These days, the top camera drones have a variety of features designed to make both flying them and capturing high-quality footage easier than ever before. One such feature is the “follow me” mode that comes built into many photography drones.
So, what are the advantages of a drone that follows you, and how do you pick the best model for your needs?
That’s exactly what you’ll find out in this guide.
We explain the technology that allows drones to follow you, as well as the benefits this feature can bring.
We’ll then review the top models that offer this functionality, explaining all the key features like price, flight time, camera quality and more, so you can easily find the best drone that follows you.
Benefits of Drones That Follow You
One of the main advantages of a drone that follows you is that it makes it a lot easier for beginner fliers to capture quality aerial footage without having to worry about flying the drone.
Simply set up the follow me mode and you can capture photos and videos with ease.
Applications of Follow Me Drones
“Follow me” drone technology has become particularly popular for capturing footage of extreme sports, such as skiing, mountain biking, and skateboarding. With a drone that follows you, you can easily capture cinematic footage of these activities with minimal manual input.
How Follow Me Drones Work
There are several different systems that can be used to make a drone follow you – let’s take a look at each different method.
The most basic drones that follow you use bluetooth connectivity between the drone and remote controller or a smartphone app to follow you while you hold the connecting device. This is seen in budget “follow me” drones, but these typically come without advanced object avoidance technology and are limited by short ranges.
Another way of making drones follow you is by using GPS technology. This works by programming the drone to follow a transmitter or ground control system (GCS), typically the remote control. that is carried by the person or object being followed. This is much more precise than bluetooth tracking.
There’s also visual recognition tech, a more advanced and expensive tracking technology. This works by the drone collecting image and sound data via cameras and sensors, which is then transmitted to a processor which can distinguish between tracked objects and background information. This removes the need to carry a transmitter or GCS, but its accuracy can be affected by lighting conditions.
GPS + Visual Recognition
The most advanced drone following technology today is DJI’s ActiveTrack system. This combines GPS and visual recognition technology to result in highly accurate tracking of multiple objects without needing an external tracking device and with advanced obstacle avoidance.
DJI’s ActiveTrack has three different modes – trace, spotlight and profile. Trace makes the drone track at a constant distance, and you can use the remote control or DJI GO 4 app to make it circle the subject. Spotlight keeps the camera pointed at the subject while offering more flexible flight control, while the profile mode tracks the subject from a constant angle and distance from the side.
The Best Drones That Can Follow You Reviewed
Now you’re clued in on how drone follow technology works and why it’s useful, let’s take a look at the best models with this function.
We’ll review both cheap and expensive models and cover all the important specs, so you can easily find the best drone that follows you for your budget and application.
Potensic T25 – Budget Drone that Follows You
If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly drone that’s cheap but can still follow you, the Potensic T25 is certainly one of the best.
Costing less than $200, this is one of the cheapest “follow me” drones on the market. It doesn’t offer the same quality tracking as our more expensive recommendations, but considering the price, it’s fairly decent. This drone follows you by using GPS to connect to your phone.
This drone that follows you has a FPV 2K HD camera that can be adjusted by 75 degrees for capturing footage from different angles.
One of the best things about the Potensic T25 is that it’s a very small and compact drone that weighs under 250g. Not only does this mean it’s really easy to carry around, but as it’s under the 250g weight limit set by the FAA, you can fly it without needing to register the drone.
It also has some other intelligent flying modes that make it really easy for beginners to fly. These include the waypoint fly feature that lets you create custom routes by simply tapping points on the app, as well as an altitude hold function that sees the drone automatically hover in the air.
This drone comes with three batteries for a total flight time of 30 minutes, which is decent for such a cheap model.
DJI Spark – Cheapest DJI Drone that Follows You
The DJI Spark is one of the company’s cheapest models and the one that’s mostly aimed at beginner fliers, both adults and teens. The great thing about this drone, though, is that it has many of DJI’s advanced technologies that make it much more powerful than most similarly priced models.
One of these is the ActiveTrack technology that allows it to intelligently recognize and track subjects of different shapes and sizes. However, unlike DJI’s more expensive drones the Spark doesn’t have automatic obstacle avoidance, so you need to be a bit more careful.
This drone that follows you has a 1/2.3” sensor that captures 12MP stills and 1080P video, so you can capture really high-quality footage, whether it be selfies, videos of your travel adventures, or if you’re into filming action sports.
It has several features that make it super simple to operate; for example, it uses facial recognition technology to allow you to take off simply by lifting it into the air from your palm, and you can control the camera just by making hand gestures!
The Spark is also one of the lightest and smallest drones with advanced follow me functionality on the market, weighing just 300g and easily fitting in your hand. While it’s not a “true” mini drone in the sense that it is above the FAA’s weight limit of 250g and therefore needs to be registered, it’s still super portable.
This drone that will follow you can be flown for 16 minutes at a time, and offers 720P real-time video transmission within a range of 1.2 miles. These are both good for the price and mean you’re not limited to flying within very small distances.
