High efficient battery technology will become, if not already are, one of the major research areas in 2011. Mobile devices, hybrid car, electric car, etc, need a better battery. I can't wait to have a smartphone which doesn't need to go back into the charger in 1+ weeks.
A side note, usually, military research is leading the technology for a couple of years. Lately, news indicates that the time gap of new tech development between military and commercial becomes narrower. Battery technology is one of the examples. I am expecting there are more to come in the near future.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.