Drones and quadcopters are great to use when you want to take some amazing footage of places, but they are also extremely efficient when it comes to taking pictures and videos of you. Whether you want to record yourself on an adventure or just want your drone to take some pretty pictures, the advanced technology that now powers quadcopters allows them to use a ‘follow me’ mode. This is essentially a mode where the quadcopter will follow you or the specified subject around, keeping it as the focus of its recording.
Drones that feature the follow me mode provide an easy way to stay in the center of the camera and the camera swivels in the correct direction to keep you in the frame at all times. Capture yourself just walking around in a beautiful locale, doing some crazy adventure and sports, or even record yourself from a distance with the perfect angle and frame to get a scenic shot - all that without having to use a mounting pole or your hands!
With the opportunity to film some very unique aerial shots, this feature provides hands-free flying and filming. At the moment, there are 2 kinds of drone Follow Me mode technology available on quadcopters in the market – Transmitter that uses Follow Me technology with GPS and object recognition software such as ActiveTrack from DJI.
Transmitter with Follow Me technology
Quadcopters use a GPS enabled device like a smartphone, tablet or a controller that has a transmitter to 'follow' the desired subject at all times, allowing users to keep what they want in the picture. This is like a virtual tether between the quad and the GPS-equipped device, working seamlessly.
ActiveTrack from DJI
ActiveTrack is exclusive to DJI and is used in the newer DJI drones that are equipped with sensors and recognition technology as well as software algorithms to identify a person or object. Their ActiveTrack Follow Me technology permits the drone to follow and track a moving subject without needing a separate GPS tracker.
If you too want a self following drone that has such cool features and follows you around, then here’s a list of the best quadcopters that can do so. Pick one that suits you best, depending on the various features they offer. Not only will it add a fun element to your drone and quadcopter flying experience, but will also help sports people record themselves to review their stunts, and allow industries to use their special technology for good.
DJI Mavic Pro Drone
The DJI Mavic Pro is the newest release by the leading drone manufacturers, and is a compact yet powerful drone, created to meet the consumers’ needs. Even though it has a small size, it possesses features as powerful as the DJI Phantom 4, if not better.
Body and design
DJI has taken all their expertise of creating spectacular unmanned aerial vehicles, and applied that knowledge into a compact, sleek and foldable body. The drone was created with portability in mind, and with this foldable design the drone becomes as small as a water bottle with the arms and propellers safely tucked inside.
Users can simply toss the drone into their bag and not have to worry about detaching the props beforehand. Other elements like the camera and gimbal too are protected, as they have a transparent cone surrounding it, so damage to the structure or lens will not be incurred.
Camera and gimbal
The Mavic Pro uses a 3-axis gimbal that provides shake-free footage and pictures when recording in the air, and it is also the smallest gimbal the company has built till now. It features a camera that can record in 4K at 30 fps, as well as 1080p HD at 96 fps. It also has a minimum focusing distance of 19 in (0.5 m), which is a great improvement over the previous DJI drones and DJI Osmo.
The camera can take pictures in 12MP and the picture can also be flipped 90 degrees to a portrait mode for taking vertical photos.
Airdog - Follow Me Drone
The AirDog is a unique drone equipped with Auto-Follow function that is possible due to their AirLeash technology, which works like a leash for the drone to follow you around using long-range Bluetooth. It ensures that you are always front and center of the video, so the focus stays on you.
It is easy to operate and provides a stable platform to take videos with its special gyroscope stabilized gimbal. You can safely attach a GoPro camera onto it and it also comes with a waterproof case.
Users can also fly it manually with a radio transmitter, using the directional buttons on the AirLeash to move the drone around.
The drone can also be controlled using an app that programs the AirDog to perform functions like hovering and pointing the camera, turning in place to focus, circling the subject at a set radius and altitude, or simply follow you from a predetermined distance. The company plans on adding such new program options for different activities over time.
