Ditch the selfie stick! Tourists can now use an AI drone to follow them around and take pictures


Holidaymakers can unpack the selfie stick – there’s a new gadget in town.

Tourists can now use an AI drone to follow them around and take pictures.

Taking off from the palm of your hand, the HOVERAir X1 can record you from 50ft in the air or chase after you at 15mph.

The lightweight device uses AI to keep focused on you and can be directed where to go with simple arm movements.

It might not be for budget travellers however costing £419 for the basic package compared to around £10 for the humble selfie stick.

Holidaymakers can unpack the selfie stick – there's a new gadget in town. Tourists can now use an AI drone to follow them around and take pictures

Holidaymakers can unpack the selfie stick – there’s a new gadget in town. Tourists can now use an AI drone to follow them around and take pictures

Taking off from the palm of your hand, the HOVERAir X1 can record you from 50ft in the air or chase after you at 15mph

Taking off from the palm of your hand, the HOVERAir X1 can record you from 50ft in the air or chase after you at 15mph

The device was shown off at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which is known for unveiling the future tech trends about to hit the mainstream.

Selfie sticks have divided the nation in recent years, with sporting events, museums, and theme parks – from Wimbledon to the National Gallery – banning people from using them.

Now, instead of a crowd of metal poles obstructing their view, tourists are going to have to contend with the shrill buzzing of a swarm of selfie drones.

Unlike the selfie stick, the HoverAir X1 – which weighs four ounces (125g) and can be used inside or out – is completely hands-free.

It doesn’t need a controller or app, instead relying on a ‘Gesture Control’ feature that allows it to follow you around by waving your arms.

To work, users unfold the drone and place it on the palm of their hand with the camera facing them. 

After pressing the launch button, the device takes three seconds to register who it needs to focus on and launches into the air.

Most similar to the selfie stick is the basic 'hover' option, which tells the drone to stay stationary in the air at eye level in front of them

Most similar to the selfie stick is the basic ‘hover’ option, which tells the drone to stay stationary in the air at eye level in front of them 

It doesn't need a controller or app, instead relying on a 'Gesture Control' feature that allows it to follow you around by waving your arms

It doesn’t need a controller or app, instead relying on a ‘Gesture Control’ feature that allows it to follow you around by waving your arms

There are five modes to choose from. 

Most similar to the selfie stick is the basic ‘hover’ option, which tells the drone to stay stationary in the air at eye level in front of them.

The camera – which can record high-definition video and audio – remains focused on them at all times and can turn either way as the user walks around it.

For a more action-packed recording, users can also choose ‘follow’, which can chase them on a bike for example at up to 15mph in winds of up to 18mph.

Or they can choose ‘bird’s eye’ mode, in which the drone shoots up to 15ft in the air and uses the second camera on its underbelly to take an aerial shot.

It can also be used by the more trepid explorers, operating in temperatures ranging from freezing to 40C.

For a more action-packed recording, users can also choose 'follow', which can chase them on a bike for example at up to 15mph in winds of up to 18mph

For a more action-packed recording, users can also choose ‘follow’, which can chase them on a bike for example at up to 15mph in winds of up to 18mph

It can also be used by the more trepid explorers, operating in temperatures ranging from freezing to 40C

It can also be used by the more trepid explorers, operating in temperatures ranging from freezing to 40C

With an estimated 92 million taken every day, an academic study recently labelled society’s obsession with selfies a ‘public health problem’.

Nealy 400 injuries or deaths have been reported across the world from people taking them since 2008.

Victims were found to be most likely female tourists in their early 20s, with falling and drowning while taking a photo the leading two causes of death.

Over the past decade or so several cultural events and attractions have confiscated selfie sticks

Premier league stadiums have them listed under their prohibited items alongside fireworkds and knives, while several theme parks – such as Alton Towers – have had to ban them from being used on the rides.

The launch of the selfie drone is likely to be welcomed by many influencers, who are now paying hundreds of pounds a day for professional photographers to take their holiday snaps

Companies such as Flytographer and Angel are cashing in on the boom, connecting travellers with photographers in their holiday destination. 

Nicole Smith founded the former a decade ago. 

‘Since then, we’ve had tens of thousands of people use our services to hire a photographer around the world, including solo travellers, couples and more than 20,000 mums,’ she said. 

‘It’s so important for mums to get into the photo instead of always being the invisible one documenting the moment.’ 



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