Mystic drone takes on DJI with one big feature

Hint: It’s all about AI.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables | Smartwatches | Mobile phones | Photography | Health tech | Assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides
2 min read

Foldable arms. Gesture control. Automated flight mode.

Sound familiar?

Watch this: Mystic drone flies with AI

You'd be forgiven for thinking I was talking about features from the DJI Mavic Air , instead of Airlango's Mystic drone. 

Both certainly look similar, fitting neatly in the palm of your hand with the arms folded. But the Mystic is hoping artificial intelligence and a lower price will set itself apart from the competition.

That artificial intelligence is used in what's called Safari mode. Set a designated area you want the drone to explore autonomously -- up to 200 meters -- then it snaps photos as the AI determines what's worth capturing. 

I had a quick demo of Safari mode and while the Mystic definitely favored people, it also chose to capture a few landscape shots. Airlango also told me the drone could recognize pets, or objects like cars as points of interest.

Aside from Safari mode, the Mystic has six specific gestures used to control the drone, but you can customize them to your liking. Mystic can also recognize you as the owner and will only respond to your gestures. In template photo mode, the drone recognizes a group of people in the frame, then repositions itself to get the best perspective (usually, by flying back a bit to get more background in the shot).

Battery life is what Airlango thinks will be another big differentiator. While many consumer drones max out at around 20 minutes of flight time, the Mystic claims 27 minutes and that will be pushed to 30 minutes when it launches.

As for camera resolution, it's using a 12.3-megapixel sensor capable of capturing 4K/30p, with a 1-axis hybrid stabilization gimbal. The Mavic Air offers a 3-axis mechanical gimbal.

With DJI potentially launching a successor to the Mavic line in the near future, Airlango has a lot to prove with the Mystic. Much of the performance I saw during my demo, especially Safari mode, was fairly impressive, though the AI did miss out on capturing what I thought were important moments (like a person running through the frame).

Mystic is available on Kickstarter for $459 or more, with a final price of $599. It's expected to launch in November.

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