If you’ve ever dreamed of controlling a state-of-the-art drone with just a few taps of the wrist, today is your lucky day. That’s because a new software update for Californian drone-makers’ Skydio quadcopter lets you take this high-end UAV to the skies — via your Apple Watch.
While that might sound a bit fiddly using a wearable device that’s purposely designed to be small and unobtrusive, from the sound of things it works quite well.
The Verge got a recent test drive, and notes how launching and landing the R1 drone is as simple as tapping and then slowly swiping the Apple Watch display inside Skydio’s app.
From there, you can also initiate filming options, such as the drone selfie mode and a “cable cam” mode which lets you place a pin on two points and then have the drone travel between them. Other interface elements use things like the Apple Watch’s digital crown. The report notes that:
“It was a pretty flawless experience. I was able to capture some footage from the R1 doing a dramatic pull away selfie clip, and [Skydio co-founder and CEO Adam Bry] also showed me how you can use the Apple Watch to switch R1 shooting modes or the tracked subject on the fly, which is useful for when you’re on a run or riding a bike with a group.”
No, you probably wouldn’t want to control every drone with the Apple Watch. But the cool thing about the R1 is that it’s more or less a self-flying drone, which uses artificial intelligence technology for obstacle avoidance. In other words, you shouldn’t be faced with a situation where it’s only your quick fingers on the Apple Watch’s diminutive display stopping the possible destruction of your pricey flying machine. Instead, this is more of a leisurely experience that opens up a bit more flexibility with your drone.
Skydio’s R1 drone is available to buy for $2,000, either from Skydio’s website or from Apple Stores across the U.S. and Canada.