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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Creepy Staaker drone follows you and knows where you're headed next

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Tiny, mountable action cams make it easy to capture yourself doing all sorts of things without relying on another person to hold the camera. The Staaker camera drone aims to do the same by freeing you from the need for a pilot.

The quadcopter, pronounced "stacker," claims to be the world's first artificially intelligent auto-follow drone capable of not only tracking your moves, but can predict what you'll do next, too. And Staaker can do that while flying at up to 50 mph (80 kph).

Basically, you strap on a waterproof tracker/controller, unfold the drone's arms, attach a GoPro Hero3 or Hero4 to its 3-axis gimbal in front, launch it and have it follow you while you surf or ski or whatever. The company says the drone will have five different follow modes so you can position it at any angle and adjust its distance from you. Though, from what I can tell, these modes don't appear to be too different than what you can do with a DJI Phantom 4, Yuneec Typhoon H or, to some extent, the AirDog.

Look! Up in the sky!

Staaker ($1,795) AirDog ($1,599)
Battery life (minutes) Up to 30 Up to 18
Top speed (mph/kph) 50/80 42/68
Max. distance from user (feet/meters) 1,150/350 820/256
Camera gimbal 3-axis stabilization 2-axis stabilization

In fact, the Staaker looks and sounds awfully similar to the AirDog minus the Staaker's promised AI features and the performance differences listed in the chart above. The AirDog does have programmed modes for different sports such as surfing, mountain biking and wakeboarding, however, and it's available now for $1,599 on Amazon (roughly AU$2,100 or £1,200).

Preorders for the Staaker are set at $1,195 for the drone, waterproof tracker and a travel case, though it won't ship until December (assuming there are no production problems, of course). When it ships, the company says it'll be priced at $1,795. That converts to about AU$2,382 or £1,235 for the preorder -- and like the AirDog, that price doesn't include the GoPro camera.

GoPro's own Karma drone is also expected this fall. With no pricing and no real details on it yet, there's no telling if the Karma will have similar auto-follow features to the Staaker. However, I'd be surprised if it doesn't.

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Where to Buy

Staaker

Part Number: CNETStaaker

MSRP: $1,795.00

Visit manufacturer site for details.