Multirotor flying robots are more than just a new kind of toy. They represent the convergence of many pieces of tech, and a huge opportunity for innovation that will have application far beyond flying toys.
In 2006, I started my last company at Y Combinator. One of the Y Combinator partners, Trevor Blackwell, had an amazing robotics lab called “Anybots.” At the time, he was focused on creating remote controlled biped robots. The goal was to create a humanoid robot that balances, walks, and climbs steps. What he created was really great, however, required a large harness and power cable. It didn’t seem like a practical pursuit as far as robotic mobile agility was concerned. I remember thinking, “What’s the point of climbing stairs if you could just fly over them?” At the time, remote helicopters were exclusively single rotor. They were either powerless toys, or gas powered, and extremely dangerous. In either case, they were far from agile.