Meet the Skydio R1: A portable A.I. camera drone that truly flies itself

Another drone with built-in camera isn’t all that exciting, right? Try telling that to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineering graduates at Skydio who this week introduced their new R1 flying action cam. Utilizing 13 cameras to view the world and an Nvidia Jetson chip more commonly used in self-driving cars, the R1 promises to be the smartest flying 4K camera you ever tried — with its guiding mission being to keep you in the frame at all times while dodging any obstacles around it.

“The R1 was designed for full autonomy,” Skydio’s CEO and co-founder Adam Bry told Digital Trends. “With other drones the autonomy features are targeted as pilot assistance, and they’re generally designed with the notion that there’s still a pilot ready to take over at a moment’s notice. Getting beyond this is very technically challenging, but that’s what we’ve been focused on for the last four years — and that’s what makes R1 special.”

The system is based on state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms, which are able to look at raw images and simultaneously balance obstacle avoidance and the need to capture amazing video. Navigating by sight is a frankly amazing challenge, and it is one that R1 seems to be able to pull off pretty darn effortlessly, all while traveling at speeds of more than 20 mph.

At $2,499, it’s not cheap, and its battery life is limited to 16 minutes, but if you’re in the market for a great action cam, the R1 should totally be at the top of your list. Whether you’re an athlete hoping for a hands-free recording of your practices or an outdoors enthusiast who hopes to capture some stunning vistas, this looks like a brilliant bit of tech.

“There’s potential for a broad range of applications, but initially, we see this as a product that sports enthusiasts, adventurers, creators and early adopters will love,” Bry continued. “There are always going to be people that enjoy flying a drone, but the R1 is less about flying a drone manually and more about being able to create content that you wouldn’t normally be able to create.”

We can’t wait to put it through its obstacle-avoiding paces!

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Emerging Tech

This fully autonomous $400 drone folds like a book, follows you like a paparrazzo

Having a drone that could follow you everywhere while taking high-quality images without crashing has been a flight of fantasy. With ZeroZero's Hover 2, not only can you have a fully autonomous 4K selfie drone, you can have it for $400.

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Emerging Tech

Hotter than the sun: Chinese fusion reactor claims breakthrough

China’s “artificial sun” has reached a temperature of 180 million ºF with a heating power of 10 megawatts -- six times hotter than the center of the sun. The achievement could mark progress towards fusion as a clean energy source.
Product Review

Airselfie 2 may as well be a GoPro stapled to a drunk hummingbird

On paper, the Airselfie 2 is marketed as flying photographer that fits in your pocket and snaps selfies from the sky. Unfortunately it’s more like a HandiCam controlled by a swarm of intoxicated bumblebees
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

Warm up or cool down with the press of a button on the wrist-worn Embr

We review the Embr Wave, a personal heating and cooling wearable designed by a team of MIT engineers that’s now on Kickstarter. Our thoughts? It’s a little bit addictive.
Emerging Tech

Hope it doesn’t melt! Rocket to ISS carries vital supplies — including ice cream

A rocket has launched over Virginia's eastern shore, carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Inside the spacecraft are supplies for the ISS itself and the crew onboard, such as scientific equipment and food.
Emerging Tech

‘Super-Earth’ discovered orbiting nearby star

Astronomers have discovered a large planet circling a sun nearby to Earth called Barnard's Star. The potential new planet is thought to be cold and icy and has a size of around 3.2 times the Earth.
Emerging Tech

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully tests its asteroid-sampling arm

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, launched in September 2016, is closing in on its target of the Bennu asteroid. The craft has now unfurled its robotic arm, called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), and tested it successfully.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

Smarter cities need smarter addresses. And you just need 3 words

To make really smart transportation choices, more precise location data will have to be integrated with citywide transportation data. Here’s how one company is mapping the world by using just three words.
Emerging Tech

Ghostly galaxy discovered lurking on the edge of the Milky Way

A team of astronomers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a strange galaxy next door to the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy, named Antlia 2, is dark and dim and gives out much less light than expected.