By John Laposky On Feb 28 2012 - 10:36pm
Parrot is rolling out its next-generation
AR.Drone 2.0 “quadricopter” with a host
of new features including an HD video camera/
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.