International CES 2014: MiniDrone
French tech firm Parrot has unveiled a miniature version of its AR.Drone 2.0 at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as part of a wider move into the toy market.
The MiniDrone is a small, smartphone-controlled quadrocopter that uses a gyroscope, sensors and a downward-facing camera to stay in the air. The device also comes with removable wheels that enable it to move across the ground and walls. It communicates via Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy and has a battery life of up to eight minutes.
Parrot also showed its Jumping Sumo concept – a two-wheeled robot that can be controlled via smartphone or tablet via wi-fi. The camera-equipped robot can perform jumps of up to 80cm and 90-degree turns at high speed.
No price details were given, but the products are expected to be cheaper than their larger counterparts, which cost upwards of $12,000. Both toys are due to be released later this year. Although drones have proliferated over the past year, toy versions have yet to enter the mainstream.
The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that as many as 30,000 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be flying in US airspace by 2020. See the Stylus report Dawn of the Drone for more on how lightweight drones are moving into consumer use.
The International CES – the world's largest consumer electronics show – runs until January 10 2014. Look out for more detailed coverage of this year’s event, coming soon.