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New Foldable Camera Drone Requires No FAA Approval, Can 'Add Spice' to Your Pics

You'll want to take this camera drone with you on vacation.
The Hover Camera is a lightweight drone camera that takes 4K video.
The Hover Camera is a lightweight drone camera that takes 4K video.Zero Zero Robotics

You may want to make room for one more companion on your next vacation — or wedding, or birthday bash.

The creators of a new flying camera say it will "add more spice" to photographs and videos by giving amateur snappers access to new angles and shots.

The Hover Camera Passport, the first product from Zero Zero Robotics, is a foldable, autonomous camera drone that weighs 242 grams, which is a little more than half a pound. The Federal Aviation Administration requires owners to register vehicles that weigh 250 grams or more.

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NBC News took the Hover Camera Passport for a spin outside San Francisco's Ferry Building and got a lesson on how it works from Meng Qiu Wang, CEO and co-founder of Zero Zero Robotics.

"People can do very creative things with it because it can replace rigs and cranes that typically a professional film crew would have access to. This will give you new movements, new angles," Wang said.

The Hover Camera is controlled by a smartphone app and can automatically hover after the owner releases it from his or her grip.

It can also be set to automatically follow you and even circle you to create a 360-degree wraparound video. This can create a neat effect if you want to capture a hike or a bike ride.

Wang said the camera uses a combination of AI, sonar, and a downward viewing camera to position itself to get the best possible footage of its subject.

The buzzing of the drone provoked some unhappy barking from a nearby dog. It also grabbed the attention of people passing by, but no one jumped out of the way as the Hover Camera followed us down the boardwalk.

At $599, the Hover Camera isn't cheap, especially for its 10-minute battery life. However, the 4K video quality and the autonomous shooting quality make it a fun splurge. Each unit also comes with an extra battery that's small enough to transport for people on the move.

While Hover begins shipping today, there are other competitors who have similar plans in the future.

Staaker is taking preorders for its drone that will follow you around everywhere — even on the ski slopes — for a price of $1,195. The aerial vehicle offers 30 minutes of flying time per battery charge, according to its website.

Another competitor yet to come to market, the Lily drone, has been hit with delays. The company is keeping customers updated on their progress here.

"We hope [the Hover Camera Passport] will add more spice to peoples' lives and make your next vacation more interesting," said Wang.