Looking for the best follow-me drones for sports tracking? We curated a list of the most efficient follow-me drones for accurate sports tracking. Check it out!
Follow-me drones are beneficial for sports and cinematic photography. Stay connected to know more. The best follow-me drones not only follow you but also avoid obstacles with pinpoint accuracy. Read on to know more.
Drones have almost monopolized Aerial photography ever since they were introduced. However, controlling them manually is a hassle and often inaccurate and risky.
With the advancement of GPS and motion-tracking technology, that’s almost eliminated. Follow-me drones seamlessly follow specific persons or objects, recording them. While at the same time, they avoid obstacles with the help of their complex software.
It used to be only pre-programmed flight paths to let the drones function somewhat autonomously. But that has changed now.
They came into the picture in 2016 and had been using not only GPS but also their own systems like Orbit, ActiveTrack, etc., to track and film a given object without needing any guidance from their users. They have even found their use in the police force and army for conducting surveillance.
In this article, we’ve covered the top 5 Follow-me drones and debriefed what characteristics to look for when purchasing them.
Top Follow-me Drones For Sports Tracking
We’ve studied hundreds of drones and handpicked these 5 based on expert opinion and user reviews.
#1 — DJI Mavic Air 2:
One of the most sought-after Follow-me drones, DJI Mavic Air 2, uses state-of-the-art technology for tracking an object and avoiding obstacles. Amazon’s choice program even recommends it.
- It gives you a whopping 34 minute flight time.
- It can record videos in 4k/60 fps with its 3-axis gimbal camera.
- It can fly at a max speed of 42.3 mph.
- It uses one top-notch software, ActiveTrack 3.0, to keep you in the frame no matter what comes in between.
#2 — Drone X Pro LIMITLESS 3:
Another great drone won the hearts of customers with its 4.5 stars review. It even comes with a travel case for portability.
- It features an auto-return home system.
- It has a 4000 feet long flight range.
- 3-axis gimbal 4k camera with anti-shake technology enables seamless video capture with crystal-clear pictures.
- It has a laser-guided EVO obstacle-avoidance system.
- 5G FPV WiFi allows the drone to transfer pictures and videos to your mobile phone instantly.
#3 — DJI Mini 2:
The DJI Mini 2 is advertised as the lightweight cousin of the bigger DJI drones. It packs almost the same punch in a foldable, smaller package.
- It features a 4k 3-axis gimbal camera.
- The powerful WiFi can transmit videos from up to 10km.
- It has a battery backup of 31 minutes.
- It can take off to 4000 meters and resist level 5 winds.
#4 — Autel Robotics EVO 2:
Another groundbreaking drone boasts an 8k camera, the 2nd highest quality available in the market right now. It also has its own 32 Gigabytes of internal storage.
- It features Dynamic Tracking 2.0 with 19 sensors for 360° obstacle avoidance.
- The drone can fly for 40 minutes with a max flight speed of up to 45 mp on a full charge.
- The Autel app for smartphones can turn your phone into a streaming device AND a controller.
- It makes minimum noise with its rotors.
#5 — Holy Stone 2K
The last drone in the list doesn’t feature a robust camera like the other ones, but it still outperforms a lot of other drones in performance and costs less.
- It’s easy to carry and assemble.
- It features a 720p wide-angle adjustable camera.
- The battery provides 18 min of flight time to take the perfect shot.
- The drone will automatically return home on low battery or signal loss.
What is Follow-me Drone Technology:
Before this groundbreaking technology came, the best drones could do was use GPS-guided flying systems for automation. GPS devices like the Yuneec Wizard could be fitted on the drone for smart tracking of a moving object or person. However, they were not very efficient at obstacle avoidance, and hence came the next generation of technology.
Drones with customizable flight paths became prevalent in later periods. The AirDog II used a mix of both GPS-guided tracking and pre-programmed flight path to keep the object in focus while still following the track.
The DJI Phantom 4 took the market by storm with its unique sensor that could detect obstacles. It was programmed cleverly to stall the drone and veer away from the obstacle to prevent crashes. It would still follow the required object or person after returning to track. However, one sensor didn’t do the job so well, so companies worked over the years to add more.
The DJI ActiveTrack function enabled the drones to take cinematic shots by keeping the object in the center.
