The success of GoPro cameras have brought action sports to the channels of YouTube like never before, and few hobbies have benefitted more than car enthusiasts. You can now find cars covered in a half-dozen GoPro cameras at any track day in the country, though the next level of filming yourself has just gone airborne.
The AirDog is the world’s first auto-follow action sports drone, as it will obediently follow you wherever you go. The AirDog has already raised almost four-times its $200,000 Kickstarter goal, and its easy to see why. With a Bluetooth leash that can transmit from up to 1,000 feet away, the quadcopter follows a programmable wrist leash that keeps the user in a stabilized view at all times.
The AirDog will automatically return to its battery pad when it runs low on energy, and comes with several different flying modes that allow for a variety of uses. Auto Follow will have the AirDog following you exactly, at speeds of up to 40 MPH…so it might not work at a high-speed track day just yet. But on an amateur autocross circuit, it’d be perfect, as would Hover and Aim, which keeps the AirDog in one place but maintains a view of the user.
Other modes include Follow Track, the safest way to operate the $1,100 AirDog, as it records your lap and then continues to follow you at an equivalent speed, and Relative Position mode keeps the drone at a preset distance.
So why not use a smartphone instead of a bulky wrist leash? The team found that smartphone GPS systems lacked the accuracy necessary for a system like this, though they promise the production AirLeash will be a lot smaller than the bulky transmitter they are currently using.
For car enthusiasts, this system is currently too slow for any sort of professional racing action, but the concept of a drone following a car (an idea Renault has actually toyed with as well) would add a whole new perspective to racing.