The DJI Phantom 4 uses artificial intelligence to identify and follow a subject. (DJI)

The world’s leading drone company announced a new version of its flagship drone Tuesday, including a feature that allows it to trace the path of a moving object.

DJI unveiled its latest Phantom Tuesday. (DJI) DJI unveiled its latest Phantom Tuesday. (DJI)

DJI’s Phantom 4 is smart enough to recognize three-dimensional shapes — be it a person, animal or car — and keep the subject in its sight no matter what direction it heads. And with a top speed of 45 mph, it can keep up with most things.

While some drones have already touted their ability to follow subjects — a feature popular with aerial videographers — DJI’s drone takes things a step further. Existing drones have required the subject of a video or photo to hold a device that communicates its location to the drone. The Phantom 4 can identify and track a specific person or thing based solely on appearance. The subject would need to near the drone before the following began, so a pilot using the DJI app could target them on the app. A subject of a video could potentially be followed without having consented. 

DJI expects the feature will be useful for outdoorsy types who want to document their adventures, be it skiing, kayaking, surfing or something else.

The Phantom also includes added sensors, which the company said will help it automatically avoid some collisions with objects in its path. 


Using DJI’s app a drone pilot can select an object for his or her drone to follow. (DJI)