Earlier today, DJI announced its latest consumer-facing drone, the diminutive Spark.
Besides being the company’s smallest drone to date, weighing just 300 grams, Spark is also DJI’s most affordable UAV with a price that starts at $500 USD (approximately $671 CAD).
Unfortunately, even at 300 grams, Spark is still subject to Transport Canada’s recently announced recreational drone restrictions. As such, those that do decide to buy Spark will not be able to fly their new drone within 75 meters of buildings, vehicles and people. Those same restrictions also prevent recreational drone users from flying Spark within 9 kilometres of an airport, which means the drone can’t legally fly within the airspace of a city like Toronto or Vancouver.
It’s a shame because a lot of Canadians would have likely been interested in Spark otherwise.
Like the Mavic Pro before it, DJI’s new drone includes an impressive feature set given its small size. It includes a 12-megapixel camera mounted on a 2-axis gimbal that’s capable of capturing 1080p video.
Supporting the camera is a software feature called QuickShot. Using one of four flight presets, Spark will capture one minute of footage and edit it down to a 10-second clip that’s easily shareable on social media channels like Instagram and Twitter. It can also capture and stitch together both horizontal and vertical panoramas on its own.
However, the drone’s most impressive feature is a new gesture piloting mode. Using only one’s hand, it’s possible to fly Spark as well as tell it to do things like take photos.
Of course, it’s also possible to pilot Spark with a remote control. Doing so unlocks Sport Mode, which allows the drone to fly at its maximum speed of 50 kilometres per hour. Spark can fly for 16 minutes on a single battery charge.
DJI will start taking Spark pre-orders in mid-June. The drone will be available in five different colours — white, blue, green, red and yellow — and will start at $500 USD.