Drones are one of the next big things in technology. From the military to businesses to video and photography, drones could turn everything upside down. Click here to see everything going on with drones in the news.
That's why there was a lot of attention at a recent drone conference in Atlanta. The biggest names in drone tech were showing off new models, and some of them were insane. Here are 9 of them that caught the eye of military-oriented site Defense One. I think 6 through 9 are the craziest.
1. SnowGoose BRAVO
This cargo drone from Mist Mobility Integrated Systems Technology is an upgrade to a model that's actually in use with the U.S. special forces. It's an autogyro, so it has rotor blades for lift and a propeller in the back to propel forward motion. It can carry 600 pounds, fly up to 18,000 feet high and speed past 70 mph.
2. Hummingbird drones
AeroVironment showed off its tiny "hummingbird" drone that looks like an actual bird. It's four years old, but still impressive.
Then there was Reference Technologies with the Hummingbird II octocopter, which can go to 14,000 feet and travel 60 mph. It's meant for surveillance.
3. Indago VTOL Quad Rotor
Long-time aircraft maker Lockheed Martin is in the game with the Indago. At just 5 pounds, it's meant for portability and quick setup to do aerial surveillance. It's even been used in disaster situations like the cyclone in Vanuatu in March. It's nice, but at $48,900 it isn't for everyone.
4. Eturnas D
From drone-maker DII, Eturna is a solar-powered model. The solar cells on the top of the wing can keep the 12-lbs, 7 foot wide drone cruising at 27 mph for up to 10 hours, or let it race up to 73.5 mph.
Another major aircraft maker, Airbus, has the TANAN helicopter-type drone for sale through the Airbus Defense and Space division. At 17 feet long and 6 feet tall, it's one of the larger drones around. However, it can carry 176 pounds and speed up to 93 mph. Also, unlike many other drones, it's diesel powered.
The Lots from Joby Aviation looks like a typical plane-style drone, but it has some features that are more suited to science fiction. The wingtips, for examples, turn into propellers, so the 275-lbs craft can take off straight up like the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey.
Here's the 55-lbs demonstrator.
And here's an animation of the wingtips in action.
Heading into flying saucer territory, the Radeus from Radeus Labs is a set of stacked discs with counter-rotating blades that travel around the edge. It's not fully tested yet. Just hope it doesn't hit something or someone.
8. ECA/Infotron IT 180
Using a similar idea, this drone has counter-rotating blades as well, but it looks a bit more like a traditional helicopter. It can carry sensors for surveillance up to 14,700 feet and last an hour on battery.
Atlas, from the strangely named company Unmanned Cowboys, stands for All-Terrain Land and Air Sphere, and I want one. It's a helicopter-style drone, but surrounded in a protective cage to keep it safe during crashes or in tight quarters.
Which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.