You can easily carry this drone around with you because the body and props can be folded and that helps in keeping the drone safe and all its small parts from not breaking.
It has a durable and weather resistant construction with wind resistance up to 28 knots (14 m/s) and max speeds of up to 40mph or 64kph. With the interchangeable 14.8 V, 5500mAh, LiPo batteries, you will get a flight time of about 10-20 minutes depending on flight speed.
3D Robotics Solo Drone
Unlike the other quadcopters and drones available in the market, the Solo is equipped to directly stream video from a GoPro camera (Hero3+ and up) to your smartphone or tablet due to its new 3-axis Solo gimbal.
The drone can fly for about 20 minutes when using a camera and gimbal, while it can go around 25 minutes without them. It is equipped with a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor inside the drone along with another identical one fitted inside the controller. It also has 3DR’s new Pixhawk 2 autopilot.
The controller for the 3DR Solo Drone is a masterpiece in itself. Apart from its processor, it also has a ton of features that make it very easy to fly the drone and record amazing footage simultaneously. It is equipped with an adjustable arm that can fit a smartphone or a tablet and a number of button options to adjust and fly your drone, along with a controller screen to check your settings.
It also has complete control over your camera options and is equipped with a HDMI port so you can attach it to any media system. The controller can also be considered a sort of “black box” for your drone due to its dedicated Pause button that immediately halts the drone midair. The onscreen color display can relay any information about the drone’s flight and will even alert you incase of any problems.
The Solo has the ability to log the flight data on to the controller as opposed to logging it just on the drone. This is necessary and important because if you for some reason lose or damage your drone, you cannot find the data log. On the other hand, with this new system the 3DR support team can easily consult with the present log on the controller and find out the reason for the crash.
Since the controller uses a smartphone or tablet to monitor your drone’s movements, the iOS and Android application that has been created for compatibility...
The Ehang Ghost Drone is an easy to operate drone due to its controls that lie in a smartphone-based iOS/Android app available for download on any smartphone or tablet. Using this you can easily make it perform functions at the touch of a button and also set it to follow you around using GPS.
By adding an optional gimbal mount, the drone can carry a GoPro camera that can be additionally panned and tilted to get a clear and stedy shot. The app offers a Tilt function, which lets you steer the drone by just tilting the phone in the direction you want.
It uses an 11.1-volt 5,400-mAh lithium-polymer battery, which allows a flight time of about 30 minutes without the gimbal and camera, and about 20 with them. The drone uses an included "G-Box" to stay in contact with your phone and can work till about 1,000 meters (3,280 ft) away. Though, if the drone does lose contact, it will automatically come back to its takeoff point.
Wingsland S6 Foldable Pocket Selfie Drone
The Wingsland S6 RC Drone is an attractive mini UAV that boasts of an ultra slim body and can easily be carried around in your pocket. It is equipped with a 13MP camera as well as 3-axis EIS that makes it possible to capture stable and beautiful pictures and videos in 4K UHD at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 60fps.
The body of the drone has been in an ultra slim design that measures just 138 x 79 x 26.8mm in size and weighs 230g. It is one of the smallest drones to have 4K recording and is capable of some great aerial photography. The camera supports various features like panning, slow motion, time-lapse, auto following and flight path setting.
The drone also has omnidirectional obstacle avoidance due to its infrared detector, which can analyze and evade external obstacles from any direction to provide you a carefree flight.
It can be remotely controlled using the compatible and versatile application over Wi-Fi. It includes features like a virtual lever, gravity sensing, and voice control, as well as a Flight Simulator that allows you to learn and perfect flying the drone. The app will also let users edit their videos and pictures in an easy way, which can even later be shared to the Cloud.
Other features include a 6-axis gyro, infrared altimeter, high precision barometer, Dual mode GPS and 3 processors. The drone also has Automatic Following, FPV capabilities, Gravity Sense Control, Low-voltage Protection, One Key Automatic Return, One Key Landing, One Key Taking Off, Point of Interest and Selfie mode.