DJI Mavic Air 2S – Best Follow Me Drone for Beginners
While it’s not exactly a budget drone, the Mavic Air 2S is one of the more affordable DJI models that offer the company’s famous ActiveTrack technology while offering considerably higher quality camera and flying capability than the Spark.
This is a seriously impressive camera drone with a one inch image sensor and 2.4μm pixels, resulting in 20MP images and 5.4k video at 30 fps. This allows you to capture stunning follow me footage and is a really high quality for the price. The camera’s 10-bit Dlog-M color profile can record up to a billion colors while retaining the most intricate details, so footage comes out genuinely stunning.
Unlike the Spark, the Mavic Air 2S has omnidirectional obstacle sensing, allowing it to detect and avoid objects below, above and to either side of the drone. This makes the ActiveTrack function much safer and more effective in built-up environments and whilst flying at high speed – the drone can reach 42.5mph.
Another characteristic of DJI’s more advanced models are their exceptional transmission ranges. The Air 2S boasts the company’s most advanced OcuSync 3.0 transmission system, offering super smooth and reliable video streaming up to 7.5 miles away, so it’s a fantastic long range drone. So as well as being great for capturing follow you footage, you can also fly the drone far and wide to capture stunning videos of landscapes like cliffs and coastlines.
With a 31 minute flight time and level 5 wind resistance, this is a powerful drone camera that follows you and is suitable for use in challenging environments.
While new fliers may be tempted by cheaper models, we think the advanced subject tracking and intelligent obstacle avoidance of the Air 2S makes it the best follow me drone for beginners.
DJI Mavic 3 – Overall Best Drone that Follows You
It certainly isn’t cheap, but if you’re looking for the overall best drone that can follow you on the market, it’s hard to look past the Mavic 3. This drone is the latest in DJI’s famed Mavic series and is one of the most impressive camera drones we’ve ever come across.
The Mavic 3 is incredible in every aspect – camera, flight time, power, stability, and flying features. It uses the ActiveTrack technology of DJI’s over premium drones to offer an unrivaled follow me flying experience, but with even more advanced obstacle avoidance.
Whereas the likes of the Mavic 2 offer omnidirectional sensing in four directions, the Mavic 3 offers fully omnidirectional, 360 degree sensing for the safest follow me flying possible.
This drone that follows you has an extremely powerful 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera for 20MP images and 5.1k/50fps or 4k/120fps video. These higher framerates result in considerably smoother video footage, so you can film action sports, cars and much more with fantastic clarity. With a 12.8-stop dynamic range that retains loads of detail in highlights and shadows, this is professional drone photography of the highest level.
The Mavic 3 is also outstanding in terms of physical attributes, with a 46 minute flight time that makes it the longest flying consumer camera drone by some distance. It also boasts an unparalleled 9.3 mile transmission distance, with OcuSync 3.0 technology ensuring smooth and stable streams.
Another highlight of this follow drone is the advanced return to home feature, allowing it to determine and execute the optimal route. This, alongside the follow me feature, makes it one of the most autonomous drones out there.
Autel Evo 2 – Best Follow You Drone with 8K Camera
You may be surprised to see us finish this guide with a drone that’s not made by DJI, but the Autel Evo 2 certainly deserves its place on our list.
This drone that can follow you can detect and track six types of subjects: walking or running people, cyclists, cars, trucks, boats, and animals. It uses deep learning algorithms to accurately track subjects in real-time, and can do so from behind the subject, to the side of it, or from a fixed position of your choosing.
It boasts 12 computer vision sensors and two sonar sensors to detect and avoid obstacles in all directions, so it’s really intelligent and safe to use the follow me mode.
What really sets the Evo 2 apart is its incredible camera that’s capable of capturing 48MP stills and 8k video, something that not even DJI’s premium models can match. Not only does this mean you can capture much higher resolution and smoother footage than less advanced long flying drones, but you can also make prints up to 100” wide and scale images with fantastic detail. It also has a fixed f/1.8 aperture that makes it suitable for capturing footage in low light conditions.
Another highlight is the battery life, which is 35 minutes moving forward and 40 minutes hovering, making this one of the longest flying drones on the market and giving you loads of time to take full advantage of the 8k camera. The transmission range is 5.9 miles, which is very impressive despite not matching that of DJI’s best drones.
We think that overall DJI’s ActiveTrack is the most impressive follow me drone technology out there, which is why we rank the Mavic 3 as the number one in this category. But the Evo 2 certainly runs its close, and its 8k capability gives it a clear advantage in terms of video quality.
History of Follow You Drones
As consumer camera drones have gained in popularity over the last decade, manufacturers have incorporated features that make their drones easier to operate.
One of the most famous of these functions is the “follow me” mode that is now present in many drones, including both budget and professional models. The drone that really kicked this off was DJI’s Phantom 3, which was released in 2015 and had several different “Follow Me” modes based on GPS technology.
DJI then notched things up a step in 2016 with the release of the Phantom 4. This drone debuted DJI’s more advanced “ActiveTrack” feature that used both GPS and visual recognition to make the drone follow subjects while using advanced obstacle sensing technology to do so safely. We’ll take a closer look at the technology behind this below.
Since then, the technology has become widespread and provided users with a number of benefits.