Parrott wowed the world a couple of years ago when it launched its AR.Drone flying “quadricopter,” a helicopter-like smartphone-controlled drone with four rotors. Now the company is showing off AR.Drone 2.0 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Like the earlier model, this one can be controlled via a WiFi-connected smartphone or tablet. But it has a new high-definition camera, a new piloting mode, increased stability, and a new look. It also includes new video recording and flight data sharing options.
Users can download a free app from the Apple App Store or the Android Market to get the controls for the drone. In free flight mode, the pilot can record flights, take videos or photos and save them in the piloting device. All the flight data can be saved, checked by the pilot and shared. There are new games available for the AR.Drone and you can upload videos to YouTube.
Flying is still pretty simple, as you place your thumbs on either side of your touchscreen. A button forms underneath your fingers and then you move your fingers in various directions to make the drone move. If you slide your finger over the right button, the quadricopter rises or descends or rotates.
The drone has some sophisticated sensors, such as a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope, a 3-axis magnetometer, a pressure sensor, and two ultrasound sensors (for added stability). You can use the drone with an indoor hull that protects the rotors (pictured at top) or without the hull for outdoor use.
The drone 2.0 will be available for purchase in the second quarter for $299.