Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
Drones have evolved from just flying toys to devices that can accomplish complex professional and hobbyist’s tasks. And the type of drones that’s gaining popularity are the Follow-me drones.
These drones allow you to capture the “action” without worrying about controlling the drone.
You could be running, driving, or pedaling a kayak, and the drone will capture every moment at your desired angle. But with all the hype surrounding these drones, not all of them perform as expected or advertised.
Lucky for you, I have rounded up 7 of the best follow-me drones in the market based on my experiences and expert opinions. But first, let’s see a Follow-me drone works exactly.
Table of contents
- What Is Follow-Me Mode?
- Why Is Follow-Me Mode Useful?
- How to Ensure Safety With the Follow-Me mode?
- Top 7 Follow-me Drones in the Market:
- DJI Phantom 4 Pro:
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro:
- Skydio 2:
- Yuneec Typhoon H:
- Holy Stone HS720:
- Autel Robotics Evo and Evo II:
- Potensic D88:
What Is Follow-Me Mode?
The follow-me technology allows the drone to automatically track/follow you or the object of interest.
The first drone with a follow-me feature was released in 2016, and this tech has been updated since then.
And in most cases, a drone with a follow-me mode will have other intelligent flight modes such as orbiting, rotating, or even 360 degrees turns.
Currently, there are two ways that a drone can follow you;
Through GPS Transmitters:
Some drones are designed to work with GPS-enabled devices – this could be your Ground Station Controller (GSC), your smartphone, or tablet.
In this case, the drone will follow the device’s transmitter while keeping the subject in the frame. Such drones can track a moving object or a stationary object by orbiting around it.
Most of the latest drones track the object using sensors. They use machine learning and high-level software to track the subject without relying on GPS.
Why Is Follow-Me Mode Useful?
When coupled up with high-quality cameras, the Follow-Me mode can help take complex cinematic shots.
This is because you pre-plan the flight pattern, especially if the drone is compatible with waypoints technology.
Cyclists, mountaineers, and athletes also use the follow-me mode to film their escapades at different angles. This also helps them improve.
The Follow-Me mode is also fun.
How to Ensure Safety With the Follow-Me mode?
As fascinating as this technology is, you could easily crash your drone if you’re not careful. Below are some of the ways to avoid accidents.
- Maintain a short distance between you and the drone at first. When you’re too far, you risk losing the connection between the drone and the transmitter.
- Ensure your drone has obstacle-avoidance systems. If it doesn’t, then use the follow-me mode in open areas or program your drone to fly at higher altitudes.
- You should also activate the return-to-home function in case the drone loses the connection along the way.
Top 7 Follow-me Drones in the Market:
Now let’s look at some of the best follow-me drones. These drones also have high-quality cameras, stabilization mechanisms, and flight modes.
So, they’ll not only follow you, but they can also help accomplish other hobbyist and professional tasks.
But before we go into details, below is a summary of these drones;
|DJI Phantom 4 Pro|
Intelligent Flight modes – TapFly, Terrain Follow Mode, ActiveTrack, etc.5-directional obstacle avoidance mechanisms4K video resolutionOcuSync 2.030 minutes flight timeCollision avoidance
|$1500 to $2000|
|DJI Mavic 2 Pro|
Hasselblad camera1-inch sensor and 4K resolutionFollow-me modes – tracing, parallel, spotlight31 minutes flight time6.2 miles rangeCollision avoidance
|$1400 to $2000|
GPS transmitter and recognition follow-me technology.4K resolution and 12 MP sensors23 minutes flight timeHover, Angle track, cable cam flight modes.2.17 miles rangeCollision avoidance
|Yuneec Typhoon H|
6-rotor hexagonal designCGO3+ camera – 4K video and 12MP photosIntel RealSense Collision avoidanceGPS transmitter and Wizard stick follow-me modes25 minutes flight time
|$1500 to $2500|
|Holy Stone HS720|
No obstacle avoidance3000 feet range26 minutes flight time4K HD video resolutionGSC follow-me tech
|Less than $300|
|Autel Robotics Evo and Evo II|
DynamicTrack, Orbit, Viewpoint flight modes40 minutes flight timeOmnidirectional obstacle sensorsUp to 8K resolution
|$1000 to $2000|
4K resolution1-axis (90 degrees) gimbalUltrasonic and optic sensorsGPS transmitter follow-me mode
|Less than $300|
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro:
DJI Phantom drones are some of the most popular professional drones. DJI released the latest Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 in 2018, but they later discontinued it in 2019.
However, since many people were fascinated by its features, the V2.0 was re-introduced in January 2020. So, what makes it the perfect follow-me drone?
- Besides the follow-me feature, it comes with 5-directional obstacle avoidance mechanisms. So, you can have it follow you in areas with numerous obstacles without worrying about the drone crashing into them.
- Intelligent Flight modes – TapFly, Terrain Follow Mode, ActiveTrack, Waypoints, Gesture Mode, Tripod Mode, and beginner mode.
- 4K camera for high-quality videos and state-of-the-art stabilization mechanism for flawless footage.
