If it takes off, this tiny quadcopter could be something special

The Kudrone certainly looks pretty cool in its promo video — its features are great and the price is impressive, but will its maker really deliver?

Let’s hope so, as this mini drone is offering a phenomenal experience for a mere $99 for early bird Indiegogo backers. Even its expected retail price of $189 is remarkably cheap, considering the competition.

So let’s take a quick look at what Shenzhen-startup Ruiven has created with the Kudrone. First up, it’s small. Really small. The metal body is just 3.7-inches across, making it tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

“We designed it to be compact so that you can easily take it on to go and it can stay by your side no matter where you are — on the side of a mountain, biking a rough trail, or exploring a new land,” Ruiven director Kayven Zou told Digital Trends.

The Kudrone tips the scales at a mere 80 grams and comes packed with features that include a 4K video camera (Sony CMOS sensor) that can also snap 13-megapixel stills, GPS, intelligent obstacle-avoidance sensors, a 3-axis gyro accelerometer,  a MicroSD card slot, throw-to-fly capability, and auto-follow and emergency landing modes.

For maximum portability, Kudrone’s designers have done away with a separate controller and created a feature-rich app for iOS and Android that gives you full control over the flying machine while offering a slew of stats on flight status.

Of course, being a mini drone, you can’t expect all the features of a more expensive consumer drone like DJI’s Phantom 4 Pro or Mavic Pro. For example, flight time only lasts eight minutes with the Kudrone, but the battery is removable so you can keep it in the air for as long as you like if you carry a few spares. Also, you can only take it to a height of 30 meters, though its operating range is decent enough for such a small machine at 80 meters.

Smaller drones can sometimes find it hard to keep video steady in windy conditions, so we’ll be interested to see how well this particular quadcopter handles such conditions.

Funding

The team smashed through its $50,000 funding target this week and has more than doubled the value of its pledged funds in the last 24 hours, so it’s on course to start delivering the Kudrone in August 2017.

It certainly looks like an exciting bit of kit, so let’s hope it doesn’t go the same way as another mini drone that promised much and ended up delivering nothing. Zou certainly appears confident, telling Digital Trends his company “already has the manufacturing expertise and supply chain partners to mass produce [the Kudrone] at a consumer-friendly cost.”

Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Emerging Tech

Scientists successfully grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish

Researchers have managed to grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish for the first time, and even to successfully implant them into live mice. The results could be a game-changer for diabetes.
Emerging Tech

Tiny animals discovered in Antarctic lake deep beneath the ice

Scientists have made a surprising discovery in Antarctica: the carcasses of tiny animals including crustaceans and a tardigrade were found in a lake that sits deep beneath over half a mile of Antarctic ice.
Emerging Tech

How long is a day on Saturn? Scientists finally have an answer

The length of Saturn's day has always been a challenge to calculate because of the planet's non-solid surface and magnetic field. But now scientists have tracked vibrations in the rings to pin down a final answer.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Google plots radar-sensing tech that could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.