If there's one omnipresent trend in the drone industry, it's this: manufacturers are thinking smaller. Companies are aiming to make unmanned aerial vehicles more compact while inserting as many premium features, found in their larger counterparts, as possible. The CHASING DORY underwater drone, which is currently in the midst of a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, is no exception.

Presumably named after the daffy but lovable fish from the movie Finding Nemo, at 18.8cm (7.4in) wide, the drone is smaller than a standard sheet of paper. It is the follow up to Shenzhen-based company CHASING's GLADIUS MINI drone whose 2017 Indiegogo campaign ended with 1629% funding and a 100% delivery rate to backers. DORY is 56% lighter and 65% smaller than its predecessor which weighed 2.5kg (5.5 pounds).

An algorithm ensures photos remain vivid in all conditions.

DORY's camera has an F1.6 lens with 1/2.9" CMOS sensor capable of recording at 1080p, a 100° field of view, and a ±45° Tilt-Lock mode that allows you to scan the floor of a body of water or view its surface above. Two 250-lumen lights placed on the front of drone illuminate the area where its operating without overwhelming underwater inhabitants. CHASING's color-restore algorithm keeps photos vivid in all conditions. 8 GB of internal memory means you don't have to worry about losing any footage.

The lowest possible pledge available on Kickstarter will get you a DORY underwater drone, Wi-Fi buoy, tether, and charger. The Wi-Fi buoy helps your mobile device stay connected up to 15 meters (49 feet) away with the wired tether. An Anti-lost Warning is there to prevent any chance of getting disconnected. Depth Lock helps the drone remain stable so it doesn't get tossed around. The charger takes two hours to power a 4800 mAh battery which will give you one hour of operating time. Unlike other underwater drones that require multiple components to be charged, only the drone needs it with the DORY.

DORY doesn't come with a remote. Instead, a smartphone is all that is needed, along with the CHASING DORY app (available for iOS and Android), to control the drone. You can customize imagery with 19 different filters, share footage on social networks including Facebook and Instagram, and even stream live. The app also features Co-Play which enables one person to maneuver the drone while the other controls the camera.

As of this writing, there are 17 days left to back DORY on Kickstarter. The campaign has already raised over $120,000 of its initial $30,000 goal. If underwater exploration is your interest, this portable, affordable drone is an option worth considering.


Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there’s always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.