When DJI first announced its Spark drone a few months back, features like autonomous tracking and the ability to avoid obstacles stood out as notable features in a $499 package. The drone market continues to grow more crowded as quadcopters get smaller in size and gain more robust specs. And with that, comes refreshed models of the industry’s first consumer offerings.
AirDog first launched back at CES 2015 and went on to raise over $1.3 million on Kickstarter. The original model was amongst the first drones built for amateur pilots that included subject tracking. Now, AirDog returns to the crowdfunding site with the second generation packed with features geared towards extreme athletes.
The AirDog 2 sports a nearly identical physical design to the original version. Its creators are largely taking the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality in a lot of areas here, while adding a few key features along the way. And while the purple-armed design remains, you’ll want to look inside for the most notable changes.
Sensors that constantly measure GPS, air pressure and movement are included to put a focus on subjects during activity. And while most consumer drones offer autonomous tracking these days, AirDog Drone II’s ability to lock-on a subject at heights upwards of 500-feet is what really stands out.
You might recall that the original version required users to sport a wearable, or “Air Leash” as it was called, that maintained a connection between user and drone. The AirDog 2 changes that up with new iOS and Android features that allow users to layout flight plans ahead of time. While DJI has offered the same in the last few iterations of its apps, ADII stands out with its ability to set pre-determined heights along that same path. It’s taking flight planning from essentially 2D to 3D. Once you’ve locked on to the target, AirDog will move only as progress is made along the pre-determined route.
But here’s the part that may turn some potential buyers away, AirDog is only compatible with GoPro’s latest generation HERO5 camera. The benefit is that pilots can control the device directly without the burden of remembering to start recording prior to flight. On the flipside, AirDog is eliminating a large chunk of the market with an older GoPro model.
Other notable specs include up to 20 minutes of flight time with a top speed of 45MPH. AirDog II weighs in at around four-pounds with the battery attached. If you’re interested in picking up the second generation model it’s currently available now on Kickstarter for the early bird price of $1,099. It will retail for $1,500 (if all goes to plan) after shipping in August. That’s a hefty $1,000 surcharge over the popular DJI Spark. As of this writing, it has raised over $69,000 of its $250,000 goal.