- OcuSync 2.0 for long-range transmission of HD videos. It also supports FPV mode.
Who is this product for?
- DJI Phantom 4 is designed for professional surveying projects and 3D imaging. It’s compatible with most 3D imaging photogrammetry software.
- This video shows an athlete tracking herself as she runs through an irregular terrain. She goes behind a boulder at one point, and we can see the drone didn’t lose sight of her throughout the run.
- And this video shows that the ActiveTrack mode can track any moving object you set it on.
- It offers excellent value for money.
- High-quality videos.
- Obstacle-avoidance mechanisms make it a great follow-me drone.
- Accurate GPS
- Extended flight-time.
- The gimbal may make a screeching sound.
- It’s bulky.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro:
If you’re looking for a follow-me drone that does more than just follow you, you could never go wrong with the DJI Mavic drone series.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro features DJI’s ActiveTrack that lets you select the subject to follow from the app’s screen for starters. It’s also perfect for cars, boats, or when you’re running fast since it has a top speed of 45 mph.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro can follow the subject in three different ways;
This is where the drone maintains a constant distance from the subject and keeps it in the frame at all times.
In this mode, the drone can track you from the side or the front. It allows you to film yourself, or the moving subject, at different angles.
In this mode, the drone doesn’t follow the subject. Instead, the camera will be facing the subject at all times as you control the drone.
It comes with the latest DJI’s ActiveTrack 2.0, which creates a 3D map around the object. This enables it to predict where the object will go.
Even when there’s an obstacle like a tree or a hill. Below is a video of how exactly this tech works;
Other fascinating features about this drone include;
- State of the art Hasselblad camera – it’s the first DJI drone to feature this camera.
- 1-inch sensor and 4K resolution videos at 100Mbps.
- OcuSync 2.0 for long-range transmissions (up to 6.2 miles). It also allows you to stream a 1080p video on the goggles or on your smartphone’s screen.
- Obstacle sensing and collision-avoidance mechanisms that make it one of the safest drone out there.
- 31-Minutes Battery life.
- Hyperlapse feature that allows you to autonomously create time lapses.
Who is this product for?
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro is one of the best small consumer drones that are perfect for aerial photography and filming. Its foldable design also gives it an edge over the Phantom.
- With the collision avoidance mechanism and various ActiveTrack modes, filmmakers and athletes can use it to take complex shots and film at different angles, respectively.
- It’s easily portable thanks to the small foldable design.
- Effective follow-me mode thanks to ActiveTrack and multi-directional collision-avoidance.
- It produces high-quality images and videos.
- Extended battery life.
- It’s expensive.
- There’s no stabilization for the Hyperlapse feature, and it only takes photos at 1080p resolution.
Third on our list is the latest Skydio 2 drone. It took the industry by a storm thanks to the integrated NVidia Jetson computer and the numerous obstacle avoidance sensors.
And like most prosumer drones, it features 4K video resolution at 60 FPS and 12 MP sensors for high-quality photography. As a matter of fact, it has 6 of these cameras, which are designed to enhance obstacle-avoidance.
Skydio 2 was released in 2019 as an upgrade to the Skydio R1. To give you even more reasons to trust this drone, it was designed by MIT graduates who also participated in launching Google’s drone project, Project Wing.
But all of that wouldn’t mean anything if it didn’t have the follow-me feature. Well, it does, and it works better than in most drones.
Skydio 2’s Follow-me Feature:
Skydio 2 utilizes both the GPS transmitters and the recognition methods I mentioned earlier.
For recognition, it utilizes the Skydio Autonomy Engine to predict and visualize the subject’s “next move.” It also uses cameras to build a 3D map around the subject, including any obstacles that are around.
For GPS, Skydio 2 comes with a beacon. As long as this beacon is in range, the drone will keep following it even though it can’t see the subject.
Besides the follow-me feature, it also has other intelligent flight modes such as the;
- Angle track
- Cable Cam.
Who Is This Product For?
- Clearly, this drone was designed for those who love filming themselves when partaking in various activities.
- For those who are looking for a mapping drone, this drone is also compatible with DroneDeploy.
- Accurate follow-me features.
- High-quality videos.
- Flawless autonomous flight modes.
- Flying manually can be quite glitchy.
- It has a limited connection range between the drone and the controller.
Yuneec Typhoon H:
Featuring a unique hexagonal (6-rotor) design and retractable landing gears, Yuneec Typhoon H is one of the most popular commercial drones. It also features 12 MP sensors and 4K video resolution for professional imaging.
The retracting gears clear the way for the gimbal to rotate at 360 degrees. Another unique feature of this drone is the Intel RealSense Tech that enhances collision avoidance.
And what’s more, it has two follow-me modes;
GSC/GPS transmitter –
This is where the drone follows a transmitter in the controller.
Wizard control –
Like the beacon in the Skydio drone, the drone can follow the Wizard stick. The drone creates a tether to the stick, and as long it’s within the range, the drone will not lose sight of the subject.
Other flight modes include;
Point of interest –
Where the orbits around the selected subject.
Just like in the point of interest, the drone circles around you while adjusting the camera to focus on you at all times.
