A Belgium-based startup has designed what it’s claiming is “the world’s safest drone.”
The flying machine landed on Kickstarter this week and sports a unique design that means anyone touching it mid-flight can do so secure in the knowledge that no part of their anatomy is at risk of being inadvertently sliced off. With that in mind, international singing superstar Enrique Iglesias should seriously consider backing this project.
Resembling a levitating lampshade or giant marshmallow, camera-equipped Fleye is about the size and weight of a soccer ball and can be flown remotely or autonomously by selecting one of several pre-programmed “missions” via its accompanying iOS and Android smartphone app.
Autonomous flying modes include Selfie, Panorama, Hover, and Manual, the last of which lets you pre-program a route. Remote control is possible via its virtual gamepad or a bluetooth game controller. It also features an open API and SDK giving developers the chance to come up with their own specific uses for Fleye.
The machine tips the scales at only 1 pound (453 grams) and includes an HD camera offering 1080p, 30fps video and 5-megapixel photos. Fleye can stay in the sky for 10 minutes on a single charge, and can reach speeds of up to 10 mph.
Fleye is the creation of a team led by electrical engineer Laurent Eschenauer, who describes himself as “the kind of guy who writes software on Sunday afternoon because it’s fun,” and aerospace engineer Dimitri Arendt who “started building planes when he was eight [and has] never stopped flying stuff since then.”
If the newly launched Kickstarter project can reach its €175,000 ($190K) funding target, the team says it can start shipping the drone in September 2016. Early backers can get their own Fleye with a pledge of at least €699 ($760), which offers a 40 percent off the expected retail price of €1250 ($1,365).