Best Autonomous Drones
Autonomous drones enable pilots to take a more hands-off approach to flying, usually so they can focus more on elements like photography and videography.
The automatic features also make it easy to do perfect stunts every time. What are the best autonomous drones on the market?
Here are some excellent autonomous drones for your consideration:
- DJI Air 2S
- Potensic Dreamer Pro
- DJI Mini 2
- Parrot Anafi
- Holy Stone HS700E
- DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
- DJI Inspire 2
This guide will take you through each of these awesome autonomous drones, reviewing their automated features, specs, pros and cons, and so much more. Let’s get started!
1. DJI Air 2S
DJI Air 2S
DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions: up, down, forward, and backward, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles, even in complex scenarios and at high speeds.
Dimensions: 183 x 253 x 77 mm when unfolded
Weight: 595 g
Max Range: 18.5 km
Max Altitude: 5,000 m
Max Speed: 19 m/s in Sport Mode
Max Flying Time: 31 mins
Camera: 1-inch CMOS
- Spiffy camera that packs a punch
- Suite of Intelligent Flight Modes for taking your photography/videography to the next level
- Two levels of obstacle avoidance
- DJI O3 video transmission system for sending footage on the go
- Decently heavy
- Doesn’t have the newest version of APAS
The latest version of the Mavic Air is DJI’s Air 2S, which continues in the spirit of autonomous features intended to make each flight more conducive to your goals.
DJI is known for its suite of Intelligent Flight Modes, and the Air 2S doesn’t disappoint.
This all-in-one drone boasts automatic flight modes for photography and videography, including Sphere, Wide-Angle, 180-Degree, and Hyperlapse.
MasterShots is a natural evolution of DJI’s QuickShots feature.
How it works is you select a location or subject, and the Air 2S will do 10 different maneuvers as it films your target, maintaining them as the center of the shot the entire time.
Within MasterShots, you can use Landscape, Portrait, and Proximity modes.
FocusTrack includes yet more Intelligent Flight Modes; three of ‘em! You’ve got Point of Interest 3.0, ActiveTrack 4.0, and Spotlight 2.0. Tracking your subjects has never been easier!
Of course, no one likes stressing about crashing their drone when flying it manually.
The Air 2S has DJI’s Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 4.0, which is plenty suitable these days even if it’s not the latest edition.
On top of that, this drone has four-directional obstacle sensing.
The Air 2S includes a 1-inch CMOS camera that can shoot photos in 20 MP quality and videos in 5.4K at 30 frames per second.
The drone promises to remain in the air for 31 minutes, which is about average but not bad for this drone’s age.
2. Potensic Dreamer Pro
Potensic Dreamer Pro
4K Drones with Camera for Adults, 3-Axis Gimbal GPS Quadcopter with 2KM FPV Transmission Range, 28mins Flight, Brushless Motor, Auto-Return, Portable Carry case and 32G SD Card.
Dimensions: 350 x 320 x 195 mm
Weight: ~ 820 g
Max Range: 2 km
Max Altitude: 392 ft
Max Speed: 8 m/s
Max Flying Time: 28 mins
Camera: 1/3-inch Sony CMOS
- PowerAC Dynamic System enhances drone performance so you can capture important moments on film
- Awesome camera comparable with some DJI models
- Intelligent Flight Modes for more fun when filming with this drone
- Auto-RTH prevents crashes from lost signal or dead battery
- Its flight time is a little short
- Could use more robust safety features ala DJI
Everyone’s still talking about the Atom SE from Potensic, but when it comes to autonomous drones, the Dreamer Pro is one of the best from this brand.
Designed for optimal performance, the Dreamer Pro utilizes Potensic’s PowerAC Dynamic System.
This system enables the drone to determine when it needs more strength and power and then gives it some juice.
This drone can achieve 10 meters per second in a matter of 0.1 seconds, which is tripling its power!
Taking a page from DJI’s book, the Dreamer Pro includes hands-off Intelligent Flight Modes so you can begin using this drone immediately, even if you’re inexperienced.
The classic follow-me mode allows the Dreamer Pro to track you. Orbit Flight will rotate the drone around a subject. Even better is you can customize the flight range, speed, and direction.
Return to home will bring the drone back to you without you having to maneuver it manually; this feature has obstacle detection for safe arrival.
Waypoint Flight mode lets you select waypoints for the drone to fly using GPS coordinates.
Safety is a paramount concern at Potensic, which is why the Dreamer Pro uses auto-RTH during instances of weak signal or low battery.
