Crashing a drone can be one of the most dramatic experiences. Drone developers have addressed this concern by adding a feature known as obstacle avoidance. This feature helps you protect your drone by using sensors to avoid contact with objects in your flight path. But not all drones perform it equally.
Hi folks! My name is Lavelle and I am a licensed drone pilot and a long-time drone enthusiast. Over the past ten years, I have been flying my drones across the United States for both professional and recreational purposes. During that time, I experimented with the Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance features and found them to be very useful.
In this article, I will review the technology that drives the Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance features. I will also share with you my list of the best follow-me drones that also have obstacle-avoidance technology.
- Key Takeaways
- What Makes The Best Follow Me Drones with Obstacle Avoidance
- The 5 Best Follow Me Drones with Obstacles Avoidance
- Final Thoughts
- The Follow Me feature allows you to capture and create some unique moments while flying.
- The Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance features are great safety measures to have on your drone.
- The more sensors on your drone, the better the obstacle avoidance and tracking system will work.
The Follow Me mode is a system that allows the drone to identify and lock in on an object and track it while the drone is in motion. The technology operates on sensors on the drone.
What is obstacle avoidance?
Obstacle avoidance is a system that identifies objects through a recognition platform and then uses sensors to avoid obstacles and things that may threaten to cause a collision with the drone.
What are the benefits of having a Follow Me drone?
There are many safety benefits to having a drone with the Follow Me mode. The Follow Me mode also allows you to capture unique perspectives of yourself while you are moving without having to manually operate the drone.
What Makes The Best Follow Me Drones with Obstacle Avoidance
The Follow Me technology is premised on recognition intelligence or simply put, GPS technology. When you turn on the Follow Me mode and select the object that you want the drone to follow, it automatically begins to track and follow the object.
Here are some of the features that you should look for in drones with Follow Me feature.
- Recognition Intelligence: Obstacle detection or avoidance uses the same technology. The recognition sensor on the drone identifies an object and either causes the drone to pause and hover in place or to avoid the object by going around it. For instance, if the drone recognizes a tree or a building, or even a bird, it redirects itself to avoid the impending collision.
- Multi-Directional Sensors: The drones with the Follow Me feature have multiple sensors that can identify objects. The sensors and the camera work in conjunction to obtain sound and image details of their surrounding area. This technology, like any other, doesn’t come without its challenges. The vision recognition technology works optimally in clear conditions. In adverse conditions such as fog or overcast conditions, the technology may not yield the best results.
- Data Dissemination: Once the sensors identify objects, they can send the data back to the drone’s motherboard to quickly determine if the object is a threat to the drone’s flight pattern. This cycle helps the drone to track and avoid objects.
The 5 Best Follow Me Drones with Obstacles Avoidance
Here is my list of the best drones with both the Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance features, along with a quick review of each option.
1. DJI Mavic Air 2 (Best Overall)
- Range: 11.5 miles
- Flight Time: 34 minutes
- Top Speed: 42 mph
- Camera: 48 MP resolution
The industry’s most well-known manufacturer, DJI, tops my list with the Mavic Air 2. This remarkable drone offers several impressive features including the Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance modes.
This drone uses the DJI Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS 3.0) technology for its obstacle avoidance and follow-me features. The system understands and responds to complex scenarios allowing the drone to avoid collisions and to actively track (Active Track System) objects.
It has three sensors: one facing ahead, one behind, and another facing downward. The three sensors work in concert to push the technology. With its impressive range of 11 ½ miles and a remarkable flight time of 34 minutes, this drone is the easy leader in this category. It also has a top speed of 42 mph and delivers an amazing 48 MP image resolution.
One concern of the Mavic Air 2 is that it does not support 8k video in all instances, as indicated by the 8k video resolution specification. The Air 2 is also slightly heavier than the Mavic Air, its predecessor, and drains the battery quicker than the previous model.
My Verdict: This is the best option when considering the Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance features. The other intelligent features on this drone along with the outstanding durability and stability, make it an easy number one choice.
2. Autel Evo II (Best Flight Time)
- Range: 5.5 miles
- Flight Time: 40-minutes
- Top Speed: 45 mph
- Camera: 48 MP resolution
Ranking at a close number two on my list is the Autel Evo II. This well-designed drone follows closely behind the Mavic Air 2. With the impressive Dynamic Track 2.0 technology, this drone’s Follow Me feature tracks exceptionally well and can model the location and speed of several moving targets at one time.
The robust obstacle avoidance feature identifies up to 64 objects at once, allowing the drone to avoid multiple potential collisions. The 360-degree avoidance feature is powered by 19 sensors on the drone.
