DJI has announced its smallest and most affordable drone to date. The DJI Spark is roughly the size of a soda can; yet introduces new technologies to improve its versatility. It doesn’t hurt that the Spark is also much cheaper than the rest of DJI’s portfolio.
The DJI Spark features intelligence flying/shooting modes that put the drone on autopilot for selected shots. Essentially, this removes the need for someone to be flying the camera while it rotates or pans across a subject. It also features an intelligence gesture recognition system for people to direct the drone with their hands. Albeit, from a reasonably short distance.
Range for the Spark changes depending on the type of controls being used. Gestures require it to be hovering not more than 3 metres from the controller. The smartphone app increases this range to 90 metres. For even more range, there’s the analog controller that allows the drone to fly up to 2 kilometres away from the controller. However, the controller lacks a display to see what the drone is looking at.
Images are captured by a 12 megapixel sensor equipped with a depth sensor. There’s also mechanical stabilisation and GPS/GLONASS sensors. If there is a drawback to the small size of the Spark it would the limited flight time. The battery only holds enough of a charge for 16 minutes of flight; although DJI is selling spare batteries that can be hot swapped.
The DJI Spark is set to go on sale for $499; although there is no word on any local availability yet. It also comes in a variety of colours like sky blue, metal green, alpine white, and lava red.