AIRE is a drone designed for indoor use that links to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant technology and protects internal spaces. Projected retail price will be $US700.
The cylindrical indoor drone flies around homes or businesses detecting potential security threats, as well as responding to voice commands via Amazon Alexa-connected voice recognition technology. Aire incorporates a 360-degree camera as well as a microphone and speaker, will send alerts if it detects sound or motion when the site is secured and allows authorised users to inspect their site via video livestream.
The drone has 4 sonar sensors and a 3D depth 4K camera with 'night vision', along with IMU sensors, NVIDIA Tegra supercomputer processor and an ARM-based flight controller allowing it to detect and avoid obstacles in every direction. Control comms are Wi-Fi through a smartphone app in first-person-view mode but autonomous flight modes will become available via over-the-air updates down the track. The drone weighs 1.3kg, is 35 cm high and 30 deep.
"There is some level of autonomy for things like taking off, auto-docking and avoiding obstacles," said Aevena CEO Jeffrey Tseng. "We also have a mode that allows it to take pictures using voice control to demonstrate some basic autonomy. In the future, we're going to be adding features and functionality using over-the-air updates that will enable higher levels of autonomy, like Teslas, so it can do things like patrol the house on its own. The hardware is there to add more capability, so you won't need to purchase a new device to get more capability."
4K Tseng says the drone will be capable of some autonomous functions straight out of the box, like automatically launching from a charging dock, avoiding obstacles and then self-docking again when running low on juice. Flight time from the 2000 mAh Li-Po battery is reported to be 8 minutes – plenty for regular tours of domestic and small commercial premises.
“Unlike typical drones, which are optimized for outdoor flight, Aire is meant to be operated around people so we focused on safety, approachability, industrial design, and user experience with an emphasis on sound quality,” Tseng said.
“With this in mind, we decided to go with a flight platform called a ducted fan, which is far more complex than a quadcopter, but was able to satisfy our vision of building a human-friendly flying robot. To complement the novel mechanical flight platform, we added processors, sensors and software very similar to what you would find in a self-driving car to enable intelligent behaviours.” ♦