Auto-RTH will also enable the drone to come back to you if you begin losing control.
Its camera is equipped with a 1/3-inch Sony CMOS sensor that can take images in 16MP quality and video in 4K HDR as you fly for up to 28 minutes.
3. DJI Mini 2
DJI Mini 2
Ultralight and Foldable Drone Quadcopter, 3-Axis Gimbal with 4K Camera, 12MP Photo, 31 Mins Flight Time, OcuSync 2.0 10km HD Video Transmission, QuickShots Gray
Dimensions: 159 x 203 x 56 mm unfolded
Weight: Under 249 g
Max Range: 10 km
Max Altitude: 4,000 m
Max Speed: 36 mph
Max Flying Time: 31 mins
Camera: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
- No need to register this drone due to its weight
- Great wind resistance (up to 38 kph)
- Many autonomous flight modes for videography and photography
- Foldable and a delight to travel with
- Average flight time
- Not the newest Mini
- Not the greatest camera quality
The Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro may be newer, but there’s something about the Mini 2 that drone pilots can’t stop talking about.
Perhaps it’s the affordable price point, the compact size, or maybe it’s all the autonomous features.
QuickShots is included with this drone with a bevy of fun modes like Helix, Boomerang, Circle, Dronie, and Rocket. You can also shoot photos and videos using Sphere, Wide-Angle, and 180-Degree panoramas.
Between these features and the 1/2.3-inch CMOS camera, which shoots in 12 MP image quality and 4K video quality, you can quickly become a drone photographer or videographer who knows their stuff!
The foldable, portable, lightweight Mini 2 benefits from looser drone laws due to its weight.
You can also forego FAA registration. It can fly for 31 minutes at a time, which isn’t bad when you consider this drone’s age.
4. Parrot Anafi
Thermal Drone 4K – 2 High Precision Cameras – Thermal Camera -14°F to 752°F + 4K HDR Camera – The Ultra-Compact Thermal Drone for All Professionals.
Dimensions: 17.5 x 6.3 x 23.9 cm unfolded
Weight: 11.3 oz
Max Range: 2.48 mi
Max Altitude: 4,345 m
Max Speed: 33 mph
Max Flying Time: 25 mins
Camera: 1/2.4-inch CMOS
- A drone with a reputation that precedes it, but in the best way possible
- AI automated features are smart and highly functional
- Exceptional safety features and tough construction good for beginners
- Powerful camera
- Beautiful lossless zoom
- Fairly heavy
- Must register it
The Parrot Anafi is one of the best-known drones in existence, and there are many great reasons for that.
This AI-driven drone features an assortment of autonomous modes sure to delight.
There’s follow me, a standard, and Cameraman. This mode frames the subject when taking overhead videos. You adjust how the Anafi moves, and the Cameraman mode keeps the subject in focus.
Hyperlapse allows you to create faster-than-life videos showcasing moving clouds, heavy traffic, or even sunrise to sunset (or vice-versa!). Do the opposite with the automated Slow-Motion mode.
The Dolly Zoom Effect zooms automatically according to what the Anafi picks up in its visual tracking system.
SmartDronies is for aerial selfies, while CineShots includes modes like 360-Degree, Rise, Epic, and Reveal.
The Anafi has several features to keep you safer in the skies. Find My Drone uses mapping to help you find your lost UAV.
Geofencing might sound like a bummer at first, but you control the parameters. You can also use smart RTH to guide your drone back to you.
The carbon fiber body lends this drone durability without driving up its weight too much. You’ll still have to register this drone, as it’s over the 250-gram threshold.
Its 1/2.4-inch CMOS camera can achieve 2.8x lossless zoom, and it produces 21 MP image quality and 4K video quality. The gimbal can tilt 180 degrees.
5. Holy Stone HS700E
Dimensions: 380 x 230 x 125 mm
Weight: 577 g
Max Range: 999 m
Max Altitude: 3,277 ft
Max Speed: N/A
Max Flying Time: 23 mins
Camera: 4K camera
- Very affordable autonomous drone
- Good Intelligent Flight features for the cost
- Durable with brushless motors
- Low flight time
- Only okay camera
The Holy Stone HS700E proves that you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a drone to enjoy autonomous features.
Intelligent Flight functions included with the drone are further augmented through the free Holy Stone app. You can use modes like follow-me or point of interest.
Tap Fly is like waypoints in other drones, as you can draw a flight path, and the HS700E will follow.
