A unique drone with a spherical cage won First Place in the UAE's Drones for Good competition.
The entire UAV is effectively a two-prop, electronically stabilized gimball surrounded by a tough, lightweight carbon fiber cage. Instead of trying to avoid obstacles (which is a very difficult feat) the GimBall can just plow right into them, bounce off and then carry on to its destination. It can also roll along the ground or a ceiling.
The cage also protects potential rescue victims from the spinning propellors while making it relatively stress-free to operate indoors. The team sees it as a simple to operate, inexpensive and robust tool for rescuers or industrial inspectors, useful in, say, a nuclear accident or building collapse.
Fans of Stargate may recall this hovering spyball technology.
(Stargate hovering spyball)
SF fans may also remember the copseyes from Larry Niven's 1972 story Cloak of Anarchy:
Someone at police headquarters had expected that. Twice the usual number of copseyes floated overhead, waiting. Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up. Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...
Fans of Steven Spielberg's film Minority Report recall the spider robots, which spread out to search a facility in a mostly autonomous manner. Start the video below at about 1 minutes.