Paris – Straddling the line between electronic toy and
photographic accessory, 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
the AR.Drone community, including geo-location data of the best flight zones,
other pilots’ videos, and access to shared flight data such as altitude, speed,
duration and geo-location, for example.
The new app adds a number of upgrades over the original AR.Drone,
including Absolute Flight, a new ultra-intuitive flight mode driven by a 3D
magnetometer 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 three-axis accelerometer, a three-axis gyroscope, the aforementioned
three-axis magnetometer and a pressure sensor, which improves greatly 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 of the quadricopter and
connected to the central inertial unit, 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
The AR.Drone 2.0 includes two hull options. For outdoor flight,
the contoured hull, available in three colors (orange/yellow, orange/green and
orange/blue), reduces wind resistance and preserves the AR.Drone 2.0’s handling
When indoor, a second hull, that fits around the contoured hull,
protects the blades from any impact.
LEDs, green in front, red in rear, positioned on the landing
gear, help the pilot track the orientation of the AR.Drone 2.0 for easier
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.
In order to expand the use of the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 and its
compatibility with other operating systems and to develop new flying games and
applications, Parrot is providing developers and members of the Apple and
Android communities with a software development kit.
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 runs on an included rechargeable
lithium-polymer battery and will be available at selected retailers in May in
the United States for $299. Pre-orders can be placed online or in-store at
Brookstone starting March 1.