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Skydio's R1 drone can autonomously follow your car, too

"Car Follow" update brings cinematic tracking to off-roading or autocross.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
May 30, 2018
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Skydio's AI-powered R1 drone can autonomously track subjects like a champ, but until now it's been limited to following humans. Now, the company has introduced a feature called Car Follow cinematic mode that can film you on four wheels and not just two feet. Skydio said it trained the R1's neural networks on large data sets of car images, helping the 13 cameras automatically follow your vehicle while ducking any obstacles.

The new feature lets you capture four-by-four offroading, autocross racing or even golf cart riding. The only caveat is that you have to be on a closed course, so you can't just film yourself driving down the street.

Skydio also introduced four new cinematic modes: car tripod, car follow, quarter follow and quarter lead. It's also improved the lead mode, optimizing the AI engine "for more intelligent behavior around obstacles," the company said. The R1 will now show you where it's going to land, and a new smartphone UI makes it easier to select the tracking mode.

The Skydio is already the best follow-me drone on the market, Engadget's James Trew said, and the new features make it a lot more versatile. It's also got an excellent 4K camera and stabilizer, and while a protective bumper protects it from obstacles, it's excellent at avoiding them, even in tight spaces. The only caveat is the price: The R1 costs $2,499, nearly as much as DJI's very high-end Inspire 2.

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