We know that most standard drones, especially higher-priced ones, have many intelligent functions, including follow-me mode, Active Track, or Dynamic Track. But what about FPV Drones?
Do FPV Drones have a follow-me or similar intelligent mode?
The short answer is NO.
No FPV drone currently on the market has a follow-me mode or similar feature.
But there's much more to it, and I really want to share some stuff with you, including why FPV drones have no follow-me feature.
What is the follow-me mode in a drone?
Well, basically, follow-me is an autonomous function behind a drone that, with the help of a camera and AI, sensors, and subject recognition software, can perform the function of following a person.
The point is that only intelligent drones are able to do that, and most drones on the market do not share the follow-me feature.
This is because the price behind implementing the follow-me technology in a drone is much higher than not. For instance, budget (standard GPS) drones like the DJI Mini 2 SE or DJI Mini 3 do not share these features.
But if the price goes up towards the DJI Mini 3 Pro, Mini 4 Pro, Air 3, Mavic 3 series, and so on, we start to find this technology with different precision levels.
Usually, the more expensive a drone is, the better it could be at incorporating this function. That's because more expensive drones have better components and features alongside other intelligent elements.
The follow-me mode from a DJI drone is part of a software recognition component called Active Track. Autel drones have Dynamic Track installed, which acts the same.
But these intelligent modes, from QuickShots, Waypoints, and follow-me modes, are only part of more smart and developed standard drones. As for now, we find few intelligent features behind an FPV drone and, sadly, no follow-me.
Why do FPV drones not have follow-me mode?
An FPV drone flies totally differently from a standard GPS drone. While a normal drone can hover and take advantage of many sensors for precise and stable flights, an FPV drone does not.
For an FPV drone to fly, constant input and adjustments from the pilot controlling it are needed. The drone will fly in a full-manual mode called ACRO (if it is set as such), and no sensors are active to help stabilize the drone, control speed or altitude, or perform any intelligent functions.
Flying FPV drones does require a lot of practice in FPV simulators as you need to learn how to control it, or it will crash. These FPV drones tend to fly only forward as per the camera angle and need multiple axis inputs to keep them in control (throttle + pitch and yaw/roll to take turns - all at the same time).
On the contrary, standard drones will hover if you take your hand from the remote controller sticks.
Now, why do we need to know this?
That's because, as per an FPV drone flight mode, wherever we're talking the pure manual mode (or ACRO) or even with Angle or Horizon mode, no intelligent function can work as normal; moreover, definitely no follow-me mode can be implemented.
It will be nearly impossible for an FPV drone meant to be flown manually to become fully autonomous and start following you, at least not in ACRO mode, which is the bread and butter for an FPV drone.
How good is the follow-me mode in a standard drone?
If we think about this feature on standard GPS drones, that's another story.
In the past few years, drone technology has made a significant leap. These newer drones became better than ever, with longer flight time, range, anti-collision sensors, and, of course, intelligent features, including the follow-me mode.
This part was developed and improved altogether with the hardware, and now it is at a point where these drones can perform quite the functions.
Follow-me mode became very accurate to ... follow a person. The software recognition technology is advanced enough for the drone to make pretty exciting and intelligent decisions on how to follow when tracking a subject.
Of course, anti-collision sensors play a crucial role in this autonomous function to work properly and for the drone to avoid crashing on the first tree branch.
But as we did mention, better follow-me features and more intelligent tracking modes are found only in higher-end drones. Budget drones do not benefit from such advancements, while some other ones lack the tracking features entirely.
Do FPV drones have any intelligent functions?
Until three years ago, my answer would be NO. With a tiny laugh, I would think: What intelligent functions are in an FPV drone?
Ever since the release of the DJI FPV drone, followed by DJI Avata, the FPV market has changed completely.
These drones have a few intelligent functions that make them stand out from the large crowd of custom FPV quads.
And here we're talking about three things in general:
- DJI FPV has frontal anti-collision sensors. The drone is intelligent enough to slow down and stop if anything is detected ahead, but it will work ONLY in Normal Mode.
- Both DJI FPV and DJI Avata have a smart return-to-home function. While GPS modules can be found in FPV drones, smart and advanced ones like these found behind a DJI drone are way ahead of anything else on the market. These drones can return back to you and land safely like a standard drone, although they are FPV drones.
- The Emergency Brake feature found with DJI FPV and Avata is a smart mode for the drone to stop instantly on the spot, switch automatically to normal mode, and hover, awaiting further input. This intelligent feature can be a drone-saving marker.
But on top of that, we do have to mention that the normal and sport modes are somehow intelligent features that are found in these two FPV drones.
While custom FPV drones have angle and horizon modes, these will not act by far as decent as normal and sport modes, which are exactly as flying as standard drones.
With all these features, they can be found behind DJI FPV and Avata. Very few FPV drones will share any of the similar characteristics found behind those two.
However, we have to remember that even with these smart functions, none of them are capable of exercising any follow-me function.
» Related: Does DJI FPV Have Follow-me Mode?
Will there be any FPV drones with follow-me mode in the future?
It will be very unlikely. An FPV drone with a follow-me mode is fiction, and even like this, it doesn't make sense to put such features found in fully automated smart and expensive GPS drones in FPV ones.
The only thing I can think of right now where we can see the follow-me mode in an FPV drone is if DJI decides again to release a fully hybrid drone, similar to DJI Avata but with many more features and intelligent modes, including Active Track and Follow-me and anti-collision sensors, which could work when flying the drone in normal mode like a standard drone and with the ability for the drone to be flown like an FPV quad in acro mode.
Other than that, the chances are astronomically low for any company to develop such drones.
But hey, we never know what the future may hold.
Can you add a follow-me mode to an FPV drone?
Sadly, you cannot.
With the follow-me mode, you will need highly-developed software that can track a subject installed on a drone and give input to the flight controller on how the drone will fly.
Moreover, many sensors, cameras, and parts will be needed to make it work.
Even if some engineers are really smart enough to implement it in FPV drones, there will be yet another challenge to make it work on ACRO mode, unless it will on "normal modes," but then it will react just like a standard GPS drone, and we're back to square one.
We need technological advancement to see these implemented in hybrid FPV drones with intelligent functions. And for now, no one took the highway into researching, developing, or producing this type of FPV drone.
» Related: 5 Best FPV Drone Simulators
Does DJI FPV or Avata have follow-me mode?
Although these two FPV drones have several intelligent functions that make them stand out, none of them have Active Track or Follow-me features.
Do fixed-wing drones have follow-me mode?
Same with an FPV drone, currently, there is no fixed-wing on the market capable of following a person because of the technical difficulties to make it work.
What are the best drones with follow-me mode?
The short answer would be the DJI Mavic 3 series and DJI Air 3 with Active Track 5.0, and DJI Mini 4 Pro with Active Track 360