I'm looking for a drone that has the following features:

  • Weighs less than 250 grams (to avoid the legal obstacles for use);
  • Can resist wind up to 8 m/s;
  • Can use GPS and barometer to maintain its position and altitude, so that the operator can concentrate on actual mission instead of being busy operating the craft;
  • Has downward vision sensors to maintain position at smaller altitudes without GPS;
  • Has a camera on a stabilizing gimbal;
  • Can stream FPV video to a mobile device and take still photos;
  • Can continuously fly for 30 minutes;
  • Is ready to fly out of the box (i.e. no need to build it first);
  • Its firmware and ground control software are free and opensource, so that I could modify them and actually fly with these modifications.

All of these items except the last one are satisfied by DJI Mavic Mini. But the last one isn't, and I'd like to find a good alternative that satisfies all the items for a price no more than 2× that of Mavic Mini. So the price should be no more than about 800 USD.

I already have the Mini, so if the suggested option is a mod for it rather than a whole new drone (e.g. a custom mainboard), it's also acceptable.

If the suggested option is a kit to assemble from instead of the ready to fly drone, this is also acceptable provided that the kit has everything to get the complete ready to fly drone, without any need to purchase additional parts.

1 Answer 1


That's a tall order.

I haven't found anything quite that nice in the open source world, although I've looked. Honestly, you might have to content yourself with missing some of those features or going over the 250g mark; if anyone knows otherwise, please prove me wrong so I can look at buying one too! :)

This thread discusses the possibility of porting Ardupilot or PX4 (both are open source) to the Mavic series, but the results aren't encouraging.

That said, here's where I would look:

The Sky Viper 2450 GPS seems to be compatible with Ardupilot. The specs include GPS hold and a pivoting (downward) camera, video streaming and (I believe) picture capability. But, we're talking about brushed motors and 12-15 min flight time. It comes in solidly under your 250g limit, though, and well below your price point.

Also, I highly recommend looking through the PX4 ecosystem to see if there is anything that meets your needs. None are going to be exactly the Mavic Mini, but you might find something there close enough to work. I don't know which of your specs are flexible well enough to determine which of these will be your best fit.

I've read the Mavic Mini described as the "Cadillac" of UAV's in its class. Unfortunately, I don't think we in the open source / drone enthusiast crowd have quite caught up with it yet. Of course, if you want to help us get there, you're welcome to do so! :)

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