Airdog auto-follow quadcopter for GoPro camera - first look

Autonomous personal action sports drone

Imagine having your own aerial videographer to record your every move while you're out on your next ride. Now imagine that same videographer wouldn't need any instruction and would shoot using the convenient GoPro camera you already own. Thanks to Airdog, the world's first autonomous personal action sports drone, this could well be a reality in the not-too-distant future.

Airdog is a foldable quadcopter designed for filmmakers and action sports enthusiasts who use GoPro cameras. As its canine name suggests, the Airdog follows its user wherever they go. Simply strap the AirLeash (tracker device) onto the rider's wrist or helmet and the Airdog will do the rest.

It takes off automatically and flies at up to 40mph, carrying your GoPro and avoiding obstacles to keep the rider in the middle of the shot. The interchangeable lithium polymer cells used to power the Airdog will provide between 10 and 20 minutes of recording time depending on flight speed. When it's low on juice the Airdog will communicate with its AirLeash via long-range bluetooth and notify its user. It will then either return to its take-off spot or a programmed-in landing location.

The images the Airdog captures are stabilised thanks to a gyro stabilised gimbal. There's also a whole host of pre-programmed filming modes and preconfigured settings for a wide range of action sports. 

The Airdog has just smashed its US$200,00 target on crowdsource funding site Kickstarter. To give you an idea of its popularity, the final figure raised was US$1,368,177, from more than 1,350 backers. 

Helico Aerospace Industries, the US firm behind the Airdog, are aiming to get the first production Airdogs to Kickstarter pledgers in November.

For anyone else, the firm are offering a limited number of pre-order units for US$1,295 (the RRP is US$1,495) with delivery estimated for December.

BBC tech correspondent Richard Taylor takes the Airdog for a test flight

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