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Best Follow-Me Drones for Sports

Drones have become increasingly popular for various activities, and sports are no exception.

With the right drone, you can capture stunning shots and angles that would otherwise be impossible to replicate.

One feature that has made it possible to create stunning footage hands-free is the follow me feature, where the drone follows you automatically.

With several options, which are the best follow-me drones for sports?

Skydio 2+ has proved to be a dedicated tracking drone. The 360 degrees of obstacle sensing and avoidance make it the perfect drone for all kinds of sports.

Other options you can consider include:

  • DJI Mavic 3
  • DJI Mavic 3 Classic
  • DJI Air 2S
  • DJI Mini 3 Pro
  • Phantom 4 Pro
  • Autel Evo 2 Pro
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Please keep reading to learn why these drones make great choices for any sporting event.

1. Skydio 2+

Skydio 2+

Skydio uses proprietary AI software to understand the world and predict your next move. So wherever the action takes you, Skydio will capture the shot.

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✅ PROS

  • Excellent tracking features.
  • Affordable.
  • You can easily change the direction the drone should follow you in.
  • All-around obstacle sensing and avoidance which is a huge plus for its price.

❌ CONS

  • Sometimes the footage may seem wobbly as the drone moves a lot and looks for the best route to follow the subject.
  • It could use a longer flight time.

Released in 2022, the Skydio 2+ is one of the best follow-me drones for sports, especially sports like car racing, running, or mountain biking.

Why? Unlike some drones, Skydio features an all-around obstacle detection and avoidance system. This drone will likely not crash as it follows you.

Skydio is also years ahead of other drone manufacturers when it comes to AI and automating drone flight.

This is evident in how the drone can calculate the best route to keep following the subject without hitting any objects along the way.

Another reason I believe the Skydio 2+ is a dedicated tracking drone for personal projects and sports is the beacon it comes with.

If you are filming yourself participating in a sport, you can hold this beacon and command the drone to move to the side, front, or any orientation you want it to be in and how close it is to you.

This allows you to create some very dynamic footage.

Obstacle avoidance and automation aren’t the only reasons you should bring this drone for rugged sports. It also produces high-quality footage thanks to the 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and a video resolution of up to 4k at 60 fps.

Some drones can do better, but the Skydio 2+’s follow-me capabilities still have no competition among drones within its price range.

The range of up to 3.7 miles is also great, especially when tracking the subject for a longer distance.

Another fascinating feature that sets the Skydio 2+ from the rest is the new Keyframe feature. If you’ve studied video editing or animations, you may have encountered keyframes used to set the transition parameters.

The Skydio 2+ works similarly, where you can set the drone to fly through a predetermined pattern or route. You can use this to set the scene before you can film yourself or the athlete participating in the sport.

Here is how the Skydio 2+ performs in a mountain biking exercise compared to the DJI Mini 3 Pro.

2. DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S
$999.00 $949.00

DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions: up, down, forward, and backward, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles, even in complex scenarios and at high speeds.

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✅ PROS

  • Excellent video resolution.
  • Extended range thanks to the OcuSync transmission system.
  • A wide range of features that make it applicable in many other areas besides sports.

❌ CONS

  • It can’t sense obstacles on the side, limiting where you can use it.

This is a drone I love, own, and fly all the time for personal and paid projects. But how would it perform in a sports setting where it has to follow the subject?

Despite some drawbacks, the DJI Air 2S is still a good follow-me drone.

» MORE: Does DJI Air 2S Have Follow Me?

It features front, back, top, and downward obstacle avoidance. Unlike the Skydio 2+, the Air 2s will not see obstacles on its side.

However, if you avoid areas where it would bump into objects on its side, then you will be fine.

Compared to the Skydio 2+, the Air 2S will give you better-quality footage. This is thanks to the 1-inch CMOS camera that can achieve up to 20 MP photos and video footage of up to 5.4K.

DJI is renowned for its upgraded camera system, so you can rest assured that the footage you will get will be appealing.

Another factor DJI is known for is its OcuSync transmission system. The Air 2S features the OcuSync 2.0, which ensures a strong connection and a 1080p video transmission to the controller at a distance of up to 7.5 miles.

When you must follow the athlete for a long distance when holding the controller, the Air 2S will perform quite well.

However, while it does have a smooth flight and a better camera, the lack of obstacle avoidance on the sides limits how well it can follow a subject.

In a test between this drone and the Skydio 2+, the Skydio 2+ made better decisions on tracking the subject. But if you choose video quality over tracking ability, the Air 2S would be better.

3. DJI Mavic 3

DJI Mavic 3
$2,099.00 $1,999.00

Nearly everything about the DJI Mavic 3 is top-of-the-line. Most importantly, the battery life is incredible, which will save you from buying many extra batteries for backup.

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✅ PROS

  • Excellent video footage, thanks to the two cameras.
  • Longer flight time.
  • Longer range than most drones.

❌ CONS

  • It’s pretty expensive.
  • It’s heavy, and you’ll feel the weight of carrying it around.

