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This $2,500 Autonomous Camera Drone Navigates Tight Spaces Like No Other

It’s a gorgeous Wednesday on the Berkeley, California, waterfront. In the distance, the San Francisco skyline is crisp and clear, and the Golden Gate Bridge, directly west, welcomes all comers. As I run along a path and duck my head between two close-together trees, it’s all being filmed, automatically, from about 6 feet in the air. I’ve used plenty of drones before, even ones packed with autonomous video-capture modes, but the device following me and recording video as I dart along the path takes those capabilities to a new level. This is the R1, a brand-new drone from the Redwood City, California, startup Skydio , a flying camera built to offer adventure-sports enthusiasts an autonomous level of video-capture features that hasn’t ever before been available. Just a few minutes before getting my demo of the R1, I’d been testing out DJI’s terrific new Mavic Air , a $799 drone that is super easy to fly and offers a rich suite of autonomous flight modes and video capture, not to mention sophisticated obstacle avoidance. But the R1 is a different animal. Picture this: Running along the path, I turn sharply right and duck between the two trees. Most consumer-grade follow-me drones with onboard obstacle avoidance would have to stop there and let me go, as their sensors wouldn’t allow them to fly in such close proximity to the trees. But the R1 deftly navigates the branches and keeps me in its sights

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This $2,500 Autonomous Camera Drone Navigates Tight Spaces Like No Other

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