We have seen a lot of small imaging drones on this blog, but this little guy from Cleo Robotics is unlike anything we have seen. Resembling a donut, Cleo is a UFO-ish small imaging drone designed specifically for indoor flight and as such, it certainly has no qualms in zipping around tight spaces – thanks in part to its donut-shaped protective outer rim and caged rotor unit. Speaking of rotor… what makes Cleo unique is, it employs a co-axial rotor setup, which involved two propellers aligned on the same vertical but spinning in opposite directions, to achieve flight.
The co-axial setup allows it Cleo to have the power of larger rotors while maintaining a small footprint. Cleo is slightly larger than a grown person’s palm and due to the fact that it has no protruding parts, it can be slipped into a pocket with ease without the hassle of folding or disassembling like some drones are required to. Now, drones that allow it to be stashed away in small receptacles like pocket without folding isn’t new, but Cleo’s design really takes thinking-out-of-the-box to the next level. The donut-like robust outer ring not only makes more rugged, but also allows the drone to be grabbed from mid-air should the user so choose to.
A suite of sensors, along with computer vision, enables Cleo to navigate around a 3D space without the presence of GPS and doing so without bumping into obstacles. While it does boast a HD camera, Cleo ain’t no selfie drone (though you could totally use it to take selfie). It is designed with reconnaissance in mind, such as assisting law enforcement officers in accessing the situations before entering a hostile building, and it can be deployed to inspect narrow spaces, getting to hard-to-reach places like air ducts and pipelines. Cleo can also serve as an autonomous flying surveillance for places like airports, museums, prisons and even homes too.
While it is designed for indoor flight, advanced 3D scanning and mapping technology also makes it suited for mapping construction autonomously sites too. Finally, Cleo is outfitted a rechargeable battery that provides it with 12-15 minutes of flight time. It is not awfully long, but long enough for a vehicle this size and for the purpose it is designed for. Cleo first made its debut at CES 2017, but at this point, we are not clear of its development status. We sure hope it will materialize even though I knew very well that I won’t own one. But who knows? I might.
It is worthy to note that Cleo isn’t the first “single rotor unit” drone. The Fleye Personal Flying Robot from three years ago was the first that we have seen, but it was a lot larger and it was a consumer-orientated drone. And then there was the ‘Ball-shaped Flying Object’ developed by Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense which caught up way back in 2011.
Images: Cleo Robotics.
Source: Yanko Design.