NEW YORK — Parrot has unveiled its latest high-end quadricopter drone in time for the holiday selling season.
The new Bebop Drone is the company’s third-generation recreational quadricopter. It has a FullHD camera stabilized on a three-axis framework, allowing it to take video and still photos in a 180-degree field.
The new drone boasts improved sensors that the company said add greater stability and make piloting easier than Parrot’s previous drones. It is controlled during flight via Wi-Fi with a smartphone or a tablet.
The Bebop is equipped with a 14-megapixel fisheye- lens front-facing camera that records video in FullHD (1,080p by 1920p). Exclusively developed for the Bebop, it streams live an immersive view of the flight on the screen of the pilot’s smartphone or tablet. The pilot can control the angle of the camera with a thumb, through the piloting app, to transition the angle of the view on an 180-degree angle to film or take pictures vertically.
The Bebop is also compatible with the Parrot Skycontroller, a separately sold Wi-Fi extender that can also be used to pilot the drone and provides an extended flight range.
As an added feature, the Skycontroller is compatible with numerous first-person view (FPV) smart glasses. Once connected via HDMI, they offer an immersive view of the flight as if the pilot was in the cockpit. When using FPV glasses equipped with a gyroscope, the pilot can control the drone with joysticks while the angle of the camera follows the movement of his head. In addition, telemetry information is displayed, such as artificial horizon, battery level, flight speed, distance traveled, altitude, etc.
The Bebop’s four shock absorbers cushion engine vibrations and algorithms for the three-axis image stabilization allow the angle of the view to remains fixed, without distortion, regardless of the inclination of the drone and movement caused by turbulence, Parrot said.
Images are digitally treated by Parrot’s P7 dual-core processor and a proprietary image signal processor. In addition, the pilot can access several image settings from the app to achieve sharper results, such as format (16:9, 4:3, fisheye), white balance, saturation and others.
Landscapes are captured on the 8GB flash memory of the drone. Videos and photos can then be transferred onto the piloting device or a computer.
Advanced features of the Bebop include a mother board fixed on a magnesium shelf that provides electromagnetic shielding and acts as a heat radiator; an ultrasound sensor for analyzing altitude; a vertical stabilization camera that takes an image of the ground every 16 milliseconds and compares it to the previous one to determine flight speed; and a global navigation satellite system chipset that associates the GPS and GLONASS data and helps stabilize the drone at high altitudes.
The drone’s four three-blade polycarbonate propellers are easily disassembled, Parrot said, and offer an emergency cutoff feature in case of contact while in flight. The EPP foam hull can be removed to reduce wind factor.
The drone’s two bi-band Wi-Fi antennas can operate in 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, so depending on network interference, the pilot can select the frequency of his choice.
“The Bebop Drone masters several challenges: performs amazingly while flying and films in 1080p in a stabilized manner, all of this with a size reduction of 25 percent compared to the AR.Drone,” said Henri Seydoux, CEO of Parrot. “To achieve these results, our engineers worked for more than three years. The Bebop Drone embeds high-performance processors, a graphics coprocessor with professional-grade camera capabilities. With Skycontroller, we enter a new dimension, one of immersive and high-precision piloting.”
The Bebop Drone will be available in early December in Apple and Best Buy stores in red, blue or yellow, with a $499 retail. A bundle of the Bebop and the Parrot Skycontroller will be $899.