DJI Mavic 3 and 3 Classic How to use Active Track

What is Active Track in DJI drones?

Tracking is a very popular feature with drones, it is a functionality that has been constantly improved in DJI prosumer drones over the years

Active Tack in DJI drones is the mode for autonomously tracking a moving target. It can follow a subject at a constant distance without an operator controlling the movement. It is therefore the ideal tool for vlogging or when driving, cycling, walking while talking, or for interviews

If You Prefer To Watch It As a Video

What is Focus Track in DJI drones?

There is often some confusion between the terms Focus Track and Active Track

Focus Track is the name given to the three Intelligent Flight Modes of the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic. These modes are ActiveTrack, Spotlight, and Point of Interest. All three modes have some tracking capabilities, but Active Track is the only one able to track autonomously, in other words without the use of the remote controller

When tracking a target while operating the drone with the remote controller, the mode Spotlight is an excellent alternative to Active Track, as it maintains the target on screen allowing all sorts of moves using the two sticks of the controller and the gimbal wheel

Point of Interest can also track a slow-moving target. More details in my specific articles about Spotlight mode and Point of Interest

How to set up Active Track in the Mavic 3 and 3 Pro

Before starting a tracking session, it is suggested to select the option Subject Scanning in the Control tab of the settings, so that the algorithm will identify trackable targets like people, cars, bicycles, and boats, and put a plus sign over them

The option for Object Scanning is not sticky, so it has to be selected every time a tracking session is started. It can only be activated with the aircraft flying

After Selecting a target by simply clicking on the plus sign we are presented with the usual box with the three functions of Focus Track

With the Mavic 3 and 3 Pro, after choosing Active Track on the lower part of the screen, an icon appears to select the desired direction of the drone relative to the target. The choice is from each side, the front, the back, or the intermediate directions in between. This is a new very useful feature

Selection of the tracking direction

When starting a tracking session, after choosing the direction and hitting go, the algorithm in the first few seconds needs to evaluate the environments, it is better to keep the target clear of obstacles during that time

In this case, I tried to track from the right side and started the car right away with several trees between the drone and the car. The aircraft ended up losing the target, even though it can normally handle these sorts of obstacles quite well

Tracking from the side, but starting too soon

This time I choose to track from the front to give it a clearer path while starting. After analyzing the environment, it makes its move toward the front of the car and glues to the target with ease

Tracking from the front

Several trees cover the target, but it is able to reconnect with the car as soon as the path is clear

There are some quite tall trees around the path, but there is no need to touch the remote controller, as the APAS system does an astonishing job. During the test, it went around obstacles of all kinds without the slightest contact

Tracking with several trees on the way

Here I choose to track from the right side. The drone switches very quickly to the new position and keeps tracking in spite of several trees between the camera and the target

Switching sides while tracking

Here the mountain road turns sharply to the left and I decided to move to track from the left to have the drone on the lower side. There are some very tall trees, so for a few seconds it remains on top of the car to avoid them, but as soon as the way is clear it moves to the correct position. Excellent performance!

Tracking on a mountain road

Active Tack does an astonishing job of finding the target after being obscured by obstacles

How do I get the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic to follow me?

In some DJI models from some years ago, Follow me was an ancestor of Active Track, based on the GPS signal. Active Track is much more advanced and combines GPS data with visual recognition and is also able to track much closer to the target and at a much lower altitude

These days the term “follow me” is often used for vlogging situations, where the drone follows someone walking or cycling without the use of the remote controller

For a follow-me experience with the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic, after tapping on the plus sign over the chosen target, we select Active Track. We then choose one of the eight positions for the aircraft relative to the target. We position the drone at the desired distance and elevation. We can now put aside the remote controller and hit Go

We are in a different environment, let’s see how the Active Track behaves following me while walking on this beach

I start with the drone following from behind and it tracks me at constant distance and altitude. I then choose to track from the right and after a few seconds, it gets in the correct position. I then try tracking from the front and then from the front right, probably the most interesting positions when following someone

Follow me from different positions

From all directions, the drone is able to maintain its position quite well and this is a huge improvement compared to the Air 2S where we could only choose between Trace and Parallel and the direction of the tracking was a bit random

So far I have let the drone follow me in a totally autonomous way. Let’s see now what happens if I use the sticks of the remote controller to modify the height and distance from the target. I lower the altitude to have the aircraft at the height of my head, the drone remains at a constant height and displays on-screen the distance from the ground. Now I get the aircraft closer to me and again it maintains the position

Follow e at a lower height

When I switch to the other side, it goes a bit further away from me and at a slightly higher altitude. It is also possible to modify the gimbal tilt. I then bring it much further away and higher up

As you can see in a follow-me scenario we have complete control of the behavior of the drone and the Mavic 3 maintains its position very well. Excellent performance!

Safety Tips for Active Track with The Mavic 3 and 3 Classic

The Mavic 3 and 3 Classic are the only two models of the DJI prosumer line to offer safe close-range tracking, thanks to the omnidirectional obstacle sensors. But some care is needed

Before using Active Track with the Mavic 3 or 3 Classic, double-check that Obstacle Avoidance Action in the Safety tab is set to Bypass or Brake, to activate the obstacle avoidance system. In case of troubles, in the Safety tab there is a useful Find My Drone option, showing the position of the aircraft in case of a crash to help retrieve it

More details on How to find a lost drone in my article

Obstacle Detection Using Active Track with the Mavic 3

Next to the beach, there is a wooded area with very thick shrubs and trees. Let’s see if the Mavic 3 is somehow able to track me, it is very difficult terrain, as there is not a real path

At first, I tried tracking from the side and the result was quite good. The drone detected me behind some trees, but when things got very thick it ended up losing me

Follow me from the side in the wood

Then I tried tracking from the front and for some reason, it works much better. The Mavic 3 manages to keep track of me in extremely tough situations. The drone manages to find its way through very thick trees and shrubs without touching a branch. An astonishing performance!

More details about the Obstacle Avoidance System in the Mavic 3 in my specific article

Follow me in the woods from the front

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I am Vittorio Caramazza, aka Vicvideopic, the founder of this website and author of all the posts. I am a videographer and photographer contributing to several stock agencies. I am an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Lightroom. I have 10 years of experience with dron videography and photography. I was struck by drone syndrome in 2013. I have owned and tested in depth the following drones: Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Mini, Mini 2, Air 2, Air 2s, Autel Evo Nano Plus, Mavic 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3. My home has turned into a breeding ground for drones. I am the owner of two YouTube channels specializing in Videography and Photography, with a focus on drones My main channel is VicVideopic (in English): My other channel is Drone Mitico, the Italian version.: I am currently based in Sicily (Southern Italy), but I tend to move quite often. After all, this is one of the main benefits of being a digital nomad…

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