Attack of the drones! Palm-sized machines and self-flying vehicles go on display in Germany

From drones so tiny they fit in your hand to crafts that plot their terrain using 3D mapping - the latest and greatest flying machines have gone on display in Germany.

Manufacturers are using this year's CeBIT technology event to showcase their remote-controlled and autonomous quad and hexacopters to potential partners and customers. 

These include the QH micro quadcopter that measures just 1.7-inches (4.5cm) and the X-Star MaXAero drone that flies at 12 metres per second. 


The QH LS-111 is known as a micro, or nano, copter and is designed by Chinese manufacturer Lian Sheng. 

It has a built-in six-axis gyroscope to keep it stable and can fly for up to seven minutes. 

The tiny craft has a remote range of 98ft (30 metres).

Meanwhile, MaxAero's X-Star drone flew around the event in Hanover with a HD camera attached. 

It takes off and lands using a one-click control and comes with Wi-Fi and GPS built in. 

An LED indicator panel on the remote-control additionally reveals real-time flight status and battery level. 

The firm said: 'The X-Star Smart Unmanned Aircraft System is built for an optimal aerial experience and carefree flight manoeuvers. 

'Powered by an advanced built-in Smart Flight System, the X-Star is extremely reliable and easy to fly.' 

And it isn't just manufacturers displaying their machines, robotic researchers from the University of Zurich are also using the show to reveal their latest innovations. 

During one demonstration, students from the university's Robotics and Perception Group released a drone that flies autonomously. 

It is is fitted with cameras and sensors that map its surroundings in 3D, which in turn help the drone learn the terrain. 

The group is led by Professor Davide Scaramuzza and its lab was founded in February 2012 as part of the Department of Informatics at the university.

'Our mission is to develop autonomous machines that can navigate all by themselves using only onboard cameras, without relying on external infrastructure, such as GPS or motion capture systems,' explained the group. 

'Our interests encompass both ground and micro flying robots, as well as multi-robot heterogeneous systems consisting of the combination of these two. 

'We do not want our machines to be passive, but active, in that they should react to and navigate within their environment so as to gain the best knowledge from it.' 

The technology show runs until Friday.