DJI Launches Spark just at $499 is a Real Game Changer

DJI on  may 24th Wednessday unveiled the Spark , the smallest model of the popular Chinese dronemaker has released till this date.

A first for DJI, the Spark can be controlled entirely through hand gestures for quick airborne selfies. Piloting it with an accompanying app allows for a broader array of maneuvers, including flight patterns like “Helix,” which mimics Hollywood-style action movie helicopter shots. An optional remote control adds further control options and dramatically increases the range.

dji spark

Image credite: pcadvisor

Like other recent DJI drones, the Spark is capable of detecting and avoiding objects in its flight path. When it comes time to land, tapping the Spark’s “Return to Home” button brings the aircraft back to its departure point.

The Spark’s camera can shoot 12 megapixel photos and record 1080p high-def videos. That’s roughly equivalent to a typical smartphone, but it’s not as good as DJI’s higher-end drones, which can shoot ultra-high-def 4K footage. The Spark drone also has a “ShallowFocus” setting that blurs out the backgrounds behind your subjects, similar to the iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait Mode.

DJI Spark new drone

image credit : MyFirstDrone

The drone itself can reach speeds of up to 31MPH, and a 3D sensing camera, GPS/Glonass and an on-board vision positioning system help keep the system stable, even indoors when the signal is crappy, while the two-axis gimbal helps stabilize video while it’s shooting.

The on-board battery is swappable on the fly – a big deal for a drone this small. And, for good measure, there’s a microUSB port for recharging — not USB-C for some reason, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess. Each battery promises about 16 minutes of flight time person charge. There’s also a remote for the drone. It’s an optional accessory, which explains why it wasn’t pictured in those original leaks.

Spar Flying

image credit : MyFirstDrone

The tiny drone is available for pre-order and starts shipping next month in three different colors. Assuming, of course, that the company doesn’t run into the sorts of production issues that plague the Mavic. There are a number of accessories available for the drone, a number of which are jammed into the $699 Fly More deluxe version. And the thing naturally works with the first-person video goggles that the company debuted alongside the Mavic last year.

DJI also went big on the warranty this time out, after the Mavic ran into some issues with its own launch (not to mention our own birdhouse-related issues) and GoPro’s Karma started literally falling from the sky.

Every time DJI announces a drone now days, the company makes the promise of finally mainstreaming the still relatively emerging technology. And every time the argument sounds a little more convincing. Last year’s Mavic backpack drone made a pretty compelling case, at least as far as getting more of these devices into the hands of photo enthusiasts. And the camera body-sized Spark is even more tempting for those on the go.

With a palm-sized body and sub-$500 price point, the company is taking some pretty significant steps beyond just photographers and videographers. It’s still a pretty expensive toy at the end of the day. But with the number of features the company is tossing in here, the notion of a solid drone for the rest of us just became a little more real.

DJI throttles its drones unless you register Them

You might not have to register your drones through the Federal Aviation Administration anymore, but if your flyer of choice is a DJI model, you’ll have to activate it online, or take a hit in flight range and functionality. The company is adding a new application activation process, tied to a firmware update for its family of drones. It’ll come into effect at the end of this week, and is aimed at ensuring pilots use “the correct set of geospatial information and flight functions for your aircraft”, determined by your location and user profile. The aim should be less surprise buildings and structures, and hopefully less broken DJI drones.

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DJI Launches Apple TV App for Streaming Drone Footage

Drone maker DJI this week announced the launch of a new Apple TV app, which is designed to allow users to watch aerial content and 4K videos captured from around the world using DJI drones.

DJI Mavic

“We’ve made flying and capturing aerial footage easy with our drones, and now with the DJI Smart TV App, creators will have more ways to share their work with the world. This is really an opportunity for people to be inspired, intrigued, travel to places they would have never imagined and see the world in a whole new way,” said Paul Pan, Senior Product Manager.

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World’s first skydive from a drone

Unlike typical consumer-aimed quadcopter drones, Latvian company Aerones specializes in big UAVs that can carry hefty loads.

Last year, they showed off one of their big lifter’s prowess by towing YouTuber Kaspars Balamovskis on a snowboarding run. Today, they released another stunt video spotlighting one of their heavy lifters hauling a man a thousand feet in the air — before he let go to skydive back down to earth.

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Will tiny drones become a must-have for soldiers?

U.S. soldiers are getting another tool to stay a step ahead of the enemy.

Aerovironment, a drone supplier for the U.S. military, has introduced a tiny drone that’s designed to be worn on a soldier’s uniform. The Snipe, which weighs about as much as a baseball, can be launched from the palm of one’s hand. It’s designed for close-range surveillance and reconnaissance.

miltarydrone

In addition to the military, Aerovironment envisions selling the drone to first responders. Some firefighters have already begun using larger drones to get a better understanding of the blazes they’re battling.

Aerovironment won’t be selling the Snipe to the consumer market, which a spokesman described as extremely price sensitive. Aerovironment has not revealed a price for the Snipe.

The company said it delivered the first 20 Snipes to a government customer this April.

Qualcomm Successfully Completes LTE Drone Trials

A field trial of more than 1,000 flights proves that drones can be remotely controlled through the 4G LTE cellular network.

getty

image credit : Getty Images

When the FAA released its new rules in June of last year, whilch allow commercial use of drones, they created a market estimated at $82 billion, and 100,000 jobs over the next few years. However, at this time, according to those rules, drone operation is restricted to Line-of-Sight (LOS), which means that the operator must be able to see the drone rather than control it Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).

Qualcomm engineers immediately went to work. Over the past several months they tested the operation of drones over the 4G LTE Continue reading

DronePrix AR gives DJI pilots their virtual Wings

DronePrix AR

Augmented reality has proven useful for first responders and retailers, but the technology has huge potential for gamers and drone pilots as well. Using the DJI software development kit, the team at Edgybees has created the first augmented reality game for DJI’s drones, giving pilots the chance to improve their skills in a new, more immersive way. Continue reading