Recently, drone companies have started incorporating smart features into their consumer drones to allow for an easier and better experience for customers. One of the first smart features that has been added is a follow me mode. Today we will be looking into follow-me mode and giving you a list of the best drones that follow you.
Our goal today is to help you find some of the best follow me drones on the market today.
Follow me mode
As the name suggests, follow me mode on your drone is a smart flight feature that allows your drone to autonomously follow you or another selected object. This is achieved through various techniques, including object detection, controller follow and GPS/GLONASS follow. All of these modes use their own unique setups of ultrasonic sensors, GPS/GLONASS, Bluetooth connectivity and cameras to get the best shot possible for the user.
There is a long way between the entry level drones and the best machines on this list. Some of the basic follow-me functionality is to use a Bluetooth connection between the drone and remote. For these machines, there may not be obstacle avoidance, you need to tread carefully, literally. Advanced machines combine visioning systems that perform smart computational object detection, with laser and other sensors to avoid obstacles, and many can even self-navigate around trees and more to keep a lock on you.
Related reading: DJI Quickshot smart modes
The Best follow me drones
This list is in no particular order, have a look through for the drone that best fits your budget and needs. Although, if we had to absolutely pick the very best follow me drone, that would be the Skydio R1, it has some serious next-level capabilities compared to most drones out there.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom
A new standard emerges from DJI. Launched in August 2018, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are the same drone with different cameras, but more important, they are the first DJI drones to include all-direction obstacle avoidance sensors. While the DJI Spark, DJI Mavic Pro and the Phantom series of drones included self-piloting follow modes before, the DJI Mavic 2 series are the safest flying drones from the company. Also, one has a large 1-inch camera sensor and the other rocks a 2X optical zoom, for the best camera experience under $2000.
The DJI Spark is just one of the DJI drones that comes with auto follow me mode. The DJI Spark has 2 auto follow me modes, these are ActiveTrack and Away and Follow. ActiveTrack uses object recognition, with the help of GPS/GLONASS to autonomously follow the user. Away and Follow is a gesture specific to the DJI Spark that allows you to simply wave at the drone, which will then follow you.
Right now you are able to pick up the DJI Spark for $295 at Amazon, or get the DJI Spark Fly More Combo for $511, which comes with an extra battery and a 16GB micro SD card. Normal retail value is $399-$599.
DJI Mavic Air
The DJI Mavic Air is the latest drone released from the drone company DJI. The DJI Mavic Air comes with an auto follow me mode to help you get some great shots. This smart feature is ActiveTrack. ActiveTrack uses object recognition, with the help of GPS/GLONASS to autonomously follow the user. The DJI Mavic Air comes with the FlightAutonomy 2.0 vision system, simply put it allows for safer and un-interrupted autonomous flight.
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum
The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is another drone with autonomous capabilities from DJI. The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum has 3 auto follow me modes. These are trace, spotlight and profile. The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is able to achieve this by taking advantage of its many cameras, ultrasonic sensors and GPS/GLONASS system.
Right now you are able to pick up the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum for $1,029 on Amazon, or get the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum Fly More Combo for $1,319.
The Skydio R1 is a fully autonomous drone that was recently released into the consumer market. The skydio R1 includes 13 cameras powered by the NVIDIA Jetson AI supercomputer. This gives the Skydio R1 a 360 view of its surroundings. The Skydio R1 uses a custom Autonomy engine consisting of 3 main technologies. These include Visual SLAM, Deep Learning and Motion Planning. Combining all 3 of these allows the Skydio R1 to visualize, map and plan its future path based on its surroundings to allow itself to autonomously follow the user.
Right now you are able to pick up the Skydio R1 for $1,999 at their website. The Skydio R1 has 64GB of internal storage without the option to have added additional storage via a Micro SD card.
Typhoon H Plus
The Yuneec Typhoon H Plus drone was announced at CES 2018, and started shipping in July of the same year. The Yuneec Typhoon H Plus has a unique autonomous system that consists of Intel RealSense Technology and a camera array. Having these two technologies allows for the Yuneec Typhoon H Plus to have two auto follow me modes. These are orbit and follow mode.
The Yuneec Typhoon H Plus for $1900 on Best Buy. This come with 10 propellers, a travel bag, 2 batteries, along with free shipping.
The GDU O2 is an update on the latest offering from drone company GDU. The GDU O2 comes with a set of ultrasonic sensors and cameras. This allows for obstacle avoidance and vision positioning to allow for autonomous flight modes. Smart autonomous modes that are included are circle mode, follow me mode and dronie mode.
There is an updated GDU 02 Plus that will improve things, but is not yet available. You are able to get the GDU O2 for $732 on Amazon.
Honorable mention: GoPro Karma
The GoPro Karma was GoPro’s chance to capitalize on the drone market. The GoPro Karma allows for autonomous flight and easy operation. The auto follow me mode is done by tracking the position of the GoPro Karma’s remote in real time. One issue with doing it via the remote is that you will need to keep the remote on the object your wanting to track.
The GoPro Karma is no longer being produced, so availability is based on stock held currently. GoPro still offers support for the Karma, but only rudimentary support, do not expect a full service repair shop from GoPro, but they will at least offer replacement or compensation for warranty concerns. You are still able to pick up the GoPro Karma with a GoPro Hero 5 for $699 on Amazon.
There you have it, the best follow me drones on the market today. What are your thoughts on drones doing the work for you? Would you rather fly a drone yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments below or head over to our social media accounts.