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HOW THE 2019 CES, BROUGHT HOPE FOR BETTER ROBOTIC DRONES

Quadrocopter, Camera, Drone, Fly

This year’s CES brought about a welcome development in self-propelled robots which are drones without the usual droning soundtrack.

That’s not because the electronics gathering features any fewer unmanned aerial vehicles lifted by spinning rotors that emit a characteristic and annoying whine.

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The racket hasn’t gone anywhere, as heard from such models as the pocket-sized AirSelfie 2 (light enough to evade the Federal Aviation Administration’s drone-registration requirements) and Ataraina’s Flying Magic Cleaner (a sort of drone Roomba that sweeps up dust particles electrostatically).

But the drones that interested some people most were not those small flying robots, rather Drones that go into the drink did. Underwater drones have been around for a while for those looking to capture their visits to coral reefs and schools of fish, but at this year’s exhibits, they came to a lot closer to parity with the flying sort. That is the water drones.

Some drones are just for fun. Like the RoboSea’s Bionics-RoboFish that swims by flapping a tail fin, just like an analog, organic fish. It includes a 4K camera and offers two hours of battery life for $799. And with its resemblance to the clownfish title character of “Finding Nemo,” it is on the cute side, though not for many significant useful applications.

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Other drone developers aspire for more professional applications. Like the Navatics Mito underwater drone that uses four thrusters to keep itself in one spot, illuminates its surroundings with a pair of 1000-lumen LEDs, and can operate for four hours on a charge. It’s correspondingly more expensive, at $1,499.

Another model of the same category is the PowerVision’s PowerRay drone which is still more expensive, at $1,899 in its high-end configuration. But that may help you catch your dinner: It includes a sonar fish-finder and can drop bait remotely, among other applications.

The biggest drones of all at the CES seems to include two devices you might not think of as drones, but which help illustrate how autonomous-mobility technology can make things easier for a human operator instead of manual operations. One of the devices is;

The Bell Nexus, a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft which was displayed during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 8, 2019. According to Reuters/Steve Marcu.

Meanwhile, At one end of the Las Vegas Convention Center, a mockup of the Bell Nexus had a large crowd gathered Thursday afternoon. That helicopter manufacturer is building this four-passenger, vertical-takeoff vehicle for Uber’s planned air-taxi service. It will use its six ducted fans to take off and land vertically, then rotate them forward for level flight at up to about 170 miles an hour over distances of up to 170 miles.

Bell estimates that the Nexus will see its first flight in 2025 or 2026—five years later than the 2020 debut Uber predicted last year for the air-taxi service. It will initially have a pilot, but this Textron (TXT) subsidiary aims to reduce that person’s role to that of an observer as it proves out the Nexus’s autonomy.

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The other device that intrigued the people is the exhibition of Deere (DE). It brought hope to the Agricultural sector and great thumb up to the show. Their bright-green S770, starting at $477,402, was not there to remind CES attendees of how their food got to their plates but to remind them of much technology goes into a piece of agricultural machinery.

Drone, Airplane, Propeller, Quadrocopter

Specifically, Deere tractors displayed at the show use an augmented “real-time kinematic” flavor of GPS for positioning accurate to within 2.5 centimeters and autonomous operation. The combine can drive itself through the field for precise harvesting, letting farmers take their hands off the wheel in the cabin and instead monitor the process while taking care of other business.

According to the explanation given, Deere tractors are drones. “A machine that drives itself? The S770 is a drone, just one with tires that approach the size of a compact car.”

 

 

 

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