Skydio R1 “Follow-Me” Drone Reviewed by Engadget

Not sure if this drone is the one for you … it’s way too pricey! Just get the DJI Spark or the DJI Mavic Air instead.

In a park, perched on San Francisco’s East Bay, I set down Skydio’s R1 drone, open an app on my phone, click “launch” and do something I would normally never do. I walk straight under a tree, knowing full well that the R1 will follow me and that the branches are directly in its flight path; I am trying to make it crash. I fail. I repeat this task a few more times, even with the drone flying backward, but try as I might, the R1 slips right under (and sometimes over) the tree’s canopy. I am doing nothing but walking, no controller or phone in my hand; the R1 is figuring this all out by itself.

Should I be surprised at this? In theory, no. When drone newcomer Skydio recently revealed the self-flying R1 ($2,499), the main selling point was its superior ability to follow a target and avoid obstacles at speed. But drones have offered various versions of follow-and-avoid for a while, and in my experience, none has really nailed it. Hence my surprise at how deftly the R1 avoided Californian topiary, right out of the box.

 

Pros

  • True 360-degree obstacle avoidance
  • Intuitive easy to use app
  • Impressive 4K video quality
  • Built-in hard drive 

Cons

  • Prohibitively priced for consumers
  • Moderate battery life
  • Not as portable as rivals

Summary

At a technological level, the R1 is truly impressive. It eschews flaky GPS or wearable trackers for smart 3D vision tracking, and it works! This is the first “true” follow-me drone that delivers obstacle avoidance from all angles at speed. This, combined with ease-of-use and a high quality camera, make it a tantalizing proposition. Sadly, one only available to those with deeper pockets.

Source: Engadget

 

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