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The Fleye drone could be the safest flying robot at CES

You'll have to try pretty hard to hurt yourself with this thing.

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Following its successful Kickstarter campaign, the Fleye drone made its debut at CES 2016 this week. The $1200 UAV is designed, first and foremost, with safety in mind. Its main rotor is encased in a plastic cage which in turn is wrapped in lightweight, impact resistant plastic. The unit also incorporates a sonar unit, six other sensors and a down-facing camera to help it both avoid obstacles and navigate via computer vision. The entire unit weighs just one pound -- uncannily light, given that it's roughly the size of a basketball. It's also outfitted with a 5 megapixel 1080p camera. The Fleye only has enough battery life for about ten minutes of flight time, however, thanks to its open source API and SDK, the UAV can easily be programmed for autonomous flight.

I took a closer look at the Fleye on the CES showfloor and came away fairly impressed. The Fleye doesn't move fast enough or weigh enough to cause any sort of damage to people (though it could conceivably knock items off of shelves and counters if the pilot isn't careful), which makes it ideal for indoor use. What's more, it's columnar rotor design ensures that nobody's going to put their eye out if they walk into it. Conversely, because the Fleye draws a large amount of air in through its top, the drone can get jammed in corners or against walls due to the high suction. Overall though, the Fleye is definitely on to something in terms of design. It's safer to operate and more robust than many of the other indoor drones I've seen at the show. I just wish it had a more respectable battery life.

Gallery: Fleye drone hands-on | 7 Photos

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