A Belgian startup called Fleye has built a drone that won’t hurt you if you accidentally come into contact with it.
The company, which launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter today, claims that its spherical, football-shaped unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and enclosed propeller make it the world’s safest drone.
The drone is expected to retail at €1,250 (£884) but a handful of Kickstarter pledgers will be able to get it for €599 (£424).
Drone safety has been brought into the spotlight after a rogue quadcopter (a drone with four propellers) cut Spanish pop star Enrique Iglesias’ finger during a gig in June and another took out a British toddlers eye.
Fleye cofounder Laurent Eschenauer said: “Although drones are increasingly becoming a part of everyday life, the lack of safety standards and regulations in the industry are still the elephant in the room.
“We realised that the classic drone design has many shortcomings and decided to go back to the drawing board to create Fleye, the next-generation drone that can exist in perfect harmony with people.”
Fleye said its drone, which weighs 450g and can fly for 10 minutes at a time, is particularly well suited for use close to people and indoors. It added that the robust frame allows users to “hold, touch, push and walk into the drone without any risk of injury.”
The Fleye drone is controlled via an iOS or Android app that is also able to instruct the drone’s onboard camera when to take photos (up to 5 megapixels) and shoot 1080p videos.
The team behind Fleye hopes that other developers will build their own apps for the drone. As a result, Fleye has published its application program interface (API) and software development kit (SDK), meaning developers can write custom applications to control it remotely or run directly on the drone’s on-board computer.
Fleye has raised €600,000 (£424,000) to date and hopes to raise an additional €175,000 (£124,000) on Kickstarter to cover the manufacturing costs of bringing its drone to market. The Kickstarter campaign will run from today until January 15 2016.