The DJI Mavic 3 combines the features of both the Skydio 2+ and the DJI Air 2S but comes at a higher cost. If you want both good video quality and excellent tracking abilities and have a bigger budget, the DJI Mavic 3 would be the better choice. Why?

The Mavic 3 may be one of the best camera drones since it features two cameras; the Hasselblad L2D-20 camera and the 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera.

These cameras allow you to achieve an adjustable aperture range from f2.8 to 2.11, a feature you will not find in most drones.

You also get a dynamic range, shoot in 5.1k, and photos in 20 MP resolution

That’s not all; the Visual Detection Autofocus technology ensures the cameras are focused on the subject as the drone tracks. However, when in follow-me mode, you can only shoot in 4K.

Now that you know the footage you get from the Mavic 3, how does it fare as a follow-me drone? The Mavic 3 features DJI’s latest ActiveTrack system, the ActiveTrack 5.0, which offers smoother footage as it follows you.

Like the Skydio 2+, the Mavic 3’s ActiveTrack also allows you to choose the direction the drone should follow you in.

The directions available include forward, back, right, and left. It’s a full circle, with unnamed directions marked with arrows between each named position.

However, you have to switch to the different directions from the app, and if you are filming yourself, you have to carry the controller with you and stop every time you need to switch or find a way to switch as you participate in the stop.

It would be great if the Mavic 3 had a beacon like the one in the Skydio 2+.

The Mavic 3 also features two types of visioning systems; infrared and vision sensors. These allow it to have 360-degree obstacle detection and avoidance.

When in ActiveTrack, the obstacle avoidance is set to bypass automatically, regardless of your settings in other types of flight. This allows the drone to avoid obstacles and always keep the subject in view.

Here is a video of the Mavic 3 being used to track someone when biking.

Watch how it keeps up with the bike’s speed, keeps the subject in view even when it lost him for a second it regained view, and how you can easily shift the drone’s position as it follows you.

4. DJI Mavic 3 Classic

DJI Mavic 3 Classic w/built-in 5.5-inch HD display
$1,749.00

Includes:

  • Drone
  • DJI RC remote controller
  • Battery
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✅ PROS

  • It’s cheaper, with most of the features you find in the DJI Mavic 3.
  • Excellent video resolution, which would work well for a follow-me video.

❌ CONS

  • Still expensive for most people.

If you prefer DJI products and find the Mavic 3 too expensive, you can opt for the Mavic 3 Classic.

It came after the DJI Air 2S, so it has better features and is within the same price range ($1,600 with the RCN1 controller, while the DJI Air 2S Fly More Combo costs $1,299).

Let’s see what you get for the extra cash you’ll have to pay.

The Mavic 3 Classic is a cheaper version of the Mavic 3. However, the main difference is that the Mavic 3 Classic only has one camera, the 4/3CMOS camera, instead of two.

It has other intelligent features that would still make it a great follow-me drone for sports.

Besides, the lack of a telephoto lens makes the Mavic 3 Classic perfect for video, which you will create as the drone follows the subject.

The Mavic 3 Classic features the same ActiveTrack 5.0 you will find in the Mavic 3.

As I mentioned, it helps create smoother video and allows you to switch the direction in which the drone should track you when in flight.

The Mavic 3 Classic also features omnidirectional obstacle sensing, allowing it to bypass obstacles from all directions while keeping you or the subject in view.

DJI’s algorithm has also improved over the years, allowing the drone to always identify and keep the subject in view, even when trees or objects block the drone’s view momentarily.

If you want the subject you are filming to appear closer to the drone than it is, you can use the zoom feature.

It’s a digital zoom, so the quality isn’t the best, but you still get decent footage and give the viewer a more engaging experience.

The Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Classic give you a flight time of between 40 and 46 minutes, which is enough for any sport you want to film using the tracking feature or any other features you would want to include in the clip.

Watch how well the Mavic 3 Classic performs when tracking cars, bikes, and people walking; how it keeps up; and how well it keeps the subject in view in this video;

5. DJI Mini 3 Pro

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)
$909.00 $799.95

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone

  • 4K/60fps Video
  • 48MP Photo
  • 34-min Flight Time
  • Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Integrated RC and screen
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✅ PROS

  • It weighs less than 250 grams, so you don’t have to register it and can easily move around with it.
  • It’s affordable – costs less than $1,000.
  • Excellent video footage for its price.

❌ CONS

  • It can only follow you from the side and from behind.

Released as an upgrade to the DJI Mini 2, the Mini 3 Pro is the best follow-me drone for sports for those on a budget since you can get it for $759 with the DJI RCN1 controller.

When we only had the Mini 2 with 4K resolution, several enthusiasts and athletes wished it had a follow-me feature.

This would have made it perfect for hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, or any other sporting activity since it weighs less than 250 grams, and you could carry it in your backpack or pocket and “unleash” it once you get to the desired location.

