It makes it sound like something from Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, but it’s inescapable: Aevena’s Aire looks like a flying version of Apple’s HomePod or Amazon’s Echo. Launched on Kickstarter on Tuesday, September 19, the Aire is described as the first self-flying robot designed specifically for the home. It’s essentially a drone security camera, which promises to fly around your house investigating any security alerts, snapping photos of you and your family (if requested), or just keeping an eye out for anomalies.
“Unlike typical drones, which are optimized for outdoor flight, Aire is meant to be operated around people so we focused on safety, approachability, industrial design, and user experience with an emphasis on sound quality,” creator Jeffrey Tseng told Digital Trends. “With this in mind, we decided to go with a flight platform called a ducted fan, which is far more complex than a quadcopter, but was able to satisfy our vision of building a human-friendly flying robot. To complement the novel mechanical flight platform, we added processors, sensors and software very similar to what you would find in a self-driving car to enable intelligent behaviors.”
The overarching idea behind Aire is offer its owners peace of mind when they are away from home. While the current generation of internet-enabled cameras can offer some of this, users have to choose between blind spots or blanketing their entire home with cameras. With Aire, on the other hand, its creators have developed a fully mobile internet-enabled camera that can be used to check to make sure a stove is turned off, verify any alarms which go off, or check in on pets during the day (well, depending on how they’ll respond to what amounts to an autonomous Frisbee floating over their heads.)
“Expanding on the home monitoring and security theme, we also had many potential customers tell us that this would be perfect for checking in on a remote vacation home, or for elderly monitoring,” Tseng continued. “We’ve also added the ability for Aire to be able to act as a robotic photographer and take pictures. After the initial launch, we will continue to add additional capabilities to allow it to address more use cases.”
The drone can be controlled via a mobile app, or using voice commands through Amazon Echo. In addition to users telling it where to go, the Aire makes use of some smart AI technology and a combination of sonar and 3D depth sensors to plot paths that don’t involve crashing into objects within your home.
Right now, Aire is available for pre-order on Kickstarter. Prices start at $699, with shipping set to take place in September 2018.
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