Testing the "Obstacle Avoidance" Feature - Any Ideas?

I’ve been flying the same construction site for a new community swimming pool. They have now installed the light towers (around 100 feet high) and I want to continue flying low for high quality but need to have the mission avoid the towers using Obstacle Avoidance (if they flew up to them and then went around it would be ideal.)

Anyone doing this successfully? Or, any ideas on how I can test this BEFORE crashing my Phantom 4 Pro?

Thank you,

P.S. The same problem will arise when there is a crane on a construction site and they move it around.

Hi Steven,

Obstacle avoidance is not perfect. We cannot guarantee, and neither can DJI that it’s going to work in any given scenario. It’s much more likely to see a wall than a crane, cable or even bare tree.

Personally I would avoid flying where there is a risk of hitting a tower crane / light towers. OR plan separate flights to give the crane a wide berth.

However, ways you can increase confidence:

  1. Fly slowly. We limit flight speed automatically when OA is enabled, but you can reduce the speed of flight on waypoint missions using the right hand thumb stick (down for slower, far down for reverse). You can also reduce the max flight speed overall.

  2. Test it first - fly manually up to the object and test the sensors in DJI Go. They give visual feedback on what’s being sensed by the obstacle sensors.

Overall, light towers sound very difficult for the sensors to spot, and I would not expect obstacle avoidance to reliably sense and avoid them.


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OA is still pretty much first gen and as James says, not perfect. If you really believed it was fit for task, I’m sure you would not be asking the question. OA is a safety feature and should be treated as such. What happens if it fails? We all know the answer to that question so my best advice to you would be “Don’t test it!”

(My car has airbags therefore…)

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Hi James,

Thank you for your quick feedback @Jamespipe. This is really helpful since I plan on flying the mission this weekend. Since the light-poles are quite thin, I’m going to avoid them completely. I’m going to fly the mission at 120ft and fly above them. Again, I appreciate your quick and detailed response.


Hi @markaguille — You are right, I’m asking the question because I do not trust the feature for my task. I’ll wait for generation 2. Clearly there is a need for OA in the case of cranes/lights.

Does anybody else have a use case for OA they can share? I’m thinking of maybe developing a solution for this.