DJI’s unannounced Air 2S drone has leaked in a series of images posted by TechnikNews and WinFuture’s Roland Quandt. The images come after the drone was listed in an FCC filing last month, suggesting that a launch can’t be far away. The DJI Air 2S is expected to be an upgraded version of last year’s Mavic Air 2, with an improved camera and compatibility with new DJI accessories like its V2 Goggles and Motion Controller.
Let’s start with the camera sensor. The new renders, as well as a teaser trailer shared earlier in the week by reliable leaker OsitaLV, show a drone with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor. Although that’s lower resolution than the 48-megapixel 1/2-inch sensor found in the Mavic Air 2, its larger physical size should have big performance benefits, especially in low light. The sensor has similar specs to what we saw in the Mavic 2 Pro, which offered excellent image quality.
If reports from DroneDJ are accurate, the Air 2S should also work with DJI’s new V2 Goggles and motion controller, which released alongside its FPV drone last month. Compatibility with the goggles would allow the drone to be piloted from a first-person perspective, in addition to regular flight using the app. The Air 2S isn’t expected to be capable of the kind of acrobatic flight you can get out of the DJI FPV, but the goggles should provide a more immersive flying experience for those who want it.
Other more minor changes include the loss of the “Mavic” branding in its name, and an upgrade to version 4 of DJI’s ActiveTrack standard, TechnikNews notes, which should make it better at tracking subjects during filming. There’s also support for DJI’s newer, lower-latency OcuSync 3.0 standard. Although it’s battery is the same capacity at 3,500mAh, the Air 2S appears to be slightly heavier than the Mavic Air 2 by 30 grams.
In December 2020, the Trump administration added DJI to a commerce blacklist, citing ties to the Chinese government. The filing accuses the company of enabling “wide-scale human rights abuses within China through abusive genetic collection and analysis or high-technology surveillance.” It has been reported that DJI has provided drones to the Chinese government for use in surveilling brutal prison camps in the Xinjiang province.
There are also potential security concerns with DJI drones. The US Interior Department and the Department of Justice are both reviewing — or have outright banned — the use of foreign-made drones.
DJI disputes the Trump administration’s characterization.
Despite all that, DJI’s products continue to be available in the US as of this writing.