A drone that features obstacle avoidance can ensure you a safer flight when it comes to auto-return-home, tracking an object, or flying in cities or forests.
This article will break down some of the best drones with obstacle avoidance so you can make sure you’re dodging any potential crashes that could come your way.
We searched around to find the best drones with obstacle avoidance to make sure you have exactly what you need in your drone. By the end, you’ll know our personal favorites as well as what you need to look out for if you decide to buy one. To help guide you in your decision, we’ll give you our five favorites to save you a ton of time from having to research all the options out there.
Our Top 3 Picks:
Also great: The Skydio 2. It is one of the best drones on the market for overall quality and obstacle avoidance.
Budget pick: The DJI Mavic Air 2. If you’re looking for a cheap drone with obstacle avoidance, you can’t go wrong with the Mavic Air 2. It is built really well without sacrificing any of the features we all love with a quality drone.
Best Drones With Obstacle Avoidance Review
The Skydio 2 is a highly anticipated drone due to its high-quality build and camera quality. What makes the Skydio 2 stand out is the camera quality, speed, and stability due to the obstacle avoidance in the drone. It can fly up to 36 miles per hour which gives it the ability to keep up with any movement you want to film or create great footage for a video.
This drone is 50% quieter than other drones on the market so you won’t pick up as much background noise as you fly your drone around. With a 3 axis gimbal to keep the camera steady, you’re able to get smooth footage and clear pictures.
You can control this drone up to 3.5 km as it flies for 23 continuous minutes. You have multiple options to control this drone: the Skydio Beacon, through the app (that’s compatible with iOS and Android), or with the controller. That gives you plenty of options depending on how you prefer to fly your drones.
- 4k60 HDR
- Flies up to 36 MPH
- 50% quieter
- The battery lasts for 23 minutes
- 256 GPU cores
- Embedded with NVIDIA Tegra TX2
Note: Skydio 2 is still not available at the moment.
The Mavic 2 Pro is one of the best drones if you’re looking for a top-notch drone with tracking cameras and obstacle avoidance. Most of them come in a complete bundle and are ready to fly so once you charge the battery it’s ready to go. Compared to a lot of drones, this one is on the more expensive end, but if you are using it for professional purposes, it’s well worth the price tag. Whether you have flown drones before or not, this one is easy to navigate and works with beginners and experts. However, you’ll want to read up on the basics before you take it for a flight.
When it comes to obstacle avoidance, Mavic 2 Pro has some of the best available on the market. It packs sensors on all sides of the aircraft including front, back, downward, left and right, and upward. The APAS allows you to fly forward and backward with ease, it can also plan a suitable flight path to avoid obstacles automatically when flying.
You’ll have the most advanced features and this thing flies like a dream. A ton of professional videographers and YouTubers use this drone to get those perfect aerial shots.
With a camera quality of 20 MP and a resolution of 4K at 30fps, you’ll get some of the best shots you can imagine. Keep in mind, the zoom features on this drone are not as intense as some other drones out there, so if that’s your goal you might want to check out the Mavic 2 Zoom which is essentially the same drone but with a better zoom camera.
- 1-inch CMOS sensor
- 5.6K resolution size
- 3-axis gimbal stabilizer
- 30 minutes of flying time per battery charge
- Can fly up to 45 miles per hours
- Control range of 5 miles
DJI Mavic Air 2 is the second generation of the Mavic Air. When it comes to obstacle avoidance, Mavic Air 2 packs front, back, and downward sensors and comes with the latest APAS 3.0 (Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems).
Mavic Air 2 is capable of perceiving its environment in three directions: forward, backward, and downward, together with the APAS 3.0, Mavic Air 2 can follow you or an object smoothly and avoid obstacles in complex scenarios.
It also stands out for its 34-minute long flight time, 4K camera, and 10 KM HD video transmission system, allowing you to capture 4K/60fps videos and 48 MP photos.
- 1/2 inch CMOS sensor
- 4K/60fps video and 48MP Photo
- 3-axis gimbal stabilizer
- 34 minutes of flying time per battery charge
- Can fly up to 42.5 miles per hours
- Control range of 6.2 miles
Competition and Comparison
While this drone hasn’t been officially released to the market yet, there’s a lot of hype on the Autel Evo II Series to see what they’re going to come up with. Autel has a great reputation so a ton of people is excited to get their hands on this up-and-coming high-quality drone.
The Autel Evo II has omnidirectional obstacle avoidance so no matter which direction you fly it in, it will stay safe and not crash. It’s relatively easy to fly, so no matter your skill level there is some guiding help when you first start to fly this drone.
One of the biggest selling points of this drone is the incredible battery life. With a 40 minute flight time, it’s one of the most impressive batteries on the market. That is so much time for filming and getting the perfect shot while you fly. Mentioning the camera, it has HDR video with a 9km video transmission. The remote controller comes with a built-in display so you can see exactly what your drone is seeing at any given moment.
