iOS-connected AirDog & Hexo+ drones both auto-follow users for aerial footage

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2014
The next generation of iOS-compatible flying camera drones appears to be focused on autonomy, as two upcoming devices promise to fly, follow and record users on their own with no piloting necessary.




A pair of high-profile Kickstarter campaigns for the Hexo+ and AirDog both show new types of aerial drones that are focused on auto-follow technology. Each device will dynamically track and record a user as they move, making the cameras more intelligent than current drone offerings like the DJI Phantom or Parrot AR.Drone.

With 29 days to go in its crowd funding campaign, The Squadrone System Hexo+ has already blown past its $50,000 goal, earning nearly $300,000 as of Monday. Its system is shown utilizing an iPhone application that presents users with a 3D model of their camera's point of view.

Using multi-touch, users will be able to pinch and set the distance between the subject and the drone. Then the iPhone app can be used to activate the drone's flight, allowing it to fly to a pre-set position and wait for the subject to begin moving.

From there, the drone will follow and film that subject, providing unique aerial footage without any additional input required.




The Hexo+ has its own GPS, and tracks a user carrying their iPhone with the accompanying app. The two devices talk to each other through a "Mavlink protocol" that allows the drone to follow and record.

The AirDog takes a slightly different approach, following the user through dedicated hardware called the AirLeash. This small, waterproof tracking device sends location and movement trajectory data to the drone, which then performs in-flight calculations to follow and record the user wearing the AirLeash.




While the AirDog app for iPhone won't be used as a tracker, it does allow users to set the distance, height and angle of the flying camera. Users can also use the app to create custom flight paths.

The AirDog hasn't yet reached its funding goal, but appears on track to do so. With 39 days left in its Kickstarter campaign, it has raised more than $110,000 of its $200,000 milestone.

Both drones rely on users to bring their own camera, with included gimbal mounts that are designed to hold and control the popular GoPro lineup. And portability is also a focus for both products -- the AirDog is a foldable quadcopter, while the Hexo+ has a foldable hexacopter design.

Despite the lack of camera, neither option will come cheap: The Hexo+ is the more affordable version, with a planned retail price of $899, while the AirDog and its AirLeash tracker are expected to cost $1,500.

Of course, Kickstarter backers can get in at lower prices if they pledge money now. The AirDog is estimated to ship this November, while Hexo+ backers have a longer wait until May of 2015.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    Not sure how well to feel that people are getting drones with cameras that follow them around all day.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I'm ready for some "drone paranoia" about spying on people, "in the hands of terrorists," etc.... Even though consumer drones have very short ranges, can't deliver a payload as well as you could simply throw it, can only sneak up on people who have neither hearing nor vision, and are easier to control--and thus less dangerous--than the flammable fuel-filled RC aircraft people have enjoyed for ages.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member

    How long can these drones fly without needing fresh batteries or more fuel?  10 or 15 minutes?

  • Reply 4 of 29
    512ke wrote: »
    How long can these drones fly without needing fresh batteries or more fuel?  10 or 15 minutes?

    35-45 minutes.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    Sitting here watching the World Cup ...

    It occurs to me that there is a soccer ball that can be tracked by an iPhone app showing speed, path of ball, etc. ...

    Now, at a soccer match you could have several camera drones tracking the ball (or designated players) concurrently, from several distances and camera angles.

    Mmm ... Thinking of a Hitchcock movie with Tippi Hedron, "The Birds". Maybe the 2014 version will be "The Drones".
  • Reply 6 of 29
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,141member

    Great, now we get get thousands of useless youtube vlogs from people having drones following them on their useless days and documenting their useless existence. 

  • Reply 7 of 29
    slurpy wrote: »
    Great, now we get get thousands of useless youtube vlogs from people having drones following them on their useless days and documenting their useless existence. 

    Flitter?
  • Reply 8 of 29
    rs9rs9 Posts: 68member
    Why do b b guns and slingshots come to mind? And what's the repair cost!
  • Reply 9 of 29
    isidoreisidore Posts: 48member
    Great products but as well as real creative footage we are going to get an awful lot of terrible 'Selfies on Steroids'. What is interesting is that we have two products chasing the same market- even their videos are very similar. There's going to be a bloodbath.....
  • Reply 10 of 29
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    nagromme wrote: »
    I'm ready for some "drone paranoia" about spying on people, "in the hands of terrorists," etc.... Even though consumer drones have very short ranges, can't deliver a payload as well as you could simply throw it, can only sneak up on people who have neither hearing nor vision, and are easier to control--and thus less dangerous--than the flammable fuel-filled RC aircraft people have enjoyed for ages.

    I have a more practical paranoia. Since the user no longer has to pay attention to where they are piloting their toys, how long before they start causing all sorts of damage. Flying into the sides of buildings, breaking windows, shorting out neighborhood electrical grids by flying into wires and transformers, etc.
  • Reply 11 of 29
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    35-45 minutes.

    Actually it really depends on the monuevers you make, you'll eat up your battery fairly quickly if you descend and ascend often. My son has a DJI Phantom, its specs suggest only 20 minutes of flight but he is able to achieve over 40 minutes by flying it at over 500m within an area of 1km. It's a fairly neat setup, though my son seems to fly it over one of our local nudist beach's a little to often. We tried to rectify this behavior by taking him to the beach and making him participate, our strategy was maybe he would understand the need for privacy. Unfortunately it kind of back fired on us when he met new friends their. So it looks like we've created a nudist, ugh, kids, I give up.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    "... but first, lemme take a #SELFIE"

    - "#SELFIE," The Chainsmokers

     

    iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/selfie-single/id834007400

     

    ... that's so ratchet.

  • Reply 13 of 29
    yojimbo007yojimbo007 Posts: 962member
    Great !!! Love it
  • Reply 14 of 29
    This technology is revolutionary - the kind of shots these people are getting right now, imagine how much money it would have cost 7 years ago.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,316member
    It's insane not to use the iPhone for this. Bluetooth can be used to get the distance from the phone.
    Extra hardware is wasteful and expensive.
    I will wait for the app.
  • Reply 16 of 29

    Yeah but how about hovering outside the window of a celebrities penthouse with a camera or scouting a backyard before robbing it.. Or hovering behind home plate for a front row seat. These are going to get out of hand as technology progresses.

  • Reply 17 of 29

    I don't believe your story. Fake.

  • Reply 18 of 29
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,507member
    relic wrote: »
    35-45 minutes.

    Actually it really depends on the monuevers you make, you'll eat up your battery fairly quickly if you descend and ascend often. My son has a DJI Phantom, its specs suggest only 20 minutes of flight but he is able to achieve over 40 minutes by flying it at over 500m within an area of 1km. It's a fairly neat setup, though my son seems to fly it over one of our local nudist beach's a little to often. We tried to rectify this behavior by taking him to the beach and making him participate, our strategy was maybe he would understand the need for privacy. Unfortunately it kind of back fired on us when he met new friends their. So it looks like we've created a nudist, ugh, kids, I give up.

    Hey @Relic good to hear from you!

    Yeah: kids ~= unintended consequences ...

    He could get one of these new models that will follow him to the nudist beach :)
  • Reply 19 of 29
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,507member
    AI problem
  • Reply 20 of 29
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,507member
    AI problem
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