It's a Game of Drones as Flytrex, EHang showcase innovations at CES

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Drone makers have used last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to showcase an impressive array of inventions: from unmanned vehicles that can transport humans to a selfie-snapping camera drone.

The developments mark the evolution of drones to a vibrant, consumer-focused segment from their early applications in the armed forces.

One Israel-based company said it has a drone that can be taken straight out of the box, charged, and used to deliver small items to distances of up to 25 kilometers.

Yariv Bash, the chief executive of Flytrex Aviation, told CNBC's "Asia Squawk Box" on Friday, "Let's say you forgot your cell phone back home. A friend of yours can just connect the cell phone to the drone and it can send it to you."

Bash is also the founder of SpaceIL, which is the only participant from Israel at Lunar XPRIZE, a competition launched by Google where engineers from around the world are competing to develop affordable spacecrafts for future moon landings.

Flytrex Sky drones have 3G connectivity
Flytrex Sky drones have 3G connectivity   

Using a smartphone app, a SIM card, and cellular data, the drone can be piloted remotely.

The drone's internal system analyzes the topography between the start and end points of the flight and suggests flight altitudes to avoid hitting trees.

Further modifications to the drone are in the cards, according to Bash. "Two years from now, the drone will be aware of anything that it might encounter in the way."

This includes awareness of weather conditions, other drones, airplanes, man-made objects such as tall buildings and bridges, as well as receiving notifications from local regulators.

Meanwhile, a Chinese drone maker, EHang, upped the ante at CES 2016 , being the first company to reveal a drone that has the capacity to carry a human passenger over short-to-medium distances.

The electricity-powered drone, called EHang 184, can carry up to 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of weight for 23 minutes at sea level. It has an average cruising speed of 100 km/h, the company said. Passengers enter their destination into the accompanying smartphone app and its automated flight system does the rest, eliminating the need for a pilot license to fly. The drone takes off vertically and upon landing, its four arms can be folded to take up the size of a parking spot.

The drone's cabin is fitted with built-in air conditioning and 4G Wi-Fi internet.

"It's been a lifetime goal of mine to make flight faster, easier and more convenient than ever. The 184 provides a viable solution to the many challenges the transportation industry faces in a safe and energy efficient way," Huanzhi Hu, the chief executive of EHang, said in a press release.

But it would be some time before the EHang 184 finds popularity with aviation regulators, particularly in the United States.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires drone owners to register their recreational drones if they weigh between 0.55 and 55 pounds. Among other guidelines, the FAA said drones should be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas and full scale aircraft, should be kept within visual line of sight of the operator, and models weighing above 55 pounds should be certified by "an aeromodeling community-based organization".

Regulations for the use of drones for business purposes are still in the works by the FAA, putting a hold to Amazon's ambitious drone-delivery service, Amazon Prime Air.

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