The “follow me” technology in many modern drones has come a very long way. If you Google the phrase “drone that follows me,” you are bound to come across drones of all shapes and sizes with this feature. However, some implementations of the technology are better than others.
The “Follow Me” feature as the term suggests when turned on will automatically follow the subject. UAVs are programmed to automatically follow the person whether he or she is riding a bike or skiing which makes for breathtaking aerial shots.
Now because there are many drones with this feature, it is essential to understand how the technology works. Knowing how it works will help you choose the right drone.
Currently, there are two types of drones that follow you or more like the underlying technology. Early drones that had this feature used only GPS technology and sensors in the remote control or a wearable transmitter to accurately pinpoint where you are and ensure that every twist and turn is filmed accurately.
The second, more modern type of “Follow Me” technology incorporates visual sensors along with GPS. So, the drone can see and identify the subject. Now, this technology is better because in the event GPS signals are blocked or disrupted the done will not just land or get lost.
The biggest advantage of the drone follow me technology is that it is easy to use. Just turn it on and hold the remote/transmitter. That’s why it is one of the few basic features you’ll see in many drones and yet it is highly sought after owing to its ability to take breathtaking shots which would otherwise not be possible.
The other reason for the popularity of the technology is that the user can actively control the gimbal. So, changing the perspective from you to your buddy is very easy.
Perhaps the best thing about this technology is that now it is available in cheaper drones, like this very reasonably priced Outlaw SE GPS drone with follow-me features. So, you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for a drone that can follow you around.
One of the most prominent downsides is the fact that you need to have the transmitter near you. In some situations like when you’re skiing, holding the transmitter may not exactly be convenient. That said, transmitter sizes have become smaller and lighter. Even then, it may not work when you’re swimming. That’s one of the reasons why DJI is actively honing their ActiveTrack technology.
The other downside is that the drone follow-me feature does not work very well from a very high altitude. So, if you want the drone to track you from 100 feet in the air it may not be as accurate. Ideally, for the technology to follow you with accuracy, keeping it under 50 feet works best.
The Follow Me mode happens to be amongst the earliest Intelligent Flight Modes that DJI built into their drones. While it a highly reliable way of tracking a subject automatically, it may soon be overshadowed with technologies like ActiveTrack which is currently available in only expensive drones.
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