Curved cable cam –
This mode works similarly to waypoints. This is where you plan a path with specific coordinates, and the drone will follow this path while adjusting the camera autonomously.
Here, the drone shoots to a higher altitude (up to 150 feet) and takes an “aerial selfie.”
Who is this product for?
- This is a professional drone that takes great videos and photos thanks to the 20MP sensor, 3-axis gimbal, and 4K video resolution.
- The gimbal also offers excellent stabilization for photogrammetry applications. It’s also suitable with various 3D photogrammetry software.
- You can also install a thermal camera to monitor areas affected by fires.
- It’s easy to set up and use.
- It’s suitable for most professional applications.
- It’s bulky and heavy.
Holy Stone HS720:
A drone that can follow you doesn’t have to be that expensive. I know most of the drones I have reviewed cost at least $1000.
But if you’re looking for a budget drone with advanced features, you’ll love the Holy Stone HS720. So, what does it have to offer?
For starters, it costs less than $300, which is a good price for beginners seeking to upgrade from toy drones.
Despite being a cheap drone, it still manages 4K HD videos and a 26 minutes flight time.
The RTH (return-to-home) feature allows the drone to return to the station when the battery is about to die or when it loses the connection to the controller.
It also folds to a compact size that makes it easier to move around with.
And it’s capable of following you through the GPS-enabled follow-me technology.
However, unlike the other pricey drones, it has no obstacle avoidance sensors. So, you have to use it in wide-open areas.
Who is this product for?
- Vloggers and hobbyists who need to film their adventures without spending thousands of dollars on a drone.
- Beginners who want to gain more experience in flying and photography before going for a more advanced drone.
- It’s cheap and beginner-friendly.
- High-quality videos for a cheap drone.
- Compact sized and suitable to carry around.
- It has longer battery life.
- The battery takes too long to be fully charged – up to 8 hours.
Autel Robotics Evo and Evo II:
In 2020, Autel Robotics released a new drone, the Evo II, which came as an upgrade to the Autel Robotics Evo. Now, the Evo was not that bad.
Evo II came with a 7.2 km range, a 720p HD live feed resolution, 30 minutes flight time, and an OLED screen on the controller.
It also has 3 ways to follow you;
You can also pre-plan a flight by setting up waypoints. The fascinating about this drone is obstacle detection and collision avoidance.
Autel Robotics created an algorithm that allows this drone to detect several obstacles and automatically plan the path ahead while keeping the subject in sight. It can also fly itself back home and scan the landing area to make sure it’s level.
What about the camera? It can record 4K videos at 60FPS and 12MP photos. It also has an integrated 3-axis gimbal for stabilizing the footage.
Autel Robotics improved on this in their latest release whereby, Evo II came with a 40 minutes flight-time, omnidirectional collision avoidance, Dynamic track 2.0, orbit, Parallel Track, ViewPoint, and several other flight modes.
Who is this product for?
Considering the price and advanced tracking and camera features, Autel Evo drones are best suited for professional photography.
Evo II also achieves 8K resolution and 4X zooming capabilities, which would be unnecessary for hobbyist photographers who don’t need such a high resolution.
- Advanced follow-me technology.
- High-quality videos and photos.
- It gives you more control over the camera features compared to other drones.
- Evo II can be quite aggressive when following a subject. This makes the footage shaky and less suitable for professional applications.
Potensic is another reputable drone manufacturing company. They are famous for some advanced drones such as the T25.
The D88 was built with the beginner in mind. But it still has the 4K resolution, which is a bonus for hobbyists. There’s also a 1-axis gimbal to stabilize the images.
Potensic D88 drones have a gorgeous aluminum look, and the manufacturer offers an aluminum case where you can place the drone and other accessories. And since it’s light and foldable, it can easily fit in your backpack among other tools.
Potensic D88 follows you by establishing a connection with your mobile device’s GPS. You can also make it Orbit around you or make it follow pre-determined waypoints.
Other features include;
Headless mode –
This is the mode that allows the drone to maintain the orientation it took off with. This mode is suitable for beginners.
Dual GPS –
This allows it to connect to various GLONASS and GPS drones.
Ultrasonic and optical sensors –
These sensors stabilize the drone and allow it to fly indoors or when it can’t connect to any satellites.
Who is this product for?
- A beginner who wants to join in on the drone-flying and photography hobby.
- The camera and gimbal aren’t suitable for professional photography.
- The sensors and dual GPS ensure a stable flight.
- Excellent value for money.
- It also comes with 2 batteries that offer up to 40 minutes of flight time.
- Some users complain that it only comes with one battery and extra batteries weren’t easy to find.
Don’t let that cool adventure or that move you learned in your sport go to waste. Get yourself a Follow-me drone and capture the moment in different ways.
As you may have observed, Follow-me is just one of the features these drones have to offer. So, consider other extra functionalities you may require when getting one of these drones.
According to me, the Skydio 2 is a winner if you’re looking for an all-around drone with advanced follow-me features.
Skydio 2 offers two ways to track you – a beacon and recognition software. And it also achieves 4K resolution, has a 12Mp camera, and several other smart features.