Parrot Offers AR.Drone 2.0

By John Laposky On Feb 28 2012 - 11:36pm

PARIS — Parrot is rolling out its next-generation AR.Drone 2.0 “quadricopter” with a host of new features including an HD video camera/ recorder.

The aerial drone, which is controlled by Wi- Fi using a smartphone or tablet and Parrot’s free AR.Freeflight 2.0 piloting app, features a forward-facing 1,280 by 720 camera that streams real-time video or still images to the control device’s screen. It can record the content to the controller device, or to a USB drive (not included) under the hull of the drone.

The Freeflight app allows for one-touch sharing of the video or photos to the AR.Drone pilot community on Youtube and Picasa.

The app also includes a number of piloting games, and Parrot plans to launch the AR.Drone Academy, an online forum for sharing content with other pilots, including geolocation data of the best flight zones, videos, and access to shared flight data.

The new app adds a number of upgrades over the original AR.Drone, including Absolute Flight, an ultra-intuitive flight mode which allows the pilot to control the AR.Drone’s flight by the controller’s motion and tilt.

Also new is the AR.Drone’s micro electromechanical systems, which include a threeaxis accelerometer, a three-axis gyroscope, a three-axis magnetometer and a pressure sensor, which greatly improves the AR.Drone 2.0’s stability during flight.

Two ultrasound sensors analyze flight altitude up to 20 feet and the pressure sensor adds stability and control above 20 feet, up to about 150 feet. A downward facing second camera on the belly measures the craft’s speed using an image comparison system.

Parrot has also added a stunt mode which allows the drone to complete 360-degree horizontal flips with a double tap of the controller screen.

The AR.Drone 2.0 includes two hull options. For outdoor flight, the contoured hull, available in three colors, reduces wind resistance and preserves handling and stability. When indoors, a second hull, that fits around the contoured hull, protects the blades from impact.

The app is available in Apple’s App Store and an Android version will be available when the AR.Drone 2.0 begins shipping in May.

The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 runs on an included rechargeable lithium-polymer battery and will be available at select U.S. retailers in May for $299. Pre-orders can be placed online or in-store at Brookstone starting March 1.

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