Skydio R1 Car follow drone autonomous

The insanely smart Skydio R1 just got smarter: now it can track cars, too

Silicon Valley-based drone maker Skydio made waves earlier this year when it launched its Skydio R1 drone, a ridiculously smart, consumer-focused drone with 13 cameras surrounding it on all sides.

That meant that the drone could see and avoid obstacles on all sides, giving it the ability to lock its sensors on a human subject and track them — even if they are walking through dense areas.

Now, its creators have announced that the Skydio R1 is capable of following more than just humans. A new software update launching today gives the drone the ability to follow cars and other vehicles (whether a fancy race car or just a golf cart).

The update means users have access to new modes (both car-related and not) called Quarter Lead, Quarter Follow, Car Follow and Car Tripod, which supposedly makes it easier to capture those epic car chase style shots.

Skydio is powered by NVIDIA Jetson, which is a powerful AI supercomputer.

All that processing power means that the drone is intended to fly fully autonomously. You simply set it to take off, and the drone flies — no hands required. In fact, the Skydio R1 doesn’t even come with an RC transmitter (though for people who still want joysticks, they can be used via the app). Within the app, owners can set different modes for what the camera captures, such as a 360 capture, following you or flying in front of you.

Skydio R1 costs $2499. The drone launched at the beginning of the year to rave reviews, but the question is if the technology is cool enough to justify paying more than 3x as much as other (albeit less-intelligent) follow-me and gesture-controlled drones on the market such as the DJI Mavic Air or the even cheaper DJI Spark. A Skydio spokesperson declined to comment on the company’s sales figures.

Backed by IVP, Playground Global, NVIDIA, Accel and Andreessen Horowitz, Skydio has raised a total of $70 million in funding.

Do you know anyone who has purchased a Skydio R1, or do you want one yourself? Leave a comment below!


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