Apart from flying, there are also other ways of aerial entertainment with the Wingsland S6 RC Drone. It features extension interfaces on top of the drone’s protective guard. You can mount a Bomb Gun to launch bullets using the app, use the LED Expression Board that can display some cool emojis and text, and even use the Search Light to send SOS signals in the case of emergency.
The drone uses a 7.6V 1400mAh 10.64Wh (2S Li-Po) battery that provides a flight time of around 10 minutes, and has a control distance of about 120 meters.
Hover's Passport - Foldable Follow You Camera Drone
Foldability is a factor that is very sought after in the drones that are popular today and this can be seen with the case of the GoPro Karma and the DJI Mavic Pro. But there’s a new drone called the Zero Zero Robotics' Hover Camera Passport that is foldable in a new and innovative way, and is also fully enclosed. This means that the propellers are built inside of foldable carbon-fiber enclosure, that allows users to hold the drone from anywhere without getting cut by the propellers.
Once folded, the drone is about the same size as a VHS cassette tape, but is much lighter than you would think at 242 grams. It’s also not subject to the FAA's Hobbyist Drone Registration.
The Passport drone is an ultra-lightweight and very compact quadcopter that is powered using the Qualcomm's Snapdragon Flight platform. It is equipped with a 13MP camera that has the capability to record videos in 4K video and provide amazing, smooth footage.
Hover's Passport - Foldable Follow You Camera DroneHover's Passport - Foldable Follow You Camera Drone
It doesn’t come along with a controller and fliers can instead use an iOS or Android device via Wi-Fi to control it. This provides an approximately 20-meter range with a 5GHz connection, as well as up to 10 minutes of hovering time without wind. The drone can also fly at up to 8 m/s or around 18 mph horizontally and sues a 1360mAh battery.
The drone has some cool flying features and can automatically follow you by tracking your face or body, circle around a subject to record, and even shoot a 360-degree panorama video. It also starts flying with just the press of a button when on standby, and you can release it horizontally for it to hover away. Another trick is to grab it while it is flying in mid-air and point it downward to make the propellers slower, and then press the power button to completely stop it. These functions are possible due to the drone’s processor, sonar, downward-facing camera, as well as other sensors.
Hubsan H501S X4 FPV Quadcopter
Hubsan has a new quadcopter to offer and has introduced the Hubsan X4 H501S. It is an FPV quadcopter that features a modern and sleek design, along with a plethora of great features.
The quadcopter is equipped with a1080p camera to take great aerial videos and also has a transmitter that uses 5.8Ghz for video transmission. This allows fliers to view what they are recording on the transmitter. With a transmission range of 300+ meters, it can easily be used long distance and its great technology will still provide clear video quality.
The Hubsan X4 H501S also features onboard GPS and barometer, which makes it much simpler to use the quadcopter. Along with this it even has a headless mode and a return to home function that will make the quadcopter return home, or where it took off from, on command and not get lost. Headless mode and return to home functions will be easier to use due to the onboard GPS and barometer as these features work best with more sensors.
It has some more cool functions like altitude hold that allows fliers to keep the quadcopter at a certain level using the barometric pressure sensor. The other great feature is the “follow me function” that allows the quadcopter to follow the flier.
It uses brushless motor that use amazing technology to make the drone more powerful and durable. The propellers are precise and self-tightening to provide fliers with a better and safer flying experience.
When it comes to autonomous flying, the Hexo+ Drone has got it right! It is a rare camera drone that does not use a handheld remote, but is instead controlled using just a smartphone app. It can record videos with great precision that look like pro aerial cinematographers work and can perform specific camera moves.
These camera moves include pans, dollies, and circular motions that are easy to program using the app and have amazing effects on your recordings. It is completely capable of taking off, flying in the air and landing back on the ground, as well as of course, following you! This makes it easy for people using this as a sports and action camera to take pictures and cool videos of themselves without having to hold or mount a camera.
