With the Airdog Action Sports Drone almost being shipped I thought I should write a couple of words about it. Airdog positions itself as the first auto-flown action sports drone that gives sports performance the video solution they need; easy aerial footage.
How does the Airdog work?
The Airdog Action Sports Drone is a foldable quadcopter that is operated via the AirLeash, a small dust- and water-resistant controller that you can wear on your wrist. The Airdog features one button (on the AirLeash) take-off after which you can use the other buttons on the AirLeash to adjust the AirDog’s position relative to you.
Once it’s up in the air the AirDog will track you based on the position of the AirLeash and will always keep the camera pointed at you. No matter where you position the AirDog, it’ll maintain the same distance, and height compared to your position.
So if you go up the AirDog goes up and if you go down the AirDog goes down, if you go left the AirDog goes… Well, you get the drift. When you’re done flying, you can land the AirDog again by simply pressing a button on the AirLeash.
The Airdog, as explained, also does all the flying by itself which leaves you free to focus on what you are doing. I realize this doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to people that want full control over their shots but then, this quadcopter was not made for that.
Who was the Airdog made for?
The AirDog was designed and developed by Action Sports enthusiasts to capture themselves in action while being active and it does seem to be perfect for that market. This is probably also the main reason that the AirDog has been developed to use a GoPro, the preferred camera of action sports enthusiasts around the world. And when doing action sports it’s great if you don’t have to worry about the camera’s position in relation to you. You just want to focus on what you’re doing.
Distance, height, and angle can all be set, and adjusted via the AirLeash as soon as the AirDog is up in the air. More advanced features can be set and uploaded via the smartphone app.
The AirDog doesn’t have obstacle avoidance but they’ve announced that their team of engineers is working on software-based obstacle avoidance solution. The software will let you define 3 dimensional “no-fly zones” on the map using the AirDog app. This should allow you to avoid big objects like buildings, ski lifts etc. and will come as an upgrade later this year. It’s likely that this will be enough for a lot of extreme sporters. The AirDog does come with LiDAR to prevent it from crashing into the ground so you don’t have to worry about that.
You can also set different sports modes, like the surf mode. When in surf mode you can set a timer and the AirDog will wait until the timer reaches 0 before it takes off and comes to your position. This will give you the time to paddle out without wasting battery life. In this mode, the Airdog will also keep track of it’s distance to the shore as well as the remaining battery power. This allows it to return to the beach on time. You can just relax and keep surfing without having to worry that your drone may run out of power and drop into the water.
It’s clear that this quadcopter is a niche product, aimed at extreme sports enthusiast although I’m sure that for lots of people this will be the ideal video selfie drone. And it looks like it’s perfectly suited to fill that need. It’s compact (when folded) and flies pretty much on its own. If you’re into extreme sports, and you want to capture your own footage of yourself in action, then the Airdog Action Sports Drone is probably the drone for you.
If you are looking for a drone that can track you but you don’t know if the AirDog is for you or not, have a look at my review of the DJI Phantom 4 and of the Yuneec Typhoon H. They both have capabilities as well so maybe they fits your needs better.
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