The International CES 2019 show kicks off this year on Jan. 8 in Las Vegas Nevada.
The technology trade show, which runs through Jan. 11, features a slew of the latest and greatest tech across all industries. Expect to see 5G, voice-powered devices, mood detectors, foldable screens and plenty of self-driving cars. But what can you expect to see specific to the drone industry?
Here’s your CES 2019 drone preview:
Since battery life remains one of the biggest pain points with drones, companies are starting to develop ways to charge them while in flight.
One company, Global Energy Transmission claims that it enables battery-powered drones to fly forever. Drones hover for a few minutes in a pre-installed charging area (called a GET power hotspot). The drone power hotspots can be installed kilometers apart along flight routes. Once in the hotspot, the drone is recharging via the company’s wireless power receiving system.
When people hear drones, one of the first things that comes to mind among the general public is Amazon drone delivery. So what can you expect to see from the Amazon drone team this year?
In an odd and rather anti-climactic play, this year Amazon drones are all about safety. Amazon’s HS3C team (the arm of Amazon that focuses on regulation and compliance; HS3C stands for Health, Safety, Sustainability, Security and Compliance) will partner with the Federal Aviation Administration to host a presentation on safety.
It’s unclear if we’ll get more clarity on what most people are waiting for — Amazon drone delivery — at this year’s show.
Beyond the FAA partnership with Amazon, you can expect more official government presence at CES this year.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao will deliver the Jan. 9 keynote at 11 a.m., titled “The New Mobility Revolution.” The keynote will address not only drones but also self-driving technology, touching on their future and how both technologies will revolutionize transportation.
We’ve seen underwater drones in the past, such as the PowerRay drone from Chinese drone manufacturer PowerVision, and Blueye’s underwater drone. But underwater drones are getting an upgrade in 2019.
Among the underwater drones you can expect to see is the MITO, the first robot from a company called Navatics, which was co-founded by engineers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The Navatics MITO is a remotely operated underwater vehicle that claims its active stabilization algorithm improves levels of steadiness for underwater video. The Navatics MITO ships in March.
Underwater robotics specialist Sublue will unveil a prototype of an underwater drone called Nano. The drone’s integrated propeller-motor system and underwater balance control system are intended to make controlling underwater drones more precise. Besides drones, Sublue will also launch an underwater scooter called Seabow and an electric swimming kickboard for non-swimmers called Swii.
In line with recent trends in the drone industry, expect a shift away from the kitschy drone tech that fueled the drone hype bubble, and a shift toward drones for industrial applications.
Industrial drone specialist GDU will unveil SAGA, a lightweight and compact drone that targets industrial use-cases, including public security, firefighting, infrastructure, agriculture, inspections and construction site mapping. SAGA is unique for its infrared front 720p HD camera. It has 35 minutes of flight time, an ascent speed of 16.4 feet/s and flight speed of 49 feet/s.
Of course, you won’t just see new drone tech — you’ll get to hear the experts talk about it. You can expect to see panels on topics like drone delivery in retail, or policy and privacy. A panel about flying taxis will likely draw some crowds and will include panelists like NASA’s Dr. Parimal Kopardekar who has been hugely instrumental in the agency’s work on air traffic control for drones (aka Unmanned Traffic Management or UTM), as well as Tom Prevot, the Director of Engineering for Airspace Systems at Uber.
You’ll find most of the drone tech this year at the Las Vegas Convention Center in South Hall 2.
Here’s a complete list of drone and drone-related companies that are expected to exhibit this year at CES 2019:
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