Ever got your DJI Mavic into OPTI mode and had no idea what it was?
Even worse is if you get into ATTI mode and crash your drone into the wall, but that is another story.
Let's take a look at what OPTI mode is. How it works. When you would use it. And how to not crash your drone indoors, or even outdoors at night!
Technically, What Is Opti Mode?
OPTI mode is when the Mavic Pro is ONLY using it's vision system (forward facing and downward facing sensors) to stabilize it's position.
Normally, the Mavic would prefer to be outside with full GPS coverage and uses that for stabilization (you know how it hovers and almost does not move - that is GPS working for you).
But, when GPS is not available (too much cover, inside a building) the Mavic will enter either OPTI or ATTI mode.
When Should You Use OPTI Mode?
This is a bit tricky to answer because "technically" you cannot control ATTI or OPTI mode.
They are only available/appearing when the GPS is not available. This usually happens when you are indoors.
So, if you are planning on flying indoors, your aim is to get into OPTI mode. But it may switch to GPS if it regains the signal.
As I said, it's tricky.
Flying Indoors With OPTI Mode
If you want to fly in a stabile manner indoors your best bet is OPTI mode.
In Opti mode the Mavic Pro will normally maintain a stabile position:
- Vertically using the barometer (measuring height)
- Horizontally using the downward and forward sensors
When you are indoors the optical sensors can often fail.
A quick example of someone flying indoors in OPTI mode
Things That Can Disrupt The Mavic's Optical Sensors
The Mavic has two forward facing optical sensors and two downward facing optical sensors (as well as ultrasonic sensors).
The vision (optical) sensors have a few limitations though, which are good to know if you plan to fly indoors (to avoid them failing and you entering ATTI mode).
- Extremely dark or bright surfaces (10 < lux < 100,000, should you wish to measure it)
- Surfaces with highly changing lighting
- Monochrome (single color) surfaces (especially pure white, black, red, green)
- Highly reflective surfaces
- Surfaces with repeating patterns
- Surfaces on a gradient (rising, falling)
- Highly absorbing surfaces (like carpet)
As you can see, there are a lot of situations that cause the Mavic vision sensors to fail.
Recommendations For Flying The Mavic Indoors
After having flown my Mavic at night, in a tight space, while trying to impress friends, I can honestly say it's not a great idea.
I followed that up by flying in the dark outside and had the same problem - ATTI Mode. (Vision sensors disabled) and then a crash!!! Albeit a small one.
Instead of making the same mistakes I did..
If you plan on flying indoors I recommend you do the following:
- Fly in a very wide open space without obstacles
- Ensure there is adequate lighting
- Avoid the kinds of situations that seem to fit the problems mentioned above
- Put the drone in Tripod Mode to avoid any big movements from you
- Set the RTH height to very low so the drone does not hit the roof (in case it is triggered - unlikely if close to you) OR Turn it off completely
- Perhaps even set the max height and distance to give it boundaries
- Try to ensure you get it into OPTI mode or quickly land (ASAP) if it goes into ATTI
- If you get good GPS Signal inside it might also be possible to fly the Mavic (my walls are made of stone - so no GPS)
I have not personally tried these since my accident, but if you do - I would love to hear how you get on.
I prefer to fly outside in GPS mode :>