Last week Autel released new firmware for its Nano and Lite series drones. One of the most anticipated features was Dynamic Tracking on the Lite+, but some pilots are experiencing issues with it, and so are we.
First flight thoughts on the Lite+
Before we talk about the buggy tracking feature, here are our first thoughts on flying the Lite+ now that the weather has improved in our part of the world.
Overall, flying Autel’s new drone was quite enjoyable. Smooth and easy to control, the quick shots make for an easy way to create cinematic drone shots. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to fly it too much yet, but we will be doing more flights, tests, and comparisons soon.
Autel Dynamic Tracking might not be completly ready for use
The biggest item added to the Lite+’s new firmware, v1.2.16, was Dynamic Tracking. The feature is limited to just people, which gives it a strike against it compared to Skydio or DJI, but it’s an excellent start for the new drone.
Documented in detail by FlytPath, Autel’s Dynamic Tacking looks a little buggy on the Lite+, having some slow responses and even falling out of the sky. First of all, the Lite+ does a great job detecting people to track. I did have a false detection of an object out in the distance, but I never had an issue with it detecting me.
There are two ways the Lite+ will track a subject, follow mode and what I’ll call “stationary” or piloted mode. The second option is what Autel gives you at the start. Once you select the subject, the Lite+ will track the subject using the gimbal only, allowing the pilot to maneuver the drone the way they want to.
Gimbal-only tracking works great. As you move the drone around, it will keep the subject in the center. Paired with the easy maneuverability of the Lite+, it makes for a great experience and hands almost complete control over to the pilot. However, once you enter the “follow mode,” the drone acts weird. The first time FlytPath activated it, the drone practically fell to the ground after announcing an issue with the gimbal.
Another major issue with the Lite+’s tracking was it made very unpredictable movements. Some that would probably make pilots uncomfortable to continue flying it or would probably ruin the shot you had planned. Other reviews didn’t show this issue, so it could be related to a unique circumstance FlytPath had.
One issue I experienced that FlytPath did not was a weird overcorrecting movement in the gimbal for a short time. It moved in an oval-like path up and down, getting more and more off each time. However, once I stopped moving the drone, it could recenter me and continue tracking like normal. The tracking reviews have been overall positive, but the experiences FlytPath and I had show room for improvements.
Hopefully improvements will come
It’s disappointing that Autel’s tracking on the Lite+ isn’t ready for prime time out the gate, but this is an entirely new system for the company. So in between complaints, we should take the time to celebrate Autel for putting the time into creating the feature, hopefully allowing it to improve with future firmware updates.