DronutX1: A Drone Designed for Unmanned Inspections

A Drone Designed for Unmanned Inspections
Image Source: A Drone Designed for Unmanned Inspections

It’s surprising to know that drone or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) is not a recent invention. It has a very long history. According to records, the first-ever drone was developed in 1783. There was a succession of developments on drones through the years, and in 1935, the first modern drone was developed. Most of the drones developed during the intervening years were for military use.

The first Phantom drone, developed by DJI, was released in 2013, opening the door for the commercial use of drones. In the same year, several delivery companies, such as Uber, Google, Amazon, UPS, and FedEx, tested the different UAV concepts as they recognized the benefits of drones as a delivery tool. And with the pandemic, the many uses of drones became more apparent.

New drone design

Almost everyone is familiar with drones with propellers, frames, at least four extended landing arms, and camera setup and controlled remotely. The assembly sometimes looks like a small helicopter or a four-legged spider.

But Cleo Robotics came up with innovative drone technology. Cleo Robotics is a startup company in Boston. It will commercially ship its DronutX1, a drone designed for defense, construction, industrial inspection, and law enforcement applications.


The design of DronutX1 is different from the usual. The drone is cylindrical, and it does not have visible propellers. DronutX1 is the first bi-rotor drone in the world. It’s also distinguished for being the smallest in its class. Its shell is made of carbon fiber. DonutX1’s diameter is 5.5 inches, and it only weighs 15 ounces. The drone is very compact, and with its size, it can easily fit in the palm of your hand.

However, it takes 40 minutes to charge its removable lithium battery, which gives the drone 12 minutes of flight time, and a one-kilometer range.



Designed for indoor use, DronutX1 hovers above the ground, and using its patented thrust vectoring technology allows the ducted fan design to keep the drone stable while flying. In addition, it has counter-rotating propellers on top of each other housed in an enclosure, which, Cleo says, allows the drone to bounce off people and objects safely.

According to Cleo Robotics, the new drone is created explicitly for unmanned inspections of environments without GPS, such as crawl spaces, pressure vessels, and tanks. Cleo added that it could be used by law enforcement during high-risk situations. Likewise, DronutX1 can be employed as a flying surveillance camera to secure facilities.

DronutX1 uses 3D LiDAR to detect obstacles and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon. A suite of sensors takes care of data collection and HD image/video using a 4K camera, with 90 milliseconds in latency on gathering video data. For its navigation in low-light or darkness, the drone uses LED headlights.

It has an Android app, and you can control the drone using a joystick you can attach to your smartphone through Wi-Fi. In addition, users can opt to turn on its real-time streaming feature that provides 1080p/30fps video.

DronutX1 is already commercially available. If you are interested in a small, high-tech, secure surveillance system with enclosed rotors that bounces off obstacles, you can get one for US$9,800.