When we think of drones, convenience isn’t one of the first things that come to mind. But when we shine the light of todays technology on the LifeStyle we lead and how it can add value, immediately one can ask, why not project this on drone technology. This was beautifully translated in the flying robot called Fleye. It is a drone that stole the show at last weeks CES 2016.
The robotic drone, developed by Laurent Eschenauer, CEO and Dimitri Arendt, CTO both founders of the Belgium startup, can be useful in ways that can only be determined by actual use. Being the size of a small football it kind of looks like a friendly DinkyNerd toy that is safe and easy to use. The drone has the ability to fly independently on it’s own autonomous mission. You can program and track the route from your own iOS or Android smartphone and have it create the footage you like with an on board 5 megapixel 1080p camera. So no piloting skills are needed.
- Selfie: backs up to a given distance, and captures a video while flying smoothly back towards you.
- Panorama: goes to a given altitude, and rotates on itself to capture a 360° panorama.
- Hover: hovers in place with 10cm precision (when in range of sensors) so you can focus simply on altitude and viewing angle.
- Manual: it is of course possible to fly manually, either with the virtual touch-gamepad or a bluetooth game controller. You can also add your own RC receiver to Fleye.
Being an open platform, Fleye welcomes developers to create other applications to support specific use cases like playing a game, tracking tags or planning a cinematic path. We can’t wait for the developer kits that would make it possible for the robot to recognize faces. That way you can decide who Fleye gives access to the premises. You will be able to discover and download any application from their marketplace which should offer interesting opportunities to monetize on it all.
The UAV’s main rotor is built in a plastic cage, wrapped in lightweight, impact resistant plastic. The only one pound heavy drone carries a sonar unit, six other sensors and a down-facing camera to help it both avoid obstacles and flies via its own computer vision. Besides sounding a little like an annoying bee the only problem we see is its battery life. The robodrone can only fly for about 10 minutes continuously.
Yesterday Fleye Successfully raised €314,080 with 717 backers on their kickstarter campaign and their $1200 UAV should be able to be hovering our own smart home around September 2016. Maybe by that time we can link it to our smart hub security system.