Engineers have dreamed of blurring the lines between airplanes and helicopters for years. Planes, with their lift-generating wings and forward flight, offer great speed and efficiency. Helicopters, with powerful rotors and compact bodies, can take off and land from small platforms, rather than long runways. Getting the best of both worlds is hard in aircraft that carry people inside. It's much easier in drones, especially when those same drones borrow half a body from crowd favorite Star Wars fighter, the X-Wing.
The Swing, by dronemaker Parrot, is technically a quadcopter. Unlike most quadcopters, however, the Swing's body lands perpendicular to how it flies, transforming from a vertical takeoff to a winged craft in flight. We've seen this in only a few other drones before, most notably the crowdfunded QuadRKT. Unlike the built-for-speed QuadRKT, though, the Swing is slow, designed for speeds of around 18 mph.
The recently unveiled drone has less than eight minutes of flight time, and is marketed much more as a toy than as a flying camera. Still, the design suggests there is more space for drone bodies than boxy quadcopters or tossed airplanes, so expect imitation and innovation on the same general frame.
Watch it fly around below: