Imagine a self-flying camera methodically hunting you down wherever you go. The idea may not seem pleasant in the beginning unless you’re not a fan of consumer drone. However, if you are really into capturing your daily life moments at different angles, then this self-flying camera may interest you. Skydio R1 is known to be world’s first fully-functional, autonomous consumer drone that gives us a peek at the future of robotic aviation technology. Here’s our Skydio Review for you.
To be honest, for most people, the purpose of a consumer drone still remains indistinct. It totally depends on the people who may want to use it for different purposes in different fields. It can be a great tool for aerial photography and video, for surveying empty plots and crowded real estate, for measuring agricultural yield and also for helping climate model the Arctic.
However, the idea of a self-flying camera for the everyday consumer still remains somewhat nebulous. Surely, as the self-flying cameras are becoming cheaper, smaller, and more sophisticated, a lot of people may purchase them considering them to be cool gadgets that can be a fun to fly around the places where there is no restriction imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
How Does Skydio R1 Work?
The Skydio R1 is a user-friendly consumer drone, trying its best to keep up with you and making sure to capture every great moment of your life with its one big blue eye.
What distinguishes Skydio R1 from other consumer drones is that it doesn’t need a pilot for controlling it – it flies on its own. You do not need any remote control to operate this self-flying camera. Using the 12 of its 13 onboard cameras, it quickly maps the environment around it in 3D. It senses obstacles coming in its way – be it trees, people, buildings, etc., and then quickly plans and readjusts its flight paths accordingly.
All you need to do is, launch the drone via its mobile app and then go on exploring nature. You may go out for a walk or for a quick jog out in the park and let the drone follow you, taking your shots at different camera angles. You can also mount on the bike and cycle around the city, letting the R1 follow you with ease.
There are two options to launch off the R1: you can either do it from your hand or launch it off from the ground. We would recommend launching it off from your hand because once you do, it powers up the propellers until it starts moving away from you and then flies out a couple of meters while fixing its big eye on you.
Not even for once, R1 loses your sight and tries its best to keep up with your pace while capturing your perfect shots in 4K. With its 4K camera, it captures your stunning shots as well as the environment around you.
That’s what the company aimed for – capturing your real-life adventurous moments without getting disrupted by any obstacles while it’s filming.
As discussed above, R1 is fully autonomous consumer drone, tracking you down the path as it continues to zip around. Apart from ardently following you, it also predicts your path and keeps wandering in front of you. As you move, it orbits around you or simply follow you along from the side. You just need to set the mode, launch the drone and let it move along you.
This self-flying drone comes with options for manual controls as well but it eschews the big-sized drone controller and prefers a simple, single-handed control system available on the Skydio app that works on your mobile phone.
The Skydio Mobile App
To our much surprise, the Skydio app is incredibly simple, offering a wide range of tracking modes that allow you to swipe through them quite easily. The process of setting up the drone for its first flight was quite simple as you’re required to connect to the drone through a password and glide through a couple of instructions shown on the app.
The good thing about the Skydio app is that it doesn’t overwhelm you with complex controls and flight data. If you know how to operate the camera app on your phone, then you can surely handle the R1 really well.
The Downsides of Skydio R1
Surely, the Skydio R1 seems like a pretty cool self-flying gadget but it has also a few downsides. The first being its big size. Though the company persists that it is small enough to fit superbly inside a backpack, we still doubt it unless we’re carrying a big-sized backpack. Despite its body feeling lightweight and substantial, the rigidity of its outer frame and its overall huge size can make you reluctant for carrying it around the places where you know you won’t be able to keep it safe.
The other downside of R1 is that it’s purely controlled through a Wi-Fi network connection. This feature limits its core utility when it comes to tracking people who are not holding the phone devices. For instance, if you set the drone one another person and in case he sprints off and moves to another direction, the R1 may lose the signal and come to a stop, demanding it to be reconnected to the Wi-Fi connection.
Another problem of R1 is that it is highly overpriced. For $2499, it offers features that may attract the customers in the beginning but even they wouldn’t be willing to spend that much amount in the first place. This consumer drone does really have a tight niche as it only targets those people who would want to explore their own crazy adventures by paying a high price for it. For instance, this gadget may attract vloggers or hikers who go on taking plenty of solo trips in the great outdoor places. For them, it would be a great purchase, albeit a super-expensive one.
Putting all the good and bad stuff of Skydio R1 aside, we really appreciate the intelligence of its software as it really can make a huge difference and turn even the most mundane outdoor experiences into an incredible aerial montage. Though its competitor, DJI is trying its level best to be in the front of the pack, for now, it is safe to assume that R1 leads the pack in the consumer drone market. We hope our Skydio review has been helpful for you to decide whether you’d want to invest in or not.