Launched just two months ago, 3D Robotics' Iris+ quadcopter has one big feature that separates it from the company's base Iris drone – it features a Follow Me function, which allows it to automatically fly along above a moving ground-based GPS-enabled Android device. Now, 3DR has added the same feature to its more utilitarian, heavy-duty X8 platform. The resulting X8+ quadcopter can not only autonomously get tracking shots of its biking, running or skiing user, but it can also be outfitted with a variety of cameras or other devices.
The Iris+ is optimized to carry a GoPro Hero actioncam, which is fine for many users – as are the house-brand HD cameras included on drones such as the DJI Phantom and Inspire 1. More serious videographers, however, might want to use their own high-end compact camcorder or point-and-shoot. With its ability to lift payloads weighing up to 800 grams (1.8 lb), the X8+ is designed to carry just such rigs.
Using the Follow Me app on their Android mobile device, users can set parameters such as the distance and angle that the drone will maintain relative to them. Once the X8+ is in flight, it will automatically keep pace with them, keeping them centered within the shot by panning and tilting the camera via a motorized gimbal mount.