Skydio’s fiendishly clever R1 self-flying camera is easier to get hold of, with the autonomous drone getting broader availability after its recent Apple Watch app release. Launched back in February, the Skydio R1 promised to differentiate itself from other drones on the market by virtue of its onboard smarts, capable of doing object avoidance and person tracking.
At the time there was, understandably, a little skepticism about whether the R1 could live up to the claims Skydio was making. Less than a year down the line, however, and that skepticism has faded. Skydio has added new tracking modes, including the ability to follow a car and better predict where people might walk or bike to next, all the time doubling-down on the concept that controlling the drone should be as straightforward as possible.
Earlier this month, that meant a new Apple Watch app. That brought the core following functionality to the user’s wrist, allowing them to select between the various modes and preprogrammed video motions without needing to whip out their smartphone first. At the same time, the R1 arrived on Apple Store shelves, as Apple’s premium drone option.
Now, Skydio availability is getting even wider. Amazon has begun sales of the drone, priced at $1,999, a move which is likely to get it even more attention.
Right now, it’s only the Skydio R1 that Amazon is stocking. In the box you get the drone itself and a single battery, along with data transfer cables to move the recorded 4K footage onto your computer, and a battery charger. There’s also a lens cleaning cloth to keep the various cameras Skydio uses for its autopilot smarts clean.
If you want the company’s accessories, though, you’ll currently need to go direct to Skydio’s online store. That’s where you’ll find the extra batteries, at $149 apiece, as well as the replacement propellers, at $29 a set. There’s also a backpack for the R1, at $129, and a charging set which allows you to charge a second battery for $124.
With its premium price tag, the R1 may not sway those in the bargain end of the drone market. All the same, for those who’d rather spend more time filming and less time learning to fly, Skydio’s AI is a huge improvement over the object-avoidance and tracking features other high-end drones include.
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