Some of the UAVs being shown at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas include items that are for play, personal photography and other uses which could lead to a market for the products.
French-based technology firm Parrot unveiled its "mini drone" toy which can be controlled from a smartphone. "We have civilian drones and now we have toy drones," Parrot's Nicolas Haftermeyer told AFP, describing the Parrot drone as a device designed for teenagers who enjoy a challenge of using a tablet to drive the device. While one division of the French firm makes fixed-wing drones for mapping and other purposes, this devices, which can be held in one's hand, are purely designed for play, says Haftermeyer.
DJI's Michael Perry said the group has established "a platform for any user to create amazing videos from the skies." While most of the usage so far has been for personal photography and professional cinematographers, Perry said DJI devices were also used for search-and-rescue operations in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. The company offered a test flight of its Phantom 2 Vision which it calls "the world's first consumer quadcopter with a built-in high-performance camera." The device can fly 25 minutes and send images and location back to a smartphone which directs navigation. It also is programmed to return home if the user loses the location. DJI says the device can revolutionize photography by getting to places normally inaccessible, like the middle of the Grand Canyon, or close to sporting events. But there could be other uses, such as for disaster relief. DJI has three other flying devices including one designed for professional cinematography and photography.