Present-day drones have Omni-directional sensors to avoid obstacles compared to the single frontal sensor in 2017. So technology indeed has come a long way. There are a plethora of options to choose from right now, with only the budget limiting you from going bonkers!
To sum up, follow-me technology enables the drone to autonomously follow you while avoiding all kinds of obstacles, keeping up with your speed no matter if you’re driving, running, skating, or swimming. In complex drones, image processing technologies can detect what kind of object is in front of the drone. It can also create complex flight modes in quadcopters.
How Do Follow-me Drones Work?
The Follow-me system can work in 2 different ways:
Follows your phone or the controller by maintaining a fixed distance. It also tries to keep you in the frame.
- Vision Recognition tech:
This is the latest system that works by processing the image of objects and making real-time calculations to track them while also avoiding obstacles. It then passes that information to the processor.
How can follow-me drones aid in sports tracking?
If you need to track a particular sport which is difficult to track or film using typical technologies, then you can use a follow-me drone. For instance, if you want to track the Tour de France or a Yacht race in progress, you need to use a follow-me drone which is programmed to follow a transmitter that can be placed on any one of the participants. It creates a virtual tether between the drone and the GPS-enabled transmitter/mobile device and ensures seamless coverage and tracking of the sport.
What Are The Multiple Aspects of Follow-me Technology?
Modern drones are mostly made of Vision Recognition Technology. With that in mind, the following things are the criteria that separate the average drones from the good ones:
Software Elements Of Follow-me Technology:
The software for these drones is usually built within the phone app that comes with them. If not, the ground station controller comes equipped with it. The software is what decides the drone’s obstacle-avoidance capability and flight safety. Most GPS drones come with simple follow-me algorithms that have no obstacle-avoiding capacity. So they should only be used in huge, open areas.
Drones like DJI, Autel, and especially Skydio 2 are equipped with advanced tracking software, which is AI-based and acts like a completely autonomous vehicle.
- Distance or Range:
The follow-me range is the distance from which the drone can follow you. It also states how far an obstacle has to be before the drone can detect it. This property is entirely dependent on how much you’re willing to pay.
Cheaper GPS drones only offer a fixed range of 5-15 meters, while the high-end ones can detect you from tens of meters or more, and the range is flexible as well, meaning it adapts to the usage.
- Flight Safety:
As explained above, flight safety is entirely influenced by the kind of software the drone uses. You can get away with GPS-guided drones if you only plan to use them in open areas for simple shots.
However, people into adventures and extreme sports should invest in something like DJI Mavic Air 2 for its flight safety and following capabilities.
How To Choose the best Follow-me Drone for Sports Tracking?
While purchasing one, consider these features for the best value for your money:
- Battery Life and Range:
Battery life decides the runtime of the drone before it needs a recharge, so always choose one that fits your usage. We recommend going for those that can at least provide 15 minutes of runtime.
The Drone range is different from the follow-me range. It is the furthest it can go away from the controller or mobile phone before the signal stops reaching it. Drones with higher ranges are costlier, so choose one that suits your purpose.
The final nail in the coffin that decides how much a drone can outperform its competitors is its camera. Dual-axis cameras are always preferred for smooth videos. 1080p HD is the sweet spot for the camera’s video quality. You can throw in some more bucks to go straight to the 4k, the current standard.
Also, keep in mind that some drones do not come with a camera but have a camera mount instead where you can fit a GoPro. So if you want your custom camera with all the desirable features, you may go for such types of drones.
Make sure the pre-equipped camera has a gimbal stabilizer since it prevents the photos or video from being choppy or blurry.
Your choice finally boils down to personal preference and requirements with all the different options. The budget plays an important factor too, so if you’re not a professional, try your hands on the cheaper drones before moving on to more advanced ones.
Keep in mind that you require a license for drones in most countries. Go over the rules in your place for a safe and legal drone flight.
Follow-me Drones for Sports Tracking: FAQs
- What is the cost of Follow-me drones?
It can range from USD 300 to USD 3000 and even more. But for beginners, drones under USD 1000 should be enough to start with.
- Can police use drones for surveillance?
Law enforcement officers are entitled to use drones for surveillance and collecting evidence.
- Will Mavic Mini follow me?
No. Unfortunately, the Mavic Mini doesn’t have a follow-me feature. It needs to be manually controlled.