News broke yesterday that both versions of the DJI Phantom 3 and the Inspire 1 will be getting updates to allow Autopilot features. These updates will be available on Monday September 7 via a firmware update through the GO App. Quadcopter Guide is reporting that it will include a waypoint system, point of interest mode, “follow me,” course lock and home lock options.

Via Quadcopter Guide:

  • Waypoints – You will be able to input points on a map and tell it at which height it should fly past the waypoint, allowing you to concentrate on pointing the camera to frame the angle you want to capture. You will be able to save the flights and recall them at a later date to allow you to fly the same route again at a later date.
  • Point-of-Interest (POI) – You will be able to select a point on a map and fly a perfect circle around the point while the camera is positioned perfectly to aim at center of the circle, which allows the camera to capture a 360 degree video of the point selected. You will be able to select the radius and height of the circle the quadcopter or drone flies.
  • Follow Me – The Phantom 3 will follow your location once it’s airborne. It will use the GPS location of the smartphone or tablet connected to the remote control (if equipped with a GPS chip). The Phantom 3 will follow you while aiming the camera so you are always in the frame.
  • Course Lock – Lock your Phantom 3 onto a directional course and it will fly in a straight line into the set direction. You can yaw to aim the camera and focus on framing your shot.
  • Home Lock – The perfect “get it home” mode. Once enabled pulling back on the right stick (Mode 2) the drone comes back to your location. Sort of a manual fly-home mode.

The Phantom 3 Advanced will also receive a 2.7K (2704 x 1520) resolution upgrade, but the Professional model will not.

DJI confirmed via tweet:

This is a big deal, and is aimed to preemptively prepare for easy-to-use drones like the Lily Camera, which hit with enormous fanfare when announced earlier this summer. Though the DJI can’t become waterproof via a firmware update, these changes give it functionality that will make it much easier to use for novices, and give the drone features that help it compete with the likes of the Lily and Hexo.

[Via Quadcopter Guide]