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CES 2015: UAV highlights of the year


      The drone zone has shown probably the most hyped products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Even though the legislation is a true minefield when comes to the drones, the UAV market should be worth about $130 milions in this year, which is 50% higher than 2014. Unmanned aerial vehicles are just evolving rapidly and becomes inseparable part of our lives. Visitors at CES 2015 could see many latest drones and flying robots – from tiny toy gadgets to hi-tech scientific tools. Hereby I would like to share with you some curiosities worth of closer look. Some things although remain the same – key factors are still mainly regulation and power. Despite the challenges, UAV seem here to stay, and those on show at CES 2015 are a good example of the current state of the market. Drones and 3D printers just seemed to be everywhere at CES 2015.

     One designer decided to aim the female market. Ehang made a pink version of popular Ghost drone and it actually works. Reportedly, there is many females, like climbers or surfers, who want to use UAV mainly for making video while they are in action. Apparently, quadcopter format is so stable, because it has become mainstream. Ehang´s classic black version of the Ghost is already bestseller. Ghost drone has its flight time for 30 minutes, Ehang´s premium UAV, the Skyway, even manages 50 minutes, which is of course reflected in the price. Another way of development is obviously in miniaturization. The X3 quadcopter is so tiny that it can sit in your palm. According to the company representatives, it was the most popular Christmas present from last year. The X3 is just a cool gadget for playing in an office, though it´s no so cheap – it costs 200 dolars and it´s not even the smallest drone on the market. The company representative, Hubsan, makes also a finger-sized model that has no camera. Moreover, Intel boss Brian Krzanich showed off the Nixie, a drone that wraps around your wrist, during his CES 2015 keynote speech.

Another truly amazing flying robot on CES 2015 was the Bionic Bird. This magnificent drone has a Bluetooth radio inside and can be controlled simply with a smartphone. Charging is done through a white plastic egg, to which can be the Bionic Bird connected via magnets. Moreover, unlike other tech-minded toys, the Bionic Bird works best outdoors. There is also a lot of UAS projects on Kickstarter, for example a “selfie drone”, which was announced by Hexo+. The drone is able to fly up to 60 metres above your head and taking all-round aerial photos from above. It has a sufficient flight time of 15 minutes and can be controlled via phone. This UAV also includes auto-land function, in case if it goes out of range of your phone. Therefore, you need zero skill to control this flying device. DJI comes with another improvement. They made a stick to which you can attach your drone camera when you are unable to use the drone itself. This solution is still a prototype, but with stabilisers can camera stay fixed while the stick moves, or follow the movement, with your smartphone acting as a viewfinder. In this way we could continue even for some time, there was literally a drone for every occasion and purpose on CES 2015 .