Skydio R1 self-flying drone can now follow your car around

Filming a moving car used to be the stuff of big budget Hollywood movies, but now all you need is a drone. 

The Skydio R1, launched in February and billed as the first self-flying camera that automatically follows and films its subjects, is adding a Car Follow feature as part of its first big software update. 

The new feature’s name tells you what you need to know; the Skydio R1 will tag along behind a car or other vehicle, capturing the action in 4K at 30 frames per second (fps), or at 1080p at 60fps or 30fps. 

The Skydio R1 is equipped with 13 cameras, which it needs not only to capture footage, but also to understand and navigate its way in the world. Its self-flying and autonomous filming powers stem from the Skydio Autonomy Engine, backed by a Nvidia Jetson chipset.

Skydio R1 can hit speeds of 25 miles per hour (40kph), which may be speedy for a drone, but serves as a reminder that you shouldn’t expect your car to rev to top speed and have the R1 keep up.

Also included in today’s update are three new cinematic modes, an improved Lead Mode, an updated landing experience (you’ll actually know where the R1 is going to land now), and an improved UI.

While its specs and features are impressive, the Skydio R1 only lasts an average of 16 minutes before needing a recharge, five minutes less than the DJI Mavic Air

And though the Skydio R1 costs less than a Hollywood film budget, it still comes with the hefty price of $2,499 (about £1,810 / AU$3,180). The DJI Mavic Pro, by comparison, costs $999 (£1,099 / AU$1,599).

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