DJI Mini 4 Pro Obstacle Avoidance 

The Mini 4 Pro is the first DJI lightweight model with an omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system, a feature previously reserved for the flagship model. The performance is excellent, above my expectations, up to the level of the Mavic 3. It can be used for close-range tracking

I will show how the system works, all the relative settings, and a few tips to reduce the risk of accidents

Other related articles about the Mini 4 Pro you might find interesting:

If you prefer to watch this as a video, you will find my YouTube version at the end of this one


DJI Mini 4 Pro, close up view of front and top sensors (photo by Vicvideopic)
(photo by Vicvideopic)

Like the Mini 3 Pro, the Mini 4 Pro has pairs of sensors at the front, toward the back, and at the bottom, in the same position as the previous model

But the front and back ones have wide-angle vision and are oriented upwards and to the side to detect obstacles to the sides and above for a 360-degree omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system

DJI Mini 4 Pro front sensors (photo by Vicvideopic)
(photo by Vicvideopic)

The Mini 3 Pro cannot detect obstacles laterally and above it. So tracking in a parallel position to the target or orbiting around a target can be dangerous

We will see how the Mini 4 Pro handles these situations later on in this article

When flying in Sport mode, the obstacle sensors are not active. In this mode, keep the drone well above all surrounding obstacles


The Automated Pilot Assistance System APAS 4.0 controls the drone’s behavior when it encounters obstacles on its path

Obstacle Avoidance Action

DJI Mini 4 Pro Obstacle Avoidance Action

In the menu safety of the settings, there are three choices for the Obstacle Avoidance Action:

  • Bypass, the aircraft tries to find the shortest path around the obstacles to avoid them
  • Brake, the aircraft stops and hovers at about one meter, or three feet, from any detected obstacle
  • Off, the APAS system is disabled

When filming the most frequently used obstacle avoidance action is bypass, as the aircraft will keep moving while avoiding obstacles for uninterrupted cinematic footage

DJI Mini 4 Pro, Obstacle Avoidance status indicator

On the top of the screen, an icon indicates the status of the obstacle detection system: it is white when the detection is on and red when it is inactive

Bypassing Option

DJI Mini 4 ProBypassingOptions

The next item is Bypassing Option with a Choice between Normal and Nifty

In Nifty mode, the aircraft performs subtle moves and a smoother flight. It should be used in confined spaces for more precision, but we are warned of higher collision risks

Radar Map

DJI Mini 4 Pro, Display Radar Map

Further down we can opt to display an on-screen Radar Map

In the Mini 3 Pro, this map shows a line in the lower part of the screen for obstacles below the drone. Another line in the upper part of the screen indicates obstacles in front 

The Radar map works differently in the Mini 4 Pro because of the omnidirectional obstacle sensors

DJI Mini 4 Pro, Raar Map on screen

An ellipse indicates obstacles above, below, and to the sides

The distance from obstacles is indicated for obstacles above and below when they are at less than three meters (about ten feet)

Each portion of the ellipse appears when an obstacle is at less than three meters, it is yellow at first and turns red when the obstacle is closer

The obstacle avoidance system saved my drone on many occasions when it accidentally ended up close to unexpected obstacles. I recommend using it constantly when filming to avoid accidents 


Open Wood

Video by Vicvideopic

Let’s start our test in a pine wood

The tree trunks are quite large, there is plenty of room between them with only a few bare branches

This scenario is a piece of cake for the Mini 4 Pro: it can easily find its way through the trees without hesitation. It is also able to track me from the front and from behind effortlessly This is just too easy!

Dense Vegetation

Video by Vicvideopic

Previous DJI models tend to struggle to identify wiry obstacles like tiny bare branches and I experienced minor crashes under these conditions

So I move to a different environment. A more dense wooded area by the sea with plenty of tiny bare branches

The Mini 4 Pro handles the situation extremely well, it can identify wiry obstacles as well as the mighty Mavic 3. I kept flying around this area for about twenty minutes without touching a single branch or leaf

Lateral Obstacles

Video by Vicvideopic

With the Mini 3 Pro, I had a couple of crashes with lateral obstacles, which is understandable, as this model doesn’t have lateral obstacle avoidance

I tested the Mini 4 Pro by going straight into lateral obstacles, as you can see from the red part of the ellipse

The aircraft always managed to avoid them or to stop before them if a clear path could not be found

Obstacles Above

Video by Vicvideopic

Once I destroyed a Mini 3 Pro by hitting tree branches above it, due to the lack of obstacle sensors at the top

So I did a few tests with the Mini 4 Pro by going below some tree branches and pushing the left stick forward to raise the altitude

It managed to detect and avoid the obstacles above every time

Nifty Mode

Video by Vicvideopic

I decided to try the Nifty mode

When selecting this option in the Safety tab of the settings, a warning message appears on the screen: “Increased collision risks, use with caution”. Scary staff!

The difference compared to Normal mode is subtle. I find that the drone flies slightly closer to the obstacles and the changes of direction are more subtle

I would not suggest playing around with this mode around wiry obstacles, as some crashes may happen, but I can see its use when flying in very confined spaces like abandoned buildings, possibly with protection for the propellers

Over Water

When flying over water, the downward obstacle sensors struggle to analyze a reflective surface

They cannot always avoid entering the water and the altitude shown on the screen should be taken with a pinch of salt

Sprays of salty water from waves can destroy a drone, so I suggest avoiding flying very close to the water

If You Prefer To Watch This as a Video


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…

Recent Posts