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 to The Verge. “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.”