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Holy Shift! Perceptiv's drone upgrade kit lets you add auto-follow

The Shift kit combines a small camera and autopilot box that attaches to DJI and 3D Robotics quadcopters for subject tracking from the sky.

Perceptiv Labs

Having auto-follow capabilities on a drone means that it can chase after a subject without assistance from a pilot, essentially giving you your own private flying camera operator. We saw it featured a lot at CES 2015, but in its current state, it doesn't allow for a lot of creative control -- something Perceptiv Labs aims to solve with its Shift kit.

At the moment, most drones handle auto-following subjects by using GPS or long-range wireless connected to either the subject's smartphone, a GPS beacon or, in the case of AirDog's drone , an armband. While this works, GPS isn't the most accurate method for tracking and it only works if the subject has a beacon or smartphone or armband on them. This means, for example, you can't easily track wildlife with your drone.

Perceptiv Labs

And that's the big difference between having an auto-follow option and the auto-tracking promised by the Shift kit. Perceptiv goes a different route by pairing a small computer that taps into your drone's autopilot with a camera that mounts over your drone's camera you'll use for capturing photos and videos.

Using an app on an Android smartphone or tablet you'll be able to see what the Shift's camera sees, letting you use your device to select your subject or subjects to track. That's relayed from the camera to Shift's computer, which tells your drone and its camera where to go.

So instead of just simply following your subject, you'll be able to track them, control the camera to get the shot you're after and worry less about piloting while you do it.

The whole setup weighs less than 7 ounces (200g) with its own battery capable of keeping it running for more than an hour.

The Perceptive Shift Kit will support all of DJI's Phantom quadcopters and 3D Robotics' Iris+. It won't ship till this Fall, but you can preorder them now for $599, which converts to about £385 or AU$760. You can also preorder a Phantom 2 Vision+ or Iris+ with a Shift already attached and ready to fly.