AirDog auto-follow drone promises great video shoots for adrenaline junkies

Seems like the Hexo+ autonomous drone isn’t the only flying machine vying for the attention of action-sports fanatics keen on filming their daredevil maneuvers from up high.

The AirDog “auto-follow action sports drone,” like the Hexa+, launched on Kickstarter yesterday, with product delivery estimated for November this year if it manages to hit its $200,000 funding target by July 26. Backers have so far pledged $140,000.

These follow-you-everywhere camera-equipped flying machines aim to simplify the process of filming yourself, though the companies behind them are pushing them toward action-sports enthusiasts, with a drone providing an alternative perspective to the one offered by the usual POV helmet cam.

AirDog works by following a signal from the AirLeash, a computerized tracker that you strap to your wrist or helmet and which has a range of up to 300 meters. To keep it close by, the quadcopter performs constant inflight calculations to correct its flight path, ensuring the camera is always pointing toward the user and their AirLeash tracker.

A neat touch is the machine’s six Follow modes, all controllable via AirDog’s iOS and Android smartphone app. These offer the opportunity to shoot more creative segments, with presets including, for example, Circle, where AirDog makes circular rotations while all the time pointing the camera at the main subject, and Hover and Aim, which keeps the quadcopter in the same position in the air with the camera still following your every move. Of course, there’s also the Auto-follow mode, which sends AirDog flying through the air at a constant distance from the moving subject. Additional modes are said to be in the works.

airdog designFlight time is between 10 to 20 minutes on a single charge, depending on flight speed, which can be as fast as 40mph.

“AirDog is your sidekick, just in case you can’t rent a helicopter plus professional photographer to take a video of your black diamond run,” the team says on its Kickstarter page. “AirDog is your personal training assistant, allowing you to review what you’re doing right, and where you need to improve, [and] can transport you to views that you never thought possible.”

The Palo Alto-based team behind AirDog is made up of aviation experts, entrepreneurs, programmers, developers and extreme-sports fans, with their flying machine built to comfortably carry a GoPro, the action camera of choice for adrenalin junkies.

Backers can get their hands on the quadcopter (without camera) by pledging $1195 via Kickstarter, which is $300 less than its planned retail price.

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