Ehang Autonomous Helicopter
We’ll start with our favorite since it seems absolutely mad. You build an oversized drone large enough for a passenger compartment, then you DON’T put a pilot in there. Rather, this drone would bring would-be passengers to their destinations autonomously. If people are still uneasy about self-driving cars, this is going to make their day. But if the computing power and tech get to where they need to be, this could be a serious contender as a mode of transport in the future.
The funny thing about the Ehang product is that it looks like a scaled up version of a consumer drone. On the other hand, the Parrot Disco looks nothing like the typical drone, with a fixed wing design that looks more like a stealth bomber. It has a digitally stabilized 1080p camera in the nose, has a 1.1-meter wingspan and yet weighs only 1.5 pounds. As a result, the Disco can hit speeds of up to 50 mph. Parrot claims a flight time of about 45 minutes
Autel Robotics Krestel VTOL
There are typically two types of drones–copter-like drones with 4-plus rotors, or fixed wing crafts. The Krestel is a little bit of both, and takes inspiration from tilt-rotor vehicles like V-22 Osprey used by the U.S. Marines. Autel has created the Krestel with humanitarian aid and agricultural use. It has a 62-mile range, with a 40 mph top speed. The craft has a 4.4-pound payload, which is not much, but enough for crucial medial supplies.
While many enjoy drones as a fun hobby, there are a certain segment of cinematographers that use drones as an alternative to expensive camera cars and cranes to get unique shots from places that a man holding a camera could never get. Some of these cinema-quality units could cost as much as $3000, and that’s a hard pill to swallow for small-budget filmmakers. The Typhoon-1 has the stability of six rotors, retracting legs for unobstructed shots for the 360-degree gimbal, to which a 4K camera is fitted. At $1800, this could be a powerful tool for any cinematographer, or just a hobbyist with deep pockets.
Now for something a little smaller. This tiny device is shooting for the nano-drone segment, where others have tried and failed to deliver a serious product. Onagofly is controlled by an iOS or Android device, and its quadcopter layout supports a 1080p camera. It has an Indiegogo page, where you can plunk down $200 for two sets of propellers and a charger. The device will ship for $300, and the company promises it will be ready by March 2016. What is really cool is that it can follow you around on a run or a bike ride for the ultimate ride videos..