Is it a bird? A plane? A ladybug? No, it's an asset-locator aerial robot.
In November, Alameda, Calif.-based Pinc Solutions announced the launch of an aerial robot it calls Pinc Air. According to the company, the flying machine, which sports a bright red dome-shaped body and black appendages (thus the ladybug comparison), was designed "to help organizations locate and inventory high-value assets that may be either densely packed or spread throughout a large geographic area." CEO Matt Yearling said that industries like automotive, heavy manufacturing, and oil and gas production would benefit from the technology.
With a real-time location system based on a combination of radio-frequency identification (RFID) and geographic positioning system (GPS) sensors, Pinc Air offers autonomous flight, automatic collision avoidance, rugged construction, auto landing and return-to-home capability, automatic RFID collection, and optional video capture, the company says. Its design includes four propellers, helicopter-style landing gear, and a sensor package that hangs just below the body.
Pinc is playing it cagey; to learn more about the product—which is slated to go into commercial production in "early 2015"—the curious must register to receive project updates via a page with the header "We have lift-off." Intrigued? Sign up here.