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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.