With the steady increase in the popularity of drones, it only makes sense that the technology and drones themselves are continuously improved. With improved technology comes breakthroughs in drone capabilities and features. One of the newer drone technologies that have recently been developed is the follow-me technology.
Present-day drones offer a wide variety of features and capabilities that aren't for everyone. It is important to know what you are looking for in a drone before purchasing one. With that being said if you are in the market for a drone with follow-me-type technology you have come to the right place. Before we get into our picks for the best drones that follow you, let's learn a little more about how the follow me technology was developed.
Best Follow Me Drones
These are some of the excellent choices you can make in finding the right follow-me drones:
For people who want to track subjects quickly moving through complex environments, like forest trails or underground passageways, the Skydio 2+ is the best option. With six, 200-degree wide-angle cameras, a Skydio 2 will see everything in every direction so it will never crash. It costs $1K. If you think you might want to buy the remote controller and Beacon, then your total cost for these two items adds up quickly.
These drones that follow you are features even further down. You wear an AirLeash, which works like a GPS tracker, and the drones track that device. The AirDogs take off, follow you, and land themselves.
The new Skydio 2+ has a number of ways to fly. One of them is through carrying the Skydio 2+ beacon and the dr lobe will track the beacon. Now the Skydio 2+ is highly advanced and uses an intelligent vision system to follow you and also skip obstructions.
DJI Mavic 3
If you have a big enough wallet, then buy the DJI Mavic 3. Besides having six vision sensor arrays for precise obstacle detection, this quadcopter has some really cool features that make it far superior to the Skydio 2, including a longer flight time, faster speed, and improved stability. With a combination of a Hasselblad L1D-20C aerial camera and a 28x hybrid zoom tele lens, the DJI Mavic Air offers a unique mix of features for creating stunning images from above.
The professional-level Hasselblad H4D-60c uses a 24-megapixel medium format sensor and has a maximum aperture of f2.8. It allows for lower levels of noise at high ISO settings than its predecessor, the H5D-50c. The Zoom camera has a focal length of 162 millimeters. Here's another noteworthy feature for action sports: its impressive power supply. Don't miss out on the action because of having to fly your quadcopter back home to charge its batteries. The DJI Mavic 3 battery life has up to an amazing 46 minutes and it can fly for up to 30 kilometers per battery charge.
DJI Mini 3 Pro
It's small enough to fit into your pocket when rolled up. You don't need to carry it around in your pocket because it won't get bent up easily, but the fact that it fits into almost any backpack means that it fits into just about every type of purse. Because portability is a big advantage, you're more likely to take this with you wherever you go.
DJI has also included the new Master Shots feature to its DJI Mini 3 Pro camera, which allows you to quickly and easily edit videos shot during a 2-minute pre-programmed route. It’s an easy addition to the Mini 3 Pro camera and a simple way for beginner pilots to start shooting video.
With the new Mini 3 Pro, DJI has created an entirely new category of drones — one that allows you to capture 360-degree videos without having to cut out parts of the frame. With the new Mini 3 Pro camera, DJI has made it easier to share aerial photos and videos on social media. Although you can shoot vertical photos and videos, you won't be able to use any of the advanced features like focus tracking, quick shots, master shots, or hyper lapses.
DJI Air 2S
The DJI Mavic Pro is one of the best consumer drones on the planet right now. In fact, it’s one of the best drones I’ve ever used. It’s not just because of its impressive specs either; it’s also due to how much fun it is to fly. The Mavic Pro comes equipped with an incredible array of features, including 4K recording, 3D mapping, obstacle avoidance, smart flight modes, and more. And if that wasn’t enough, the drone can actually fold into itself so that it takes up almost no space when stowed away.
With the introduction of the new DJI OcuSync 3.0, the company has added several new features to the Mavic Pro including an improved obstacle avoidance system, the ability to fly at up to 31mph, and new intelligent camera modes.
