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Skydio's R1 drone gets automatic & manual Apple Watch flight controls

Skydio, the maker of the R1 camera drone, is on Wednesday launching an update to its iPhone app that lets Apple Watch owners fly the drone from their wrist.

Pilots can automatically takeoff and land, and pick a subject to track, after which they can trigger one of the R1's new shooting modes. These include options like "cable-cam" and selfie shots, the latter of which lets people record things like dramatic pull-outs.

The Watch app even allows manual control, including rotation by turning the digital crown. The R1 retains automatic obstacle avoidance in this mode, which should prevent crashes.

Skydio on Apple Watch

In any event an R1 can be ordered to fly back to the last known location of a pilot's iPhone, useful when sending it out of visible range. An iPhone must be nearby to use the Watch app.

The Skydio app is a free download, and requires an iPhone with iOS 11 or later. The R1 itself is $1,999 though, whether through Skydio's website or Apple stores, which are now carrying the product.