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Meet the Free Parasol, the brainchild of Japanese company Asahi Power Service. According to Gizmodo, this traveler-friendly hybrid uses a camera to follow you around town, protecting both the device and its owner from the elements above — both rain and sun.
The current prototype is about 11 pounds and has a flight time of around 20 minutes. However, the company has plans to make it two pounds lighter and extend flight time to at least one hour.
It’ll be interesting to see how cities restrict a so-called autonomous umbrella, if local governments decide to allow their use at all. CNET reports that Asahi initially plans to market the umbrella directly to venues that own land, which may help skirt area laws — such as gold courses.
Of course since this particular drone is only effective when hovering directly over your head, it shouldn’t be a threat to aircraft. That said, you’ll probably want to load it into your bag long before you pull up to JFK.
The Free Parasol is expected to ship as soon as 2019, with a projected price tag of $275 — a figure that’s sure to take a big bite out of anyone’s rainwear budget.
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