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These drones are hitting the skies and surf in 2018

From ready-to-fly mini racing quads to selfie drones that fit on your phone to look-alike folding camera drones there's going to be a drone for every type of user in 2018.

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Joshua Goldman
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Smaller drones for a shrinking market

Since 2015 drone makers have had their own special section at CES -- the Unmanned Systems Marketplace -- so you can see all of the latest flying robots in one spot. However, while it was at first bursting with vendors big and small, the marketplace noticeably smaller than years past with companies like Ehang, Parrot, Walkera, Hubsan and Syma with little or no presence. The ones that did have booths showed off new consumer racing quads, selfie drones and a whole lot of folding camera drones in various sizes.

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Yuneec HD Racer

Yuneec might be having trouble taking business away from category leader DJI at this point, so it appears to be going after another drone maker: Parrot. 

The HD Racer seems to target potential buyers of Parrot's Mambo FPV racer by offering beginner and advanced piloting modes and a low-latency HD video stream to a phone. One cool extra, though, is a flip-up command that will help right the quad after a crash. 

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Yuneec HD Racer

Though it's not a true racing drone, it looks like a good fit for someone to learn to fly by first-person view, much like Parrot's Mambo FPV. By the way, sitting behind the HD Racer in this photo is the second-generation Typhoon H, which has been updated with a new airframe and 20-megapixel camera with a 1-inch image sensor. 

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Yuneec Firebird FPV

A fixed-wing plane with a first-person-view camera so you can fly like you're in the cockpit, the Firebird has safe flying capabilities common to its multirotor drones like return to home, geofencing and autolanding. But it can also be flown manually allowing experienced pilots to perform acrobatics. 

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Yuneec Firebird FPV

Yuneec says it will fly for up to 30 minutes. 

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PowerVision PowerDolphin

PowerVision debuted its PowerRay underwater drone at CES 2017 and now it's back with the Dolphin. This model is designed to stay on the surface and can do everything from follow you while you're boating to help you catch fish with a camera that can be aimed above or below the water's surface. 

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PowerVision PowerDolphin

A top view of the PowerDolphin. 

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PowerVision PowerSeeker

The PowerSeeker fits into the Dolphin and Ray or can be used on its own to lure fish with its built-in blue light and has sonar that detects fish down to 40 meters (131 feet). 

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PowerVision PowerEgg

PowerVision's first drone was the PowerEgg, which is still one of the weirdest flying machines I've seen at the show. 

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Sublue Shark Mini

PowerVision wasn't alone with underwater drones. Sublue has a handful or submersible camera drones including one that can actually propel you through the water while you record. This is its Shark Mini that can record 4K-resolution video for up to an hour down to 40 meters (131 feet). 

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Autel Evo

At CES 2017, Autel's big push was for its partnership with Flir and its IR camera that worked with Autel's X-Star quad. This year's push is for Evo, a folding 4K-resolution camera drone with a 30-minute flight time and vision sensors all around so it can see and avoid obstacles in its flight path. 

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AEE Selfly

The Selfly is a folding quad that fits into the back of phone case. It started life as a successful crowdfunding project that proved to be trickier to produce than originally thought. AEE stepped in and partnered with its creator to help get it to market while also improving its performance and camera. 

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AEE Air Selfie

If you don't like the Selfly's design, AEE also partnered up with the Air Selfie's creators to help rework its palm-size camera drone. 

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Elan Selfie

Drone maker Elan clearly liked the design of the Air Selfie because it appears to have borrowed it for its own Selfie drone that can record 1080p video for up to 6 minutes and has a vision positioning system to help it hover in place while you get your shots. 

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Kudrone

The Kudrone was a successful Indiegogo project that predictably has a lot of hate in the comments section of its campaign page. It's another palm-size selfie drone, but the twist here is that it has GPS so it can do things like autofollow and hover in place while you shoot with its 4K camera. 

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UVify Oori

UVify says its new entry-level Oori racing quad is the world's fastest micro drone. 

