A recent firmware and app update to the Parrot Bebop 2 delivers follow me functionality to Bebop operators. It is free to try in the upgraded FreeFlight Pro app for 15 days but after that you’ll have to pay to take advantage of the functionality.
Parrot touts the follow me tracking modes that they claim state-of-the-art visual recognition and your smartphone’s GPS tracking technology. This technology allows your drone to adjust its position in real time so that you are always in the shot.
The new tracking technology features:
- Precise framing via visual recognition
- GPS enabled horizontal positioning
- Altimeter vertical tracking which is dependent on the barometer setting of your cell phone. Unfortunately (for me, maybe not you) the link Parrot provides from their web page to a list compatible devices is in French.
In adding this functionality Parrot is looking to stay competitive with an increasing number of drones targeted at consumers who want to do what most consumers want to do – take selfies. And do it easily. And at an attractive price point. Follow me functionality is becoming somewhat standard and available from Airdog, Hexo+, DJI, 3DR, and Yuneec to name some. Skye Intelligence and Lily are two companies that have announced drones that focus on follow me technology at a low price point (e.g. ~$600 or less). For now Parrot’s biggest competition at this price point is the Yuneec Breeze. The Breeze can be found for $499 on Amazon, the Bebop2 for $425.
Like most drone manufacturers, Parrot insists on using their own unique terms for labeling the follow me flight paths. Everyone has an “orbit” path but Parrot has boomerang and parabola modes whereas Yuneec has journey mode. It would be great to see manufacturers agree on standard terminology.
You can learn more about the Parrot Bebop 2 here. Following is a promotional video from Parrot on the Follow Me functionality.