- HDR video
- Omnidirectional obstacle avoidance
- 40 minutes of flight time in forwarding motion and 35 minutes of hovering
- 7100mAh rechargeable battery
- Remote controller with built-in display
There’s a reason that the DJI Phantom 4 PRO has such a stellar reputation – and it’s due to the quality of the drone and professional design. This is a high-quality drone, but as we mentioned earlier, the ones with the most sensors are usually expensive due to needing more of them to prevent any crashing. There are five built-in sensors to keep an eye on every direction that the drone is flying to keep it safe on its routes. This gives you the ability to do more intense filming routes without sacrificing the safety of your drone.
The DJI Phantom 4 PRO flies like a dream. One of the best features of this drone, besides the insane camera quality, is the fact that it can fly for a whopping 30 minutes. That’s a long time to get all of the videos and pictures you need for your surrounding area. It also has auto-follow, similar to some of the other drones we’ve mentioned, that keeps it moving with an object. The thing that makes this drone different is that it can even follow fast-moving objects. This drone now has the ability to fly in front of a subject and not just follow behind it.
Similar to the number one drone we mentioned, this is one for professionals and people who need the highest quality drone footage available. The DJI Phantom 4 PRO video processing supports H.264 4K at 60fps or H.265 4K at 30fps, both with a 100Mbps bitrate. There is also an integrated Lightbridge HD video transmission so you can see in real-time what your drone is seeing. That prevents you from having to do flights over and over just to capture that right image.
- 1-inch Megapixel CMOS
- 30 minutes of flight time
- H.264 4K at 60fps or H.265 4K at 30fps, both with a 100Mbps bitrate
- Lightbridge HD video transmission
The original Inspire drone from DJI didn’t have obstacle avoidance, but the second drone saw the update with obstacle avoidance built-in. Compared to some other drones, this one has the ability to reach speeds up to 50 MPH, giving people the ability to capture high-speed movement or objects. With the DJI Inspire 2, you get up to 27 minutes of flight time off of a full battery.
A unique feature of this drone is also the fact that it has self-healing technology, giving you the ability to use it even in low temperatures. If you’re in a colder part of the world or you need a good snow show, that’s something you’ll want to consider when you’re looking for a drone.
- X4S and X5S gimbal cameras
- Recording rates available at H.264 and H.265
- Flight up to 50 MPH
- 27 minutes of flight time
- ConeCore 2.0 Image Processing Engine
Important Things you should know about obstacle avoidance drones
While all drones are built to fly, not all of them have built-in abilities to avoid obstacles. If you don’t buy one with this technology inside of it, you may hit everything you run your drone into. Of course, this isn’t an ideal situation because then you could damage or even develop your drone while you’re flying.
Drones with tracing cameras for obstacle avoidance will stop the flying of the drone before it senses a crash. Some have a single sensor and some drones have multiple sensors to check every possible flight path of the drone. Usually, these sensors don’t make the game any easier or harder to fly, but it may help prevent it from crashing.
Drones with obstacle avoidance ability normally have the follow-me feature, so a good obstacle avoidance drone is also a great follow me drone.
Drones with obstacle avoidance ability are not 100% safe, you still need to be more careful when flying in complex environments like flying in the woods or cities.
How did we pick?
Considering all the factors that go into an obstacle avoidance drone, we took a wide variety of factors into consideration.
Ease of flight
The first thing we considered was how easy the drone is to fly. Drones with quality obstacle avoidance should know how to fly better, especially considering that it helps avoid crashes. If they are hard to fly, you won’t have a good time with that specific drone, so we tried to keep any hard-to-fly drones off the list. We have a few that will work for both experts and also people new to the drone world.
The camera quality on drones
One of the top reasons people get drones in the first place (next to them being fun to fly, of course) is to snap aerial pictures and videos. The camera quality plays a huge role for a lot of people depending on what they plan to use the images for. If it’s just for a hobby, you might not need the most advanced camera out there. However, if you plan to use the images for professional uses such as in a movie or for your YouTube channel, you’ll want a higher quality drone that can keep up with what you’re filming.
Understanding the acronyms
Each of the types of drones has different acronyms to indicate the level they fly at. Here’s what you need to know about each of them:
- RTF – Ready to Fly which means outside of installing the propeller and charging the battery, these drones are ready to use.
- BNF – Bind to Fly, which means you’ll need to put the software inside the drone to make it flyable and also buy a controller.
- ARF – Almost Ready to Fly which means it comes with a bare-bones structure but often doesn’t have things like controls, batteries, or motors.
Pricing of a drone
The price of a drone doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a quality or low-quality drone, but you might just get different features and builds. One thing you need to know is that most drones with obstacle avoidance built-in are usually more expensive than other cheap drones on the market. This is due to the sensors inside the drone that has to be inserted so they can keep an eye on all the directions they fly in.
Overall, the Mavic 2 Pro is one of the best drones for people who need a high-quality drone but if you’re not looking to spend that type of cash, the DJI Spark has a ton of similar features without spending the same kind of money. Both of them do an excellent job of avoiding obstacles in their way so you don’t need to worry about constantly crashing your drone every time you fly.
What kind of obstacle avoidance drone is your favorite? Tell us about your experience in the comments!