Through the years, manufacturers of drones have experimented with various types of accessories for their drones. Sometimes they come with too many extras, sometimes they offer up too few. For the Air 2S, DJI has included some useful accessories including two additional batteries, a charger, an ND filter kit, a couple of extra propeller blades, and a carrying case.
DJI Phantom 4 V.2
It has some high-end features. Unfortunately, the Active Track technology used by the Phantom4 V.2 is not as advanced as that used by the much newer Mavic Air. But this is still an amazing drone. It remains one of the best drones available on the market.
It's a legendary quadcopter and the best choice for almost any aerial photography company, but there are some important things you need to know when purchasing one. You're getting a high-quality quadcopter with a lot of cool features, a rugged quadcopter with plenty of fun functions, a smooth FPV video, and a 28-minute flight time perfect for long photography and videography shoots.
This drone is far more expensive than some of its competitors. It costs almost $1,000 and has a smaller range. If you're ready to move beyond following your drone with a smartphone app and want to fly your drone using an actual camera, we highly recommend the DJI Phantom 4.
Autel Evo 2 Pro
This is a very simple-to-fly quadcopter. Even indoors or at low altitudes, the EVO can easily fly for 30 min. The EVO comes with a remote control that contains an LCD display showing important info such as battery life, speed, altitude, distance traveled, and so forth. The EVO also features a 720p HD video stream allowing you to see what the copter sees without needing a smartphone. Dynamic Tracking, Obstacle Avoidance, and 3D Mapping technologies make EVO safety and performance seriously.
Using two cameras on the front gives it a binocular view, which allows it to create a 3D world and react to obstacles in its way. Intelligent algorithms continuously run during autonomous flights, allowing them to plan paths around obstacles.
With its dual ultrasonic sensors and four additional computer vision cameras, EVO helps keep you safe by capturing reference pictures for precise landings even if the runway isn't perfectly level. Its rear camera detects obstacles behind you so you don't crash into them.
History of Follow Me Drones
Drones have been around for a very long time. Some even argue that drones have been around since the 1800s when a boat was controlled remotely. The drones you are familiar with today really didn't emerge onto the scene until the 1990's when they were used in the military. Since then, they have become incredibly popular and common in not just the military but in everyday life. Drones have created many professions and hobbies for regular people like us.
Present-day drones are now a lot more compact and high-tech. The cameras available on drones today are high-quality, professional-grade cameras that make them a perfect addition for photographers and videographers. It seems like drones are constantly being updated and released almost every year.
One of those upgrades was the first attempt at a follow-me technology. Basically, the pilot would program a custom flight path for the drone to fly. So, if you were recording yourself biking down a mountain and wanted to capture the ride, you could program that path for the drone to fly and hope that the footage is what you were looking for.
Now, we have the true follow-me technology. This type of technology was added to drones in 2016.
What is a Follow Me Drone?
This follow-me mode is a flight feature that allows your drones to follow your subject completely autonomously. Follow-me drones allow you to get epic shots like aerial shots and action shots and make your photography intuitive. This is done with intelligent technology and a hands-free camera crew. This technology allows you to do whatever and stay focused without the worry about controlling the drone. Hands-free and getting amazing shots is what follow-me drones do best.
Most people don't realize that following someone with a quadcopter isn't too difficult. You just need to download an app for your phone and then connect it to the controller. Once you've done that, you're ready to go!
DJI and Parrott provide you with a wide variety of options for taking photos and videos. You can adjust the camera settings to suit your needs and preferences. Some models allow you to control the flight path of the camera, height, and distance from the subject. Other models can recognize objects and avoid obstacles in their path.
With this combination of shot types and high-quality equipment, you can shoot some amazing photos and videos when following me mode is activated.
GPS Drone Technology
These drones have 2 types of drone technology that are being used. We first have GSC with GPS transmitter technology. GSC stands for ground station controller. This helps the drone keep its eye on the subject and to help follow said subject when moving. This is vision recognition technology.
