How does R1 work?

What does it do?

R1 is an autonomous flying camera combining artificial intelligence, computer vision, and advanced robotics. It was built from the ground up for full autonomy based on visual sensing.

In a nutshell, R1 has the ability to:

  • Fly itself while intelligently following you
  • Capture amazing, cinematic 4K video
  • Give you as much or as little control as you want through the mobile app
  • Not run into stuff while doing all of the above

How does it do it?

R1 has been designed around the idea of trustworthy autonomy, based on understanding its environment the same way you do: visually. R1 uses the Skydio Autonomy Engine, which has been the focus of four years of research and development at Skydio. The Skydio Autonomy Engine comprehends what’s happening around R1, predicts what will happen next, and makes intelligent decisions multiple times a second. It uses 13 cameras to build a 3D map of its surroundings that includes trees, people, buildings and more. By understanding what you’re doing, what obstacles to avoid, and what will happen next, R1 keeps you centered in the action and lets you focus on your adventure(s).

R1 captures beautiful stabilized 4K video (using 3-axis stabilization and advanced imaging) and has a number of cinematic modes available. R1 is essentially like having your own flying camera crew, letting you go hands-free as it safely avoids obstacles while filming you.

How do I control it?

R1 is controlled via the Skydio app on your smartphone.

Launching R1 is as simple as swiping up. As soon as it’s in the air, R1 begins avoiding obstacles on its own, even through challenging environments like a forested trail. At that point, R1 is flying itself - no need to fuss with complicated flight controls. When it’s following you, R1 uses its advanced vision system to track you through 3D space.

The Skydio app uses your smartphone’s WiFi to communicate with your R1 and provide you with a live stream of the scene it’s currently capturing. A simple, intuitive interface allows you to select from a library of unique cinematic modes to match your activity and the scene you’d like to capture. R1 can also use your phone GPS signal to reacquire you for tracking or just return to you if needed.

As soon as your R1 lands, you can create high-resolution clips of your flights (with synchronized audio recorded from your phone) that you can share. Or download your full-resolution video footage to your computer using the included USB-C cable for further edits.

Check out our Technology page for more technical details, or our related articles for more information and tips.