Skydio R1 may be a selfie drone, but it’s not the kind of garbage you find at Walmart’s clearance aisle. For one, it costs $1,700 more than DJI’s Mavic Air. And right now, it’s the only drone that features autonomous flight capabilities both DJI and GoPro could only dream of. Today, Skydio released its first software update that now allows the R1 to follow vehicles.
Announced back in February, the Skydio R1 is an autonomous flying camera that can follow you even through tough terrains. Apart from the main camera, it features 12 other cameras to detect obstacles. Furthermore, it includes motion and depth sensors that run on a powerful Nvidia chip. The R1 doesn’t have the best 4K camera. However, it does an excellent job dodging trees and buildings while recording. With the new update, it can now track your car on the highway, or even your ATV through the wilderness.
So far, the R1 is the only drone that can prove such a concept is even possible. A lot of us thought it was going to be a reality with Lily back in 2015. However, all the features it promised proved to be too ambitious even with all the money it raised. For a while, GoPro also made it seem like they were incorporating object tracking with the Karma as well. Unfortunately, it was also just smoke and mirrors just like Lily. Instead of using sensors, it reads the GPS signal from your phone to track you. So it’s pretty obvious you can only use it in wide open areas or it might hit a wall. And while the DJI Spark has an impressive Follow Mode, its sensors only stops it from crashing, not allow it to navigate through obstacles.
Nevertheless, R1’s autonomous flight capabilities are its only selling point right now. As far as the quality of the footage? More needs to be done apart from the four cinematic modes they added in the update. It’s also quite bulky, and it doesn’t fold up. And on top of that, it’s very expensive. So I say Skydio better step up their game even more before DJI catches up with their technology.