Exciting Auto-Pilot Technology: The Trace FLYR1
BY Alan Perlman16 February 2015
One of the drones that showed a ton of promise at the most recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was the FLYR1, an exciting model created by Trace that will likely be released in the coming months. The unit costs around $500 (a relatively cheap drone for its features) and has functionality that you would think would only come at a significantly higher price point.
The most incredible feature on the FLYR1 is that the thing will follow you anywhere on its own, no guidance needed on your part. And yes, we know that this sort of thing can be found on many other drones, but how this technology works specifically on the FLYR1 is what is so jaw dropping.
Most drones that are capable of following you automatically do so by communicating with a device on your person, most often a smartphone. The problem with this is that for any number of reasons, the signal between your drone and device can be dropped, leaving your drone disoriented and likely closing in on a crash. And this is where the FLYR1 shines… Instead of relying on a signal from device to device, Trace’s technology takes an encoded photo of you, the user (you use the FLYR1 to take the photo), memorizes your face, and then recognizes you down below as it flies, identifying you as the subject to follow. Trace is even working on taking that technology a step further and enabling a user to program multiple drones to follow them at the same time. Stay tuned for more on that.
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When the batteries become drained toward the end of a lengthy flight, the FLYR1 will fly back to any destination you classify as “home.” This saves you the worry of your drone leaving a safe range and crashing because of a power failure. And speaking of batteries, Trace says that the FLYR1 will have a limit of 30 minutes of power. That said, the batteries are removable, so you can have several charged up and just swap them out as you need to.
The video streamed from the camera on the FLYR1 is sent directly to your smartphone in real time, where it is stored and can be accessed and edited anytime, and you can even stream your footage straight to the web if a strong enough signal exists at your location. Trace even claims that their new drone that edit footage for you, using functions that memorize the conditions (descent, ascent, acceleration, speed, etc.) in which you often are at your best.
As far as we know right now, Trace will be officially releasing the FLYR1 drone late summer 2015. We look forward to hearing further updates about this promising new drone model.