A flying robot to push around

Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:00am EST
 
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By Ben Gruber

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (Reuters) - A robotic drone its makers call 'Fleye' is both smart and safe thanks to a myriad of sensors, a powerful onboard computer, and its unique shape. 

"We have a single propeller machine where the propeller is inside a ball so you don't see anything moving from the outside. You can touch it, you can bump into it and you won't hurt yourself," said Laurent Eschenauer, the CEO & Co-Founder of Belgian tech company, Fleye. 

The rotor of the flying robot is encased in a plastic sphere about the size of a soccer ball. The developers say that along with its safety features, what sets their robot apart is its autonomous capabilities powered by an onboard dual core computer. 

"Fleye is supercharged with sensors like most drones, accelerometers, gyros, altimeters. It is also using computer vision to find where it is in space, especially indoors where you don't have GPS. So, Fleye is capable of staying on the same spot hovering without any pilot controlling it just by looking at the environment so it knows where it is," Eschenauer said

"So we have a vision of the future of flying robots which becomes totally autonomous. So no more pilot in the loop, floating around us and helping us with many different tasks, collecting data, transporting things for us," he added. 

The company has raised $300,000 to date on Kickstarter, a good start for a flying robot that can snap the perfect selfie of its user all on its own. Fleye was unveiled last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.