The drone industry is buzzing with talk of the amazing obstacle avoidance and tracking capability of the new Skydio R1 drone. The video that the company used to show off the drone’s skills is great but another video surfaced from the marketing manager of Skydio, Pat Stahl. Pat took the R1 with him on a snowboarding trip and I think this video does an even better job of showing how well the obstacle avoidance and tracking work on this autonomously flying drone. Just watch how the drone follows Pat when he snowboards through the trees.

DJI Inspire 2

Amazing obstacle avoidance and subject tracking

As we explained in more detail in our previous post, the Skydio R1 drone uses 6 pairs of cameras to create a 3D map of its surroundings and uses artificial intelligence to recognize people and predict their moves up to 4 seconds in advance. As you can see in the video below, it works amazingly well. It is hard to believe the drone is able to keep the snowboarder more or less in the center of the frame while avoiding to fly into any of the surrounding trees. The fact that the snowboarder is going downhill (obviously) does not matter one bit. We tried something similar with the DJI Mavic Air when I rode a bicycle down a hill but the DJI drone was not able to descend with me. See video here. Now, of course, the Mavic Air does not cost $2499 but once you have seen what the R1 can do it becomes a little more difficult to accept a lesser form of obstacle avoidance and subject tracking.

So far the only downside (apart from the price) of the R1, that I can see is that maybe the drone moves a little too much to create smooth cinematic footage. Watching the drone maneuver through the trees may make some people feel dizzy. It would be a very nice feature if you could restrict the drone’s movement somewhat to keep more of a steady angle and perspective as it is filming the subject but I am not sure if that is at all possible.

In about a week or so we should have our hands on the Skydio R1. We will put it through its paces and see if we can create similar snowboard and mountainbike footage with the drone. We can’t wait to try.

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