If you're like me, you aren't the type to purchase items before they are released. There are many questions to ask yourself. Will the product be released when promised? Will it include all the features as advertised? Will these features even work when it's released? All of these pleasant thoughts are enough to keep you from pressing the Pre-Order button. In spite of all this, you are always looking for the latest and greatest drones to come out. It seems that there are more and more promises of the "perfect drone" that does it all. There are follow me features, auto takeoff, retractable landing gear, and even waterproof drones. Well, some drones may be worth it, and pre-ordering them may be a great way to get an awesome drone first and cheaper than when it's released. In this post, we will be looking at 3 drones that focus primarily on the follow me function. Each one hoping to take the drone world by storm.
1. Air Dog
We start our list with the Air Dog. This new follow me drone by the company by the same name looks to find a niche in the action sports world. This quadcopter is seen in videos for action sports such as jet skiiing, kite surfing, BMX, wakeboarding, paragliding, cycling, skateboarding, surfing and even basejumping. It seems clear who Air Dog is trying to cater to. This follow me drone boasts a durable and light weight construction which makes it portable for use out in potentially desolate areas where many action sports take place. This will definitely be a selling point since I can't imagine carrying heavy and expensive equipment everywhere, especially with all my other gear. To aid in this portability, the Air Dog drone has a foldable body and props. That's pretty cool if you ask me. Air Dog currently has over 1,250 sponsors who have pre-ordered the Air Dog drone and they have raised over $2 million dollars.
- Auto takeoff and landing
- GoPro Compatible
- Pre-Order Price: $1,295
- Planned release date: September, 2015
- FLIGHT TIME: 10-20 minutes flight time depending on flight speed
- BATTERY: Interchangeable 14.8 V, 5500mAh, LiPo batteries
- WIND RESISTANCE: Wind resistance up to 28 knots (14 m/s)
- TOP SPEED: Top speed, 40 mph (software limited)
- RANGE: AirLeash range up to 1000 feet (300m)
- OPERATIONAL CEILING: Operational ceiling, 14000 feet above sea level (4300 m)
- WEIGHT: Total weight 4 lbs (1.85kg) with battery and GoPro camera
Next is the Hexo+, "your self flying camera". The Hexo+ is a drone that has been developed by Xavier de Le Rue, Pro Snowboarder. This drone came out of the frustration de la Rue had with current drone offerings in the extreme sports world. The Hexo+ is a hexacopter that strives to make capturing excellent aerial photography easier for extreme athletes. The Hexo+ design hopes to make the film it captures more stable than other quadcopters using a six engine design. The Hexo+ offers completely autonomous flight, which allows the user to focus on the action they are capturing instead of worrying about the shot. Video can be taken from any angle around the user, capturing the activity from different points of view as desired. The drone is controlled using an included app on your smartphone, which boosts a smooth and simple experience. The Hexo+ attempt to take the hard work out of you next film project. "From setting up your shoot, to automatic takeoff and landing, to reviewing, editing and sharing footage online, every step has been thoughtfully designed to make sure filming is fun. Not sifting through hours of footage or using gaffer tape too much."
- Follow me
- Auto takeoff and landing
- Hexacopter design for smooth filming
- Included mobile app
- Pre Order Price $1,299
- Planned release date : September 2015
- Flight Time: 15-25 min
- Top Speed: 45mph
- Range: up to 2km
- Weight: 2.2 pounds
Last but not least is the Plexidrone by Dream QII. The Plexidrone is a follow me drone that is very portable. The drone breaks down and can be snapped together in one minute. It also has an available hard shell backpack that you can throw on and take anywhere you want to go. One great feature of the Plexidrone is obstacle avoidance. This is a game changer. Being able to know that if you get too close to something, your drone will avoid it and save your expensive equipment, priceless. Also, depending on your needs, the Plexidrone has payload clips that allow you to change your camera or accessory to whatever you want. No more changing gimbals, just clip and go. Plexidrone also has "swarming technology". One single user can control 3 or more drones to get the same shot from different angles. No other drone is capable of this yet. We'll see if they can pull it off in the end.
Plexidrone has also reached out to sponsors to aid in bringing this drone to market. Their crowdfunding campaign has brought in over $2 million. With plans for upgrades and more surprises, Plexidrone could look a lot different when it is finally released. We will have to wait and see.
- Follow Me
- Obstacle Avoidance
- Payload Clips
- Retractable Landing Gear
- Swarm Technology
- Pre Order Price $699-$979
- Planned Release Date: September 2015
- Flight Time: 20-29 minutes
- Top Speed: 37-42 mph
- Weight 2.2 pounds
The list above is not exhaustive by any means, but it does give a good representation of some of the best drones you can pre-order now. Expect at least one to land on top of the best selling drones list over the next couple of years. Comment below about which drone you can't wait to see in action.