The Skydio R1 might be the smartest consumer drone in the sky

The R1 isn’t so much a drone as it is a flying, self-positioning action camera. It’s sole purpose is to record the person it’s following. Built by a team of former-MIT engineers, the R1 relies on the 13 cameras studded throughout its exterior to see the world around it and the same NVIDIA Jetson chip used in self-driving vehicles as a processing hub to navigate.

And good lordy, can it navigate. Ok so, you know how the Phantom 4 has obstacle avoidance tech? It’s where the drone, upon sensing that it will strike a low-hanging branch or phone pole, will stop following its target and hover a safe distance from the obstruction. The R1, however, does not care. During a recent demo in San Francisco’s Jefferson Square Park, the R1 easily dodged trees, power lines and more than a few curious dogs while keeping its camera trained on me.

What’s more, having

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