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Boston Startup Creates The Dronut, A Drone To Fly In Tight Spaces

BOSTON (CBS) – A Boston startup is giving drones a new look that could make a big difference in security and safety. Cleo Robotics is putting the propellers inside.

"What we've done is a leap forward in technology and capability," said Omar Eleryan, the chief executive officer of Cleo Robotics, which is housed in the new MassRobotics facility in Boston.

The leap forward is a drone called the Dronut. What makes it unique is the propellers are inside the drone.

"The Dronut has two counter-rotating propellers, which is a basically a ducted fan, UAV," Eleryan told WBZ-TV.

And the benefits of keeping those propellers inside are immense.

"We've designed to fly into confined and enclosed spaces where it might be dangerous or inconvenient for a human or another robot to enter," said Simon Czarnota, Cleo's co-founder and chief technology officer.

Law enforcement and the military will be able to send the Dronut into dangerous spots without the risk of a propeller hitting a wall and breaking the device.

It's safe enough, in fact, to catch in mid-air. Because of that, the Dronut will be available in the near future for consumer use.

"You can expect you might be able to see this technology as a robotic security guard in your home or business," said Eleryan, "or even delivering your packages."

the dronut drone
The Dronut. (WBZ-TV)

The Dronut is only being sold right now to military and law enforcement. The researchers next goal is to make it quieter. They say they're about six months from making that happen.

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