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Is The DJI Spark Obstacle Avoidance Better Than The Mavic?

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The DJI Spark obstacle avoidance system includes a new 3D sensing system, but is it better than a DJI Mavic? Besides the drone comparison, let’s take a look at how the Spark obstacle avoidance system and 3D sensing combo operate indoors, real time, and in active track mode. Here is a DJI Spark versus DJI Mavic obstacle avoidance YouTube video by Michael Kincaid:

Playground Test: Spark vs Mavic

Both drones were placed through a similar test course on a playground. The DJI Spark obstacle avoidance system was put to the test first. The Spark flew less than 5 mph as it inched towards its test targets, and it successfully sensed various chain link fences, poles, mesh nets, and tree branches. The Spark obstacle avoidance kicked in when the drone neared the objects, but some objects such as the chain link fence and the mesh net allowed the Spark to get uncomfortably close to what was in front of it. On the radar, the Spark displayed “0 feet” away from the object. The DJI Mavic was then tested, and it matched the Spark obstacle avoidance system but failed to recognize one test target; the DJI Mavic did not sense the single chain link on the playground swing.

DJI Spark Obstacle Avoidance > DJI Mavic Obstacle Avoidance

Even though the DJI Mavic can sense and avoid objects up to 49 feet away, the DJI Spark obstacle avoidance system and its new 3D sensing system works better for closer ranged objects. The Spark can sense objects 16 feet away, but it also flies slower than the DJI Mavic.

Spark Obstacle Avoidance

Obstacle Avoidance Is Good, But When Do You Need To Turn It Off?

The DJI Spark obstacle avoidance system works well if you plan on using it in a crowded area, but turn off the obstacle avoidance system if you are filming out in the open; doing so will increase the Spark’s flight speed by more than double. With the sensors on, the Spark will only travel about 6 mph, but with the obstacle avoidance off, the Spark can reach speeds of up to 13 mph. Sports mode disables obstacle avoidance, but the gimbal tilts like a drunk madman.

DJI Obstacle Avoidance: Active Track

The Spark can track and avoid objects successfully, but a YouTuber named The Everyday Dad tested the Spark and crashed the drone. Even though it took three hits, the Spark still proved to be durable enough to fly again. One point that Everyday Dad kept bringing up was that the Spark’s 3D sensing system only helped the drone stop when the objects were in front of it; the Spark does not “avoid” and dodge objects in real time. When it senses an object while active tracking, the Spark will do what other DJI drones do and stop right where it’s at before it hits the object.

Spark Active Track

DJI Spark Obstacle Avoidance Indoors

The Spark is stable enough to be flown indoors with obstacle avoidance on, but be warned that it’ll often be hesitant to move forward. The Spark obstacle avoidance works best with objects in front of it. Check out this YouTube video that shows the Spark giving a house tour:

The DJI Spark has raised that standard for future mini quadcopters and selfie drones. The obstacle avoidance is the best in its class. Turing off the obstacle avoidance may double the speed of your Spark, but only do this when you know it’s safe. At the end of the day, the DJI Spark has once again proven to be a great all around selfie drone that is tough as nails!


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