can add obstacle avoidance to some drones using additional sensors and software upgrades.

Are there any drones with 360-degree obstacle avoidance?

Yes, several high-end drones offer 360-degree obstacle avoidance, providing all-around protection.

What sensor is used for obstacle avoidance?

Ultrasonic sensors, LiDAR, cameras, and infrared sensors are commonly used for obstacle avoidance in drones.

What are the different types of obstacle avoidance sensors?

The main types include ultrasonic, LiDAR, visual (cameras), and infrared sensors.

How do drones avoid natural obstacles?

Drones use their sensors to detect natural obstacles and software algorithms to navigate around them.

What are the advantages of obstacle detection?

Obstacle detection enhances safety, improves navigation, and increases the drone's operational capabilities.

Do all sizes of drones come with obstacle avoidance technology?

Not all drones, especially smaller or budget models, come with obstacle avoidance technology.

How effective is obstacle avoidance technology in different weather conditions?

Its effectiveness can vary; some systems may struggle in poor weather conditions like heavy rain or fog.

Are there any limitations to obstacle avoidance technology in drones?

Yes, limitations include reduced effectiveness in low light, high speeds, or complex environments.

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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