Many people purchase a drone so that it can follow them independently and capture their adventures without having to pilot the drone. Follow me mode and active tracking are popular features of many modern consumer drones.
Autel has a follow me mode called “dynamic track”. You can automatically follow any person, animal, or vehicle to focus on other things. It is currently available in the Evo Lite and Evo 2 drones and will be introduced to the Nano in a firmware update.
Activating the dynamic track feature is very simple, and Autel has made it incredibly simple to access the intelligent flight features.
This article will cover everything you need to know about Autel’s dynamic track feature and how you can best use it for capturing cinematic footage.
What is follow-me mode / dynamic track?
DJI, Autel, and other drone manufacturers always try to make the best drone possible. Automatic and intelligent flight features are increasingly using artificial intelligence to make the piloting experience as intuitive and powerful as possible.
Any mode on a drone that allows you to follow a subject automatically (whether a vehicle, animal, person or otherwise) falls under the umbrella of an intelligent follow-me mode.
Activating each drone’s dynamic track or follow me mode is slightly different but relies on selecting the appropriate software buttons to initiate the intelligent flight modes.
How to activate Dynamic track
Autel have encompassed a range of different tracking modes under the dynamic track option. Each dynamic track option can be used to follow the subject, move parallel with the subject, or keep the subject in the centre of the frame without moving (unless instructed by the pilot via the joysticks).
Activating dynamic track is very simple and you can follow these steps:
- start the drone as normal and launch into a stable hover
- press the drone icon in the top bar to access intelligent flight features
- you will be able to select between:
- dynamic track
- click on the dynamic track option
- choose between the appropriate dynamic track option on the dropdown menu including:
- follow – the drone will follow the subject and yaw left or right to keep them in the frame.
- parallel – the drone will follow the subject from the side.
- tripod – the drone will not move unless instructed to by the pilot but will continually track the subject.
- change the settings to suit your environment including:
- backwards flight – allow the aircraft to move backwards as the target approaches
- obstacle avoidance – the aircraft will automatically fly to the left or right when obstacles are detected
- drag-and-drop a box over your intended subject
While the drone is in active track mode, you can change the position of the drone relative to the subject by using the joysticks.
The drone will continue to follow the subject but you can move closer, higher, or change the angle very easily with the remote control.
How to get out of dynamic track
Getting out of dynamic track can be performed in two ways:
- firstly you can press stop or pause on your smart device
- or you can press the pause button on your remote control.
Stopping dynamic track quickly is important if you notice that the drone is about to drift into any obstacles, and you need to save the drone from crashing.
In other circumstances (when you are not using dynamic track), simply removing your hands from the joysticks is enough.
However, when the drone is in an intelligent flight mode, it is constantly moving with the subject, and you have to actively intervene to stop it from coming into contact with any obstacles.
Some drones may not have access
unfortunately, not all Autel drones currently have access to dynamic track. The latest drone in their series – the Evo Nano and the Evo Nano + – do not have access to dynamic track but they have teased that it will be included in a firmware update.
Despite some owners having purchased the drone many moons ago, the Nano does not currently have access to the dynamic track.
Some people have purchased the Evo Nano (+) drone in November 2021 and are still waiting for the firmware update.
Some people have managed to access the feature in a beta version of the app:
If you want a small drone with very sophisticated follow-me features at an affordable price, I recommend the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
Until Autel can provide firmware as standard for this the nano it would not be recommended for those who value intelligent flight features.
However, the other drones in their catalogue have access to this feature and people are very happy with what they can achieve with dynamic tracking.
What people are saying about Autels dynamic track
The drone community has relatively well received Autel’s dynamic track. But some serious limitations caused near-fatal incidents when the tracking lost the target of the scene.
You can see this in the YouTube video below (I’ve set it to the most interesting start time).
You can see from the above video that DJI tracking is consistently better at following a subject.
Autel will have two improve their software detection so that it doesn’t select subjects while moving, even if they are moving at high speed.
Pros and cons of using follow me/dynamic track
Using dynamic track can become a bit of a crutch for some drone pilots. Learning to use the dynamic track feature and emulate the same movements manually will make you a much more rounded pilot and help you control the drone with much more nuance.
- Solo recording – dynamic track is perfect for those who are vlogging or need to be a one person content creator.
- Allows you to focus on other things – utilising the intelligent track features means that you’ll be able to focus on performing activities and turn your attention to other things without the risk of damaging your drone.
- Supersmooth footage – sometimes the joystick movements we make can be too abrupt and cause juddery footage. Using dynamic track means the drone will automatically smooth out its movements
- overreliance on dynamic tracking can limit your piloting ability
- can put your drone at risk – if you are flying near obstacles such as trees, your drone may be at risk of collision if it does not have good sensing hardware.
This article has covered everything you need to know about Autel follow me mode, known as dynamic track.
Drone manufacturers are continually improving their software and intelligent flight features, and we can expect much better tracking and stability from Autel in the future.
Unfortunately, it is not yet available on their smallest drone, and many people have been waiting a long time for the release.