As there is no need to really pilot the drone, it uses a 3-axis gimbal (0° to 90° motion range on all 3 axis), predictive tracking algorithms and a camera movement mobile app. It uses data fusion algorithms to find your present location based on GPS and phone sensors, and thus has the ability to follow you easily.
The Hexo+ has max speeds of up to 45mph, allowing it to fly properly even when there are strong winds, while also being able to resist damage from slight drizzles. The drone is equipped with digital compass, GPS antenna and accelerometer. It features over 80 custom camera movements, and has a flight time of about 10 to 15 minutes on a single complete charge with its 5000 mAh 3S lithium-polymer battery.
The Hexo+ does not have a GoPro attached to it, so you will have to buy your own. It is compatible with the GoPro models - Hero 3, 3+ and Hero 4, and works seamlessly with the drone to provide great quality footage!
Yuneec Typhoon H Drone
Drone-maker Yuneec has created a new drone that can give the DJI Inspire 1 a run for its money, that too at 1/3rd the cost! Their new Yuneec Typhoon H Drone is a high-end UAV, which is available for $1799, as compared to its DJI competition that sells for a whooping $3,000.
The Typhoon H comes with some unique features and professional-level performance due to its hexacopter design of six rotors that are fixed to the drone using collapsible carbon fiber arms. It also features carbon fiber retractable landing gear that provides unhindered footage from its 360-degree rotating gimbal camera when flying in the air. It is equipped with sonar sensors in the front that keep it from banging into large obstacles, as well as an added sensor module placed beneath for flying indoors, without the need of GPS.
The design is small and easily portable, and the drone measures just 12.1x10.6x10 inches when are arms are down and the propellers are removed. It also includes safety features like geofencing, no fly zones, variable speed control and dynamic and low-battery return to home functions. It is also equipped with a failsafe system that allows the drone to stay stable and land safely even when the motor fails.
"We've engineered the Typhoon H to redefine what customers should expect to pay for a drone with such an array of professional features. At this price point, no other drone comes close to the Typhoon H in terms capability and value," said Yuneec International Chief Executive Officer Yu Tian.
Yuneec will also be adding a module to the drone that uses Intel RealSense technology for avoid collision, along with further camera options like a superior IR camera.
To control the Yuneec Typhoon H Drone, fliers can use the included Android-based ST16 controller, which is equipped with a 7-inch integrated touch-screen. Fliers can easily see the footage shot by the camera in FPV, and also get important flight info, as well as adjust and set up autonomous flight plans with new capture modes – Point of Interest, Orbit, Curved Cable and Journey...
Hubsan X4 Pro H109s Quadcopter
The Hubsan X4 Pro quadcopter (H109s) is a mid-sized quadcopter that has been designed for aerial photography and video capturing. It is being tooted as one of the best the company has produced and will have a ton of features that can even give tough competition to the existing DJI Phantom 2.
The drone was originally supposed to be released in 2014, but the company decided against it and has spent the time improving upon the drone and it is now finally available in the market after a long wait.
Hubsan X4 Pro H109s Quadcopter
The X4 Pro Delux Quadcopter comes with a 1080p Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal for providing amazing flight and footage. It records at 30fps and the pictures have a resolution of 4032 x 3024 with an FOV of up to 170°. The gimbal provides control angle accuracy of 0.01° and is compatible with the included HBS1080P, as well as the GoPro HERO3, HERO3+, and HERO4.
It has a flight time of about 40 minutes depending on the number of accessories that the drone is using. It is also an ready-to-fly (RTF) model, which means that all the needed hardware comes with it and only basic assembly has to be taken care of before flying.
This Delux bundle of the H109s comes with the quadcopter, and a 2.4 GHz transmitter that has a 7" screen with 1280 x 720p resolution and a 5.8 GHz video receiver. It features dual sticks for easy flying and the touchscreen allows real-time FPV monitoring via video feed, while also providing flight data awareness and programming ease.