DJI Mini 2 - Truly Autonomous Missions?

Hi there, any help would be appreciated.

Can the DJI Mini 2 continue missions when disconnected from the remote control? Back story…

I have a DJI Mini 2 and I am running the latest non-beta of Litchi software on a Samsung Galaxy S20. So far the general operation is great. Much better than expected for an inexpensive UAV.

I wanted to test a waypoint mission, so I set up about a 1/4 mile trip to the nearest water tower and I planned to have the Mini 2 orbit the tower while continuing to face the tower while recording a video, and then head home. Setting up waypoints, altitude, points of interest was all pretty straightforward.

Mission time, started amazing, to my disbelief. It did exactly what I wanted, altitudes, angles, waypoints, wow! Until it got to the back side of the water tower and lost connection with the controller. Everything went dark for a period of time (30 sec or 1 min) and when I regained visual on my screen it was 100 feet over the target in the middle of it’s RTH sequence.

Does the DJI Mini have the program stored when the mission begins? Or is it fed controls from the remote control in real time as the mission progresses? If it is stored, how can I tell it to continue the mission when the signal to the controller is lost? The irony here is that it stopped behind the water tower. If it had just continued 20 more feet, it would have regained connection since line of sight would have been reestablished.

Any help and discussion on this would be great.

If I understand this correctly, drones that use the DJI Fly app use “Virtual Sticks” to complete their missions and need a signal from the controller to function.


None of the newer, DJI Fly drones are capable of fully autonomous missions. DJI has decided to no longer support that feature. As a result, companies such as Litchi have no choice but to use what is called the “Virtual Sticks” method to simulate an autonomous mission. This requires that the drone have continuous connection to your remote. Once that connection is lost (behind a water tower), the configured action (usually RTH) is triggered.

Be careful with a mission such as you describe. Some water towers are quite tall. If you lose signal when the drone is behind the tower and the drone executes the RTH function, you would need your RTH height to be higher than that of the tower. Otherwise, your drone will fly right into the tower.


Thank you both, @wesbarris and @Steve_Amerson, this is really helpful info. I am fairly new to this hobby and I have just gained in needed vocabulary (Virtual Sticks). Out of curiosity what would be the first drone (going up the cost ladder) that would be able to handle independent tasks outside of the range of the controller?

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@brazFX you are welcome for the help! This Forum is great for learning anything Litchi and much of DJI. I too would like to get an older drone to do Waypoint missions without having to worry about signal interruptions causing a RTH. I’m not positive but the Phantoms and early Mavic’s might work. Here’s hoping someone out there has checked this!

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Are there brand new professional models that are capable of this? Not that my budget can support it… I ran the Austin Half Marathon a few years ago and it began in the middle of the city. The crowd of runners was huge. They started counting down to the start and the runners surged forward, just then a UAV recording video sailed over the crowd from the back to the front, looking backwards toward the faces of the runners, passing the front of the start line (where the elite athletes were about to take off) almost exactly when the count got to zero. Made for an awesome video that I saw in one of their promotions for a later race. I would hate to think that that professional photographer, hired by the race, was risking getting this once a year shot on whether or not his drone was able to maintain radio connectivity during the start of the race!

The last DJI drone that supported on-board waypoints was the Mavic Air (1).

The “best” drone that supports on-board waypoints was the Mavic 2 Pro (or Zoom). Note: The word “best” is very subjective.

All of the Phantom 3s and 4s supported on-board waypoints.

DJI has made noise about supporting waypoints in their “enterprise” models. The M3E is close to being released. However, with that drone comes a new version of the SDK (version 5) which is not compatible with the current SDK (v4). This will require some code development by anyone who wishes to support it.


Dji mini 2 does not store the Litchi program in the drone memory.
It relies on constant connection to the controller to feed it information.
Slightest interruption to the data stream and the drone gives up the mission.

Watch this amazing video :grinning: >>

You need to buy an old Mavic 2 Pro or Zoom to prevent this problem.

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