When you consider the respectable flight range of 5 ½ miles along with the very notable 40 minutes of flight time, this drone can arguably surpass the Mavic Air 2 in some users’ estimation.
Autel Evo II also has a nice, stable 3-axis camera that can produce super high-quality 8K video and 48 MP images, which propels it to the best spot for camera and video quality.
There are concerns that the video quality is often over-sharpened. Additionally, this drone does not support a 10-bit video log at the 6k resolution.
My Verdict: It’s a close number 2 and is the best for photography and videography uses. It ranks second on my list because of the shorter flight range, otherwise, it’s a worthy number one consideration.
3. DJI Mavic 2 Pro (Best Video Quality)
- Range: 5 miles
- Flight Time: 31-minutes
- Top Speed: 34 mph
- Camera: 20 MP resolution
In the number three position, DJI makes a return to my list with the Mavic 2 Pro. This drone, like the first two, has an excellent Follow Me mode and uses the Active Track 2.0 technology to track objects. This system features obstacle sensing, trajectory predictions, recognition performance, and high-speed tracking.
Along with the Active Track 2.0 system, this drone has a remarkable Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing platform that provides accurate object detection and safety features.
This model sports an impressive Hasselblad camera with a 1-inch CMOS sensor which produces nice image resolution and good video quality. The 31 minutes of flight time is above par for this category and the top speed of 34 mph is also commendable.
The Mavic 2 Pro, with all of its good features, still has some questions surrounding its low 8GB internal memory. This low memory size limits your ability to record video without using an external storage unit.
My Verdict: Price is probably the biggest concern here as it is a high-end drone that the average consumer may question. Nonetheless, it is an impressive drone with excellent qualities and well deserving of this spot on my list.
4. DJI Phantom 4 Pro V.2 (Best GPS)
- Range: 11 miles
- Flight Time: 30-minutes
- Top Speed: 45 mph
- Camera: 20 MP resolution
Here comes DJI once again at the number 4 spot with the Phantom 4 Pro Version 2. This is another impressive showing from DJI with the extremely stable Phantom 4 P V2. This drone can sense obstacles heading its way from five directions. The Follow Me mode uses the DJI Active Track technology and coupled with the obstacle sensors, it is a super safe drone to operate.
For users that prioritize photography, the mechanical shutter on this drone allows it to produce excellent images in 20 MP resolution while delivering 4k quality video at 100 Mbps. The 1-inch CMOS sensor and wide-angle lens also make this drone great for mapping and surveying purposes.
The impressive top speed of 45 mph is a nice additional feature as is the 30 minutes of flight time. Altogether, this drone offers a nice package that comes at a very expensive price point.
My biggest concern about this drone is its bulky design. In adverse conditions, the heavy design of this drone drains the battery at a quicker rate.
My Verdict: This drone has the same Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance features as the others and has comparable other intelligent features. It’s a heavier drone with more stability but perhaps a little less productive than the first three on the list. The price tag is also quite heavy and may be a deterrent for some consumers.
5. Skydio 2 Pro (Best Intelligent Features)
- Range: 3.7 miles
- Flight Time: 27-minutes
- Top Speed: 36 mph
- Camera: 4K60 HDR
Last on my list, but certainly not a slacker in any way, is the Skydio 2 Pro. This drone has some impressive features that rival the others on this list. It is ranked highly by some other reviewers and makes a good argument for higher placement in some regards.
The 360-degree obstacle avoidance feature along with the 6-direction camera system makes this drone a nice challenger when it comes to the Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance category. Its complex track mechanism and high-speed obstacle avoidance features are impressive.
This drone has some impressive features including an automatic video recording option and a USB-C charging port. Both of these functions add additional functionality to this drone and create a more user-friendly experience.
However, the relatively short range of only 3.7 miles and the shorter flight time of 27 minutes pushes this drone down a bit on my list. It does have a respectable top speed of 36 mph but just can’t quite stack up to the top four choices on my list.
My Verdict: This is a well-designed drone and it has the qualities needed to compete in the tracking category. It falls short in the camera, flight time, and range categories but is still a perfect choice and comes at a slightly more affordable price point.
The Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance modes are two quickly rising standards in the drone industry. Previously, some of the lesser-known brands featured these options to remain competitive in the market. However, the technology is now widespread and found in more well-known brands like DJI and Skydio.
I gave you some excellent options, and I hope you’ll consider some models with Follow Me mode with obstacle avoidance so you can use your drones in a new, impressive way.
Do you have experience with drones that have the Follow Me and Obstacle Avoidance features? What are your thoughts about them? I’d love to get your feedback on these remarkable features. Leave your comments or questions below and I will respond to you as soon as possible.
Until next time, happy flying and stay safe!