Photo of Grand Prismatic Spring, in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, courtesy of Don Kawahigashi. Drone use is illegal in all national parks.

California-based drone manufacturer, Skydio, is under investigation after promoting its proprietary 'true follow-me' feature with footage of a rollerblader gliding along a West Thumb Geyser Basin boardwalk in Yellowstone National Park.

Operating a drone is illegal in all national parks. So is in-line skating on their respective boardwalks. Skydio’s social media manager geo-tagged Iceland as the location where the video was shot, not Wyoming. 'Thermal tour a la rollerblade,' read the caption in the post that was viewed over 10,000 times in one week. Users quickly caught on to the discrepancy in location and the video was removed from the company’s feed.

Some commenters were put off by the misuse of the location tag. 'Super dishonest,' Instagram user and avid drone photographer @justin_mcvideo posted. 'I was following this account, but no more. Shame.'

Skydio R1 drone

Yellowstone National Park law enforcement rangers learned of the video’s existence and, according to park spokeswoman Morgan Warthin, have not made any determinations. 'They are aware, and they will investigate it,' Warthin said. 'What’s important to recognize is that there are so many incidents of drone use that we deal with. Visitors using drones in Yellowstone is a problem.'

In 2018, alone, there were around 40 illegal drone flights that were brought to the attention of Yellowstone rangers. A significant portion resulted in citations, and some of those required a mandatory court appearance. Fines amounted to over $1,000 per offending pilot.

Skydio was founded in 2014 by three MIT graduates. The CEO and CTO were early engineers at Project Wing, Google's drone delivery effort. Their flagship product, the R1 consumer drone, uses NVIDIA’s AI supercomputer and 13 onboard cameras to autonomously fly and avoid obstacles in every direction. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised $70 million in 4 rounds of funding as of February, 2018. Representatives for Skydio have not released an official statement regarding this investigation.