Introducing the Skydio, a San Francisco-based startup found by three MIT alumni has recently developed an autonomous video capturing drone that is set to officially change the game for everyone.
Dubbed as the selfie drone (which is nothing new) it has the ability to track and film a subject in 4K, while cleverly navigating any environment and reaching speeds of up to 40km per hour.
Called the R1, the artificial intelligence-powered quadcopter captures omnidirectional video using its 13 cameras to map and interpret the world in real-time, letting it safely avoid obstacles as it films you. More like a driverless car with level-four autonomy, R1's system integrates advanced algorithm components spanning perception, planning and control which give it unique intelligence.
There is an app that goes with the R1, that can be used to launch and land the drone as well as presetting it to certain filming and flying conditions. The system uses computer vision to determine the location of objects while a deep neural network compiles information allowing the drone to build up a unique visual identification of each individual.
The data gets fed into a motion-planning system, which pinpoints a subject's location and predicts their next move. It also recognises manoeuvring limit in one is to optimise filming. Finally, the control system takes all information to execute the drone's plan in real time.
The lightweight drone can fit into an average backpack and is available to purchase for $2,500. "Our goal with our first product is to deliver on the promise of an autonomous flying camera that understands where you are, understands the scene around it, and can move itself to capture amazing video you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get," says Adam Bry, co-founder and CEO of Skydio.
Skydio launched in 2014 and is releasing the R1 to consumers this week, in the meantime, have a look at the video below to learn more about the 'selfie drone'.