DJI answered our requests in the Mini 3 Pro by releasing a drone that weighs less than 250 grams, has tri-directional obstacle avoidance, can shoot in 4K, and has a follow-me feature.

The three directional (front, back, and top) obstacle detection does limit where you can use this drone since it can’t sense obstacles on its side, but if you set an appropriate height and fly in areas with no obstacles, you can utilize the ActiveTrack feature fully.

The Mini 3 Pro uses ActiveTrack 4.0. Unlike ActiveTrack 5.0, where you can tell the drone which direction to track you from, Mini 3 Pro only has two options.

One is Trace, where the drone tracks from behind, and the other is Parallel, where the drone tracks from the side.

Parallel is risky since the drone could bump into objects located on the side, so the best option to use for most applications is Trace.

While you can try to adjust the controls to place the drone in front of you or slightly diagonal, the drone will almost always end up tracking you from behind.

I think that’s still fine, and there’s a lot you can do with the available tracking capabilities.

The Mini 3 Pro also offers an impressively long battery life. You get 34 minutes with the standard battery and 47 minutes with the larger battery. That’s more than enough time for the drone to track you for any sport.

Are you into running or hiking? Watch how the Mini 3 Pro tracks an athlete jogging through different terrains and scenes.

See how following from behind allowed the drone to add beautiful scenery to the footage and how well the front obstacle avoidance systems avoided the trees, and watch how well the Parallel tracking can be used in an open area, such as a beach.

6. DJI Phantom 4 Pro

DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
$2,890.00 $1,784.47

Drone with 20MP Camera 1" CMOS Sensor 4K H.265 Video 3-Axis Gimbal White.

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✅ PROS

  • Smooth ActiveTrack footage despite being released more than five years ago.
  • Excellent video and photo resolution.
  • You can get it for a lower price from resellers.

❌ CONS

  • It’s bulky and difficult to move around with.

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro may be an old drone since it was released in 2016, but it was a game changer then and still stands out even though DJI has released several other drones since then.

So what features would make you consider it over the newer drones as a follow-me drone for sports?

The Phantom 4 Pro is a powerful follow-me drone for sports.

It features 360-degree obstacle avoidance, so it won’t crash into objects during flight. This makes it ideal for taking videos of athletes performing stunts and tricks.

It also has an impressive maximum speed of 45 mph, so it can keep up with any athlete or vehicle.

The Phantom 4 Pro comes equipped with a 20-megapixel camera that records in 4K ultra high-definition video and takes still images at 12 megapixels.

Its built-in gimbal stabilization ensures smooth and stable shots even when the drone moves quickly.

The drone has up to 30 minutes of flight time per charge, so you can capture longer videos without interruption. Plus, its remote controller has a range of up to 4 miles, giving you plenty of space to operate in.

This drone is a great choice for anyone looking to take professional sports footage while keeping their subject in the frame at all times.

Its advanced features make it reliable and user-friendly and make it easy to capture amazing footage in any situation.

Watch how well the Phantom 4 Pro can track a subject, be it a person, bike, car, or animal, and the different options available to create dynamic footage.

7. Autel Evo 2 Pro

Autel Robotics EVO 2 PRO V3
$2,099.00

Autel EVO II Pro V3 is upgraded with Autel drone's all new SkyLink 2.0 video transmission technology, allows video transmission from up to 15 km.

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✅ PROS

  • Can shoot in up to 8K.
  • Different tracking options and intelligent flight modes.

❌ CONS

  • It seemed to lose the subject often.
  • It’s sometimes slow and may be unable to keep up with fast sports.

The Autel Evo 2 Pro is another excellent follow-me drone for capturing all sporting events.

It has advanced features that make taking dynamic and engaging footage of any sport easier than ever.

With its long battery life, obstacle avoidance technology, 8K resolution camera, and intelligent shooting modes, you can enhance your sports videos with professional results.

Autel Evo 2 Pro has a powerful motor system that provides stability and control even in windy conditions, making capturing smooth aerial shots from different angles easy.

Its three-axis gimbal also allows for precise controls when panning or tilting during filming.

Additionally, this drone can fly up to 40 minutes on a single charge, so you never have to worry about running out of juice mid-flight!

For those looking to add some extra flair to their sports video recordings, Evo 2 Pro has several intelligent shooting modes, such as Dynamic Track, Parallel Track, Tripod Track, and Orbit, just to mention a few, that allow users to get more creative with their content.

The Dynamic Track mode follows a subject automatically while staying locked onto them no matter where they go — great for tracking athletes on the field or court!

Meanwhile, the Orbit mode circles around an object or person from a fixed point, creating an impressive cinematic effect ideal for highlight reels.

For the best possible results, ensure there are no obstacles between your subject and the drone.

Also, make sure you are using the latest firmware on all the devices since failing to do this seemed to cause many issues, hindering the effectiveness of the follow-me feature.

Watch the Autel Evo 2 Pro track someone skateboarding through a park with several trees and obstacles.

And here is how messy it can be if you use outdated firmware: