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A look back on the drones we saw at CES 2021

Although CES 2021 was an all-digital event that consisted of many live streams, we still managed to see a few drones shown off at the event. The rest of this post is some of the favorite drones and drone-related products we saw at the conference this year.

EVO Dragonfish

Autel Robotics advertises the Dragonfish with the slogan “Subvert Tradition, Command the Future.” The Dragonfish is stated as having a maximum flight time of 120 minutes, an 18.6-mile video transmission range, and the ability to get in the air in under four minutes.

Dragonfish has a maximum flight speed of 67 miles per hour and can fly in winds of up to 31 miles per hour. The drone has a maximum take-off weight of 17.2 pounds, with 3.3 pounds being reserved for payloads. The Dragonfish is also accurate down to one centimeter with a measurement error of one part per million.

EVO 2 RTK series

Looking at the product page for the two RTK-equipped drones, it appears to be a standard EVO 2 Pro and EVO 2 Dual 640T with an RTK module on top. The new module will give the drones improved accuracy to the centimeter.

An RTK base station has also been announced with A-RTK and GNSS support to ensure the drone is in the right location at the right time. The drone module also supports PPK and time synchronization, allowing users to choose the best setup to suit their needs. The flight time has also been reduced by a few minutes as a result of the added weight.

The module looks to be held down with two screws and likely interfaces with a set of pins from the images. This could mean that Autel is working on other modules, similar to the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise has. If you are interested in the specs, the new RTK drones share the same as the original EVO 2 series.

Sony Airpeak

Sony unveiled its previously hinted drone at CES 2021 with a sleek launch video. The only info we know on the drone is from this video for now. The Airpeak drone uses a dual battery system, has four motors, and uses a Gremsy gimbal to hold Sony’s A7 series of cameras. The drone also has an obstacle avoidance system and an FPV camera for the pilot.

We can also see a custom-built controller in the video that allows two operators for improved footage. Other than that, Sony hasn’t shared much info on the drone. It is currently looking for partners in the US and Japan to work with it on its next Airpeak project. The drone looks to compete with the Inspire series from DJI, so don’t expect to purchase this if you are looking for a bit of flying fun.

Cadillac VTOL passenger drone

The VTOL drone doesn’t currently have a name but will be the first time Cadillac and GM explore the passenger drone market. The example used in the presentation is that you’ve been working at the office and need to make your way to a meeting quickly.

In GM’s vision, there is a Vertiport on the roof of your office building where a drone is waiting for you. You hop inside the drone, and it takes you to the Vertiport closest to the meeting location. From there, an autonomous vehicle meets you at the landing pad and takes you to the meeting.

While these are just concepts and will likely not represent the finished product, they are still great to see. Seeing electric autonomous cars and drones from a company as large as GM is an important step to helping the world move into an electric and driverless future.

FoxFury D100 lighting system

The new D100 consists of four smaller LED modules arranged in a square to give 2300 lumens at an angle of 60 degrees from an altitude of about 200 feet and was announced at CES 2021. The lighting system has a run-time of 70 minutes and attaches to the EVO 2 with a special mount called the EXOLANDER. The mount also gives the drone new landing feet and has 10 mounting points for more lights or other accessories.

The combination of a bright spotlight and a payload system seems like the perfect pair for people stranded far away from rescuers or someone who needs medical attention immediately. Locate the person using the drone and then drop off supplies or medical equipment once located. This would be especially good as it could be the difference between someone surviving that extra time needed to rescue them safely.

Photo: Autel, Sony, Cadillac & FoxFury



Avatar for Josh Spires Josh Spires

Josh started in the drone community in 2012 with a drone news Twitter account. Over the years Josh has gained mass exposure from his aerial photography work and spends his days writing drone content for DroneDJ as well as pursuing his business.