Cleo Robotics’ Enclosed-Rotor Drone Looks Super Sci-Fi

DoCoMo developed a balloon-based drone that’s safe to fly indoors and around people, as it’s rotorless. Boston-based Cleo Robotics has taken a different approach, designing a bi-rotor drone that encloses the blades within a housing.

Designed specifically to fly in “GPS-denied environments,” the Dronut X1 uses sensors, LiDAR and algorithms to navigate. It can stream hi-def video as it flies. It weighs less than a pound and can safely bump into people or equipment without doing any harm.

In the demo video, it looks pretty darn impressive:

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I’m mostly amazed at how the simple design change of enclosing the rotors totally changes my perception of the object; absent the site of spinning blades, it looks sci-fi, or magical, for lack of a less corny word.

Magic, as always, will cost you. The Dronut X1 rings in at $9,800.