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UVify Oori

The controller is equipped with a 5.8GHz analog receiver to give you a live first-person view from the drone. 

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UVify Oori

Built for beginners, it ditches wires and exposed electronics for slot-loading batteries and a tough outer shell. And unlike other racing drones, the Oori has a ground proximity sensor so it will hold its position instead of speeding away from you and crashing. 

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UVify Draco

The Draco isn't new -- it launched mid-2017 -- but the company says it's still the fastest RTF (ready-to-fly) racing drone available. It also features a pretty great modular design making repairs literally a snap. 

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UVify Draco Research

The Draco Research is the company's modular drone for, you guessed it, aerial research. 

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Wingsland X1

Wingsland's X1 is a toy racing drone that sends a low-latency HD video stream from its camera to your phone via Wi-Fi. Out of the box, you pilot it with your phone like Parrot's Minidrones, but you can also bind it with a six-channel transmitter if you want actual sticks to control it. 

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Wingsland S6

The S6 is a folding pocket-size camera drone with a 4K-resolution camera (full HD if you want to use its three-axis electronic stabilization), a handful of intelligent shooting modes, GPS and brushless motors that help it fly for up to 10 minutes all for less than $170. Adding to the package is the option to pop on accessories like a spotlight, toy cannon and an LED panel that displays emoji. 

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Wingsland S6

All that and it folds up into its own little plastic case for travel. 

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GDU 02

GDU was one of the first company's to have a camera drone with folding arms. However, the arms of its new O2 camera drone don't fold, but instead slide into the body.

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GDU O2

The O2 has all the bells and whistles you might expect in order to stay competitive with DJI including a 4K camera on a three-axis gimbal, obstacle avoidance, smart shooting modes and a 20-minute flight time.  

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GDU O2

The O2's controller doesn't have a screen of its own, but is ready for your iPhone or Android device. 

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High Great Mark

The Mark skips GPS and the visual positioning systems you'd find for stabilizing other camera drones for High Great's own VIO technology powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The system allows for a simplified internal design and fewer sensors with similar stability indoors or outside to other camera drones. 

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High Great Mark

Out in front is a Sony-powered 4K-resolution camera (though you'll need to shoot in 1080p if you want electronic image stabilization) and it gets up to 18 minutes of flight. 

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High Great Hesper

The Hesper is a slightly larger, more powerful version of the Mark, which can be flown with just your phone or an optional controller and also adds a single-axis motorized gimbal and visual tracking capabilities. 

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AEE Mach 2

Here's AEE's Mavic competitor, the Mach 2. The drone features a 4K-resolution camera on a motorized gimbal. Smart flight capabilities and a controller are part of the package, which will sell for south of $700. 

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AEE Mach 2

The Mach 2's foldable arms and propellers make is so you can stuff it in a bag and go. 

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AEE Mach 4

Made for commercial use, the Mach 4 has a battery bay that can hold a pack good for up to 40 minutes of flight and can have payloads attached both under and on top of its body. 

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Walkera Vitus Starlight

The Starlight version of Walkera's folding drone features a high-sensitivity camera allowing it to basically see in the dark and capture bright video even at nighttime. 

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ByRobot Lightrone

The Lightrone is an RTF mini FPV racing drone, commonly referred to as a Tiny Whoop. 

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ByRobot Skykick

It's a toy drone tucked inside a ball and that's all I have to say about that. 

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C-Fly Obtain

Here's one more DJI Mavic Pro lookalike: the C-Fly Obtain. The company also makes copies of the DJI Spark called Dream, the ZeroTech Dobby called Rooby and AEE's Air Selfie called Smile. 

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Ryze Tech Tello

Built with tech from Intel and DJI, the $99 Tello is a supersmart, superstable phone-controlled camera drone. You can use its EZ Shot commands to take quick dronies; fly it while wearing an optional VR headset and with third-party controllers; and even program it with Scratch, an MIT-developed coding system. 

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DJI

DJI didn't announce any new drones for the show (it has an event planned for Jan. 23 instead), but it was still the most crowded booth in the UAS Marketplace.

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