Vision recognition technology helps obstacle detection and avoidance systems are the most advanced version of visual recognition technology available today. Follow Me Technology has created a virtual tether between the UAV and a GPS-enabled smartphone, allowing the drone to track its owner or another person in real-time and take aerial shots. Most follow-me drones, can also stay put and keep an eye on the target by turning, or they can go with the target.
The second drone technology that is being used is recognition software such as DJI ActiveTrack. Active Track evaluates the images live and tracks the objects or people marked on the phone. Or, it can track the phone itself. It activates almost instantly and the tracking is extremely accurate.
It used to be that making sure your drone remained on your tail was hit and miss and sometimes just a simple shadow could cause your drone to chase after something else. Nowadays, however, drones are so advanced that they're able to stay on their targets for hours at a stretch without any issues. Today, technologies have advanced so much that a robot that recognizes objects by following them is able to even predict when an item will reappear after disappearing behind something else. With this machine vision, we can now use cameras to see objects in three dimensions and avoid crashes.
Some drones, like DJI's Mavic 2, track you visually using an internal camera. It's important for drones to be able to recognize and track people moving through their field of view. Visual tracking is generally better at determining location than GPS tracking, but setting it up can be harder.
Pros and Cons of Follow Me Drones
Follow Me drones are a super fun new way to shoot photos and videos. There are many benefits to having this type of technology as part of your drone's full capabilities however, there are a few downsides as well. Take a look at the pros and cons of follow-me drones.
Pros of Follow Me Drones
- Show off to friends, convenience, speed, and unique footage, You can get amazing shots with a dynamic range
- Distance and battery life are two very important aspects of flying drones. The battery life of your drone affects its flying time, so be sure to buy one with a battery life that matches your needs. Battery time depends on the product and manufacturer. Battery mid-flight is important.
- Some Follow Me Drones are foldable drones and pocket-size portable drones. You can have a lightweight drone.
- Uses a remote control and some have an app you can do this by.
Cons of Follow Me Drones
- Object avoidance systems are not found on these drones
- Some setups take a long time
- Battery recharge can take hours (but your battery life will be long). Some follow-me drones need to have extra batteries. No drone owner wants the drone to be drained of battery mid-flight.
- There are some expensive drones. For example, the DJI Mavic 3's biggest downside is the price. It is one of the most expensive drones coming at $1499.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Follow Me Drone
Some factors to take into consideration when looking for include:
The most important factor to consider when choosing a follow-flyer is its flight time. You want your drone to be capable of flying for as long as possible before running out of battery power. Choose a drone with a flight time of at least 20 mins and this is still enough time for aerial shots. With the DJI Mavic 3, you are able to have 40 minutes worth of flight time. With a maximum flight time of 30 minutes, the Phantom 4 Pro V2 is an impressive piece of equipment for a drone of its weight and size. Flight time is found to be important for epic shots by drone users.
When selecting a follow-me drone, camera quality is also an important factor. Searching for the right follow-me drone, you'll want your drone to be able to take high-quality photos and videos. Look for a drone with an excellent 4K camera. The types of shots you can get with a quality camera drone are endless.
Essentially, find a drone that has reduced vibrations or shakeness of its footage and still images produced by its propellers. This will help keep the subject in focus. A brushless motor can help with stabilization. Brushless motor technology has all the characteristics needed for great drone designs: high efficiency, wide speeds, and overall high speed-to-torques. Stability is an excellent feature. A brushless motor on a drone will also increase its life. This is a better investment.
Another important factor to take into account is the range. Make sure your camera has an impressive range to capture everything you're trying to get epic shots. If you're looking for a drone with a maximum range of 500 meters, then look for one with an advertised wide range of at least 500 m.
Follow me drones are becoming more and more popular with the technology becoming increasingly common as well. If you are looking for other types of drones, take a look at the Best Camera Drones, Best Drones under $500, or Best Drones for Beginners.