The HS700E also includes a 4K camera with electronic image stabilization. The camera can transmit images at 5 GHz and is adjustable at 90 degrees with a 130-degree FOV lens.
Brushless motors keep the HS700E chugging along as it flies for up to 23 minutes per battery.
6. DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
Drone with 20MP Camera 1″ CMOS Sensor 4K H.265 Video 3-Axis Gimbal White.
Dimensions: 16.5 x 13.5 x 9.25 in
Weight: 1,375 g
Max Range: 4.3 mi
Max Altitude: 6,000 m
Max Speed: 45 mph
Max Flying Time: 30 mins
Camera: 1-inch CMOS
- Offers the FlightAutonomy platform
- Includes all the standard DJI Intelligent Flight Modes
- Good flight time for the weight
- Amazing camera with a mechanical shutter for preventing distortions
- Very heavy
The DI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is the crème de la crème when it comes to the best autonomous drones. It has plenty of flight modes you’ll use all the time.
FlightAutonomy is the flight automation and aerial intelligence platform included with this drone. This advanced DJI platform produces 3D maps to gauge the surrounding environment in real-time.
Compasses and IMUs filter for errors to keep your drone safer.
Speaking of safety, the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 has five directions of obstacle avoidance, making it among the best DJI drone for avoiding dangers.
Getting back to autonomous features, the Intelligent Flight Modes are easy and effortless to toggle between.
Use ActiveTrack to keep an eye on objects, vehicles, or people. RTH will help you get your drone back after a day of adventuring.
TapFly is for course mapping. The drone will fly according to its automated route so you can focus more on getting the perfect photos and videos.
Draw Mode lets you create a drone route by hand, while Gesture Mode will take selfies or videos according to how you gesture.
The drone has a 1-inch CMOS camera sensor that takes photos in 20 MP quality and videos in 4K at 60 fps.
Its flight time of 30 minutes might not sound like much, but considering this drone’s weight, it’s impressive!
7. DJI Inspire 2
DJI Inspire 2
Auto-return, follow-me, gps, image-stabilization, integrated-camera, obstacle-avoidance, video-downlink-capable, wi-fi
Dimensions: 42.7 x 31.7 x 42.5 cm without propellers
Weight: 3,440 g
Max Range: 4.3 mi
Max Altitude: 2,500 m
Max Speed: 58 mph in Sport Mode
Max Flying Time: 27 mins
Camera: Zenmuse X7
- Top-notch camera for professional photography and videography
- Awesome speeds
- Great tracking features
- Many autonomous Intelligent Flight Modes to choose from
- Surprisingly expensive
- Extremely weighty
Admittedly, the DJI Inspire 2 is not your average hobbyist drone. It’s for commercial drone photographers and videographers, and serious recreational pilots.
Spotlight Pro is one autonomous flight mode of many. This tracking mode has advanced visual algorithms that can find a subject as you fly the drone, even if the Inspire 2 isn’t flying in that same direction.
Within Spotlight Pro are Composition Mode and Quick Mode.
Composition Mode allows you to choose the tracking position of the drone and the subject.
Quick Mode is easier to get started with. Simply pick an object, and you’re ready to track.
The Intelligent Flight Modes included with the Inspire 2 are truly impressive.
ActiveTrack is for object and person recognition and tracking, while TapFly utilizes the drone’s two-axis onboard FPV camera to produce a main and flight camera view.
You can still map out the route for autonomous flight.
The smart RTH is perhaps more intelligent than ever due to downward and forward vision detection systems.
The Inspire 2 will map out its flight and then return along that route if the drone loses signal. Its primary camera can detect obstacles up to 200 meters away.
This highly amazing drone features a magnesium-aluminum composite exterior and carbon fiber arms. Its dual battery promises 27 minutes of flight time, which is great considering how heavy the Inspire 2 is.
The included Zenmuse X7 camera shoots 4K videos at 100 Mbps, 5.2K videos with Apple ProRes support, and 6K videos with CinemaDNG.
The image quality is sensational, and with continuous bursts, you can keep shooting as you please.
Autonomous drones enable beginners to feel like pros, as their drones can do amazing things reliably thanks to these features.
Commercial pilots use automation to focus more on photography and videography, as do some recreational pilots.
Whichever need you have for an autonomous drone, as the technology continues to become more commonplace, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for a drone with smart features.
Holy Stone and Potensic now produce drones with intelligent tracking that rivals what DJI can do.
When considering the best autonomous drone for you, take into account more than price but factors like drone weight and maneuverability, ease of use, portability, and camera quality.
I hope you find the drone for you on this list!