Every drone owner wants to fly more and crash less. At CES this year, the new set of drones about to hit the commercial market promise to make that a reality. Purchasing a drone with a crash-avoidance system sounds like it would break the bank, but a few manufacturers have products poised to crush that expectation. These detection systems will give the next generation of drones previously unthought-of abilities, like navigating a maze without human assistance.
With its RealSense technology, Intel demoed a drone that could do just that. In a joint effort with Ascending Technologies, Intel plans to create crash-avoidance systems that make human interaction with drones safer. It illustrated this capability on-stage by playing a game of ping pong with the drone as the ball. Whenever a person came near it, the drone casually backed away, avoiding contact with the Intel staff. The applications reach beyond drones as Intel demonstrated RealSense for use with wearable tech and robots too.
Aimed at the professional market, SkySpecs has safety in mind with its Guardian system. Guardian’s sensors can run on top of current flight controllers, and they are platform-agnostic too. SkySpecs sees its collision-avoidance system as the first step toward drones flying on their own. It plans to license out the Guardian technology, but it already runs on DJI’s and 3DR’s systems.
It’s a common childhood dream to have a camera follow you around and capture every amazing thing you do. Using a tracker attached to your arm, AirDog will follow you around like a loyal pet, and it is well suited for extreme sports recording. AirDog treats obstacle avoidance differently than the tech featured above. No-fly zones can be planned out on your phone ahead of time to avoid trees and other vertical obstacles. The tracker doubles as a controller, so emergency landings can be made if necessary.
Canadian startup Pleiades’ Spiri drone might be the weirdest of the bunch. Still in its concept phase, Spiri features unique control options like following a color, or responding to music. In a demo that looked like a snake was being charmed, Spiri responded to the sound of a clarinet being played nearby. The final product expects to ship with collision detection for less $1,000, but there is no firm release date as of yet.