The skies over the United States were a little more crowded than usual following a test by the Department of Defense that sent more than 100 drones scattering across the sky, according to a report from the BBC. A total of 103 of the miniature, unmanned flying vehicles were released from a trio of Three F/A-18 Super Hornets, a popular Navy fighter aircraft. Called Perdix drones, the flyers have a wingspan of just 12 inches and move entirely autonomously--no human control required. Footage of the devices in action from October 2016, taken from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, was recently released by the Department of Defense. In it, the drones can be seen being released into the sky and swarming together, making use of the collective brain that controls them.
These being pandemic times, a recent visit to the Silicon Valley offices of drone startup Skydio involved slipping past dumpsters into the deserted yard behind the company's loading dock. Moments later, a black quadcopter eased out of the large open door sounding like a large and determined wasp. Skydio is best known for its "selfie drones," which use onboard artificial intelligence to automatically follow and film a person, whether they're running through a forest or backcountry skiing. The most recent model, released last fall, costs $999. The larger and more severe-looking machine that greeted WIRED has similar autonomous flying skills but aims to expand the startup's technology beyond selfies into business and government work, including the military.
So your kid wants a drone. That's not surprising: They've been a hot holiday gift for a few years running, and more options than ever are explicitly marketed toward the younger set. Still, there are a lot of drones out there, and it can be hard to tell not only which are actually good, but also which are safe, sturdy, and beginner-friendly enough for children. Your young pilot will probably crash this thing a few times, after all -- in a lot of cases (though not all!), a low-cost toy drone is your best bet. When it comes right down to it, the best drones for kids are ones that will be relatively easy to fly and can take a beating.
Is there anything Xiaomi can't do? The Chinese company, known for making cheap but powerful smartphones, makes a ton of other gadgets, including a kid-oriented smartwatch, a fitness band, a 4K-ready media box, a rice cooker (yes, really) and a self-balancing scooter. Now, judging by an image posted on the company's Weibo account, it's also going to launch a drone. SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi Max is a 6.44-inch behemoth of a phone Besides an image of a bug-resembling, futuristic looking drone, and a date -- May 25 -- the poster contains no additional info about the device. Last week's teaser, which consisted only of an image of a wooden propeller, offered even less in terms of details.