By now, most of us have seen a remote-controlled camera drone flying around taking pictures from above.
There’s about 1 million of them out there used by hobbyists in the US, according to Helen Greiner, CEO of drone robot company CyPhy Works.
But we haven’t seen anything yet, Greiner said during a talk at the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Aspen Colorado on Monday.
Greiner is an MIT alum, who previously co-founded iRobot before launching her new company.
CyPhy Works is building a commercial, robotic drone, which enticed 1,514 backers on Kickstarter to pledge $US882,478 to help her do it.
She also raised about $US12.5 million in venture funding (all of whom came to her, she says, “I wasn’t looking for money,” she says.)
By turning a camera drone into an “autonomous robot,” Greiner says that drones are set to become a new kind of appliance that’s capable of doing things like this:
- Automatically follow you around taking photos or monitoring your safety.
- Automatically follow your kids around, playing games with them or watching them for you.
- With “geo fencing,” you can make a drone fly continuously around your property to keep a watchful eye on it.
- Build a system with unlimited power supply to work with the military, so we won’t always pay someone to fly it “when it can fly persistently.”
If this sounds frightening, Greiner sought to reassure the audience that it won’t be. This will all happen really naturally as we decide we want the services that robotic drones can provide: monitoring real estate, helping with claims adjustment and so on. The kids with drones flying after them won’t feel any different than the kids with cell phones tucked in their pockets, she said.