ZeroZero Robotics, the makers of the Hover Camera Passport selfie drone which followed around subjects using facial and body recognition, is back with a sequel. The Hover 2 camera is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and ZeroZero says it’s four times more powerful than its predecessor. The drone’s body features most of the same design of the original, but the Hover 2 now comes with an encasing that can be replaced with a lighter weight protector that improves flight time, control range, and aerodynamics.
The Hover 2 includes a feature called Optical Radar, which is a swiveling stereo sensor that offers 360-degree depth perception and obstacle avoidance. Paired with the new housing and the remote, it has 23 minutes of flight time with a 3 mile control range. It’s got a 2-axis gimbal and electronic image stabilization, and can capture 4K videos and take photos in 12MP image quality.
Though other consumer-friendly drones like the DJI Spark and Yuneec Mantis Q offer facial and body-recognition technology, they sometimes require external controllers, or can get easily confused in crowds and aren’t always reliable. Other professional, AI-powered drones that can follow subjects and avoid obstacles like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro or the Skydio R1 start at a price range in the thousands. The Hover 2 offers fully autonomous flying, and launches on Kickstarter today starting at $399.
ZeroZero Robotics’ first drone was well-reviewed and was initially sold exclusively through Apple retail stores. Although the company was rumored to have be in acquisition talked with Snap in 2017, a spokesperson denied the claims. “There were rumors of Snap acquiring ZeroZero but it was not true. CEO MQ explained and denied it when the information was first reported as a rumor.”