From fishing drone to cage drone, the latest news from the CES in Las Vegas
It’s the drone fair in Nevada again. The Consumer Electronics Show, which opened on January 5th, offers its share of surprises and some daring.
Unchanged exhibition space, brand absentees (such as the Frenchman Parrot, who has been pale) and a world leader (DJI) are short on novelties. The harvest of drones in the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a major international event for consumer electronics, was not necessarily announced under the best auspices. It was without counting on the innovation capacity of the outsiders. Thanks to them, the big show in Las Vegas generated its share of eccentricities, bold technical choices, and anti-conformist quadrocopters. Not to mention the professional drones, which are now becoming more numerous.
PowerRay, UAV fishing
In 2016, it was Ehang’s giant drone, capable of carrying a person on board, that had caught the light. This year, the PowerRay is in charge of the show. Designed by the Chinese manufacturer PowerVision, which had already distinguished itself by designing the PowerEgg, a drone-egg, it is an aquatic drone. Its mission: to play pilot fish for high-tech fishing enthusiasts.
Designed as a mini-submarine for research, the PowerRay is connected to its pilot by a cable (it can go up to 30 m) which ensures the transmission of images captured by its camera and, incidentally, avoids losing it in the abysses… It tows, thanks to a flexible device, the wire of the fishing rod and goes in search of the fish it will be able to attract by depositing the fish. If the prey is ferrous, the line will detach, and the fisherman will only have to bring his catch back before recovering his drone.
The PowerRay can operate at sea, under the ice, and in a pond (provided that the waters are not cloudy), say its designers, who specify that “submerged” vision goggles called FPV (First Person View) are available. Marketing is expected this year at a rate of between 2,000 and 3,000 euros, says PowerVision. Which still makes the catch expensive.
It remains to be seen whether this intriguing innovation, which already excites technophile fishers – the others are raising their eyes to the sky – will be available sooner than the PowerEgg still awaited in Europe, a year after its presentation.
Kestrel, an original hybrid
In general, fixed-wing drones for agriculture are usually in the form of classic flying wings. The Kestrel of the American company Autel opts for an original technique. It presents itself as a small aircraft (its wingspan reaches 3.5 m), but its wings each carry two propellers, which allows it to make vertical take-offs and landings while retaining strong aerodynamic assets.
The Kestrel, which is intended for agriculture and the monitoring of large structures (pipelines, public works), can carry 2.5 kilos of payload in its nose and maintain two hours in flight to sweep 300 hectares.
Dobby (ZeroTech), pocket drone
The concept of the foldable quadcopter always ready to use, inaugurated with some success by DJI’s Mavic (and much less by GoPro’s ephemeral Karma), makes little ones at CES. Let’s forget the Walkera Vitus, which outrageously copies the Mavic, to take an interest in the Zerotech Dobby.
Not very aesthetic, whether or not it is folded, its performance is acceptable (photos in 13 megapixels, videos in 1080 p) and it flies up to 20 m of altitude.
Its weight of 199g allows it to avoid the registration requirement imposed in the United States for UAVs over 250 g.