Parrot: Odd Name For A Company, But Then Again, It Does Make Drones

Written by  Sorab Ghaswalla | 15 January 2013
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Parrot Drone 2.0So you thought pilotless drones were just for the US forces? Think again. Soon, you can buy a commercial drone off the shelf. At the recently concluded International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013, one of the products that caught everyone’s fancy was the AR Drone 2.0.

This “quadcopter” or drone is made by a Paris-based company called Parrot, a company that since 1994 is into making wireless devices for mobile phones. The AR 2.0 can fly for about 20 minutes on full charge (for now), and comes with an in-built GPS-equipped flight recorder that tracks flight details such as speed and altitude.

The CES show was an orchestrated one with 8 such drones flying in union to music. The AR Drone per se may not be exactly new (the first model in the series was shown off some months ago), but at the CES, its manufacturer revealed that it had been working on adding new stuff to improve the machine’s performance. They obviously decided to give it a new product number, hence the name -the AR Drone 2.0.

In an interview to TechRadar  at the CES, a Parrot official revealed some of these changes. The additions include the integration of the Global Positioning System (GPS) with the AR Drone 2.0 Black Box. This basically will allow users to geolocate their AR Drone; which means no worrying of finding it in case your drone comes down in the wilderness, or wondering where your machine had gone to.

In addition to tracking the pilotless plane, the feedback can now be used to make 3D models using the AR Drone Academy, which comes in the AR Drone iOS app. The drone’s Black Box can also store videos directly, and has a 4GB of built-in flash memory.

Parrot has also gone an added a new type of 1500mAh high-density battery to the drone. This is a big step because the present battery does not allow the drone over 10 minutes of flight. With the new one, it will be able to fly for about 20 minutes.

The other additions to the AR Drone 2.0:

  • A new pressure sensor to keep it vertically stable at altitudes as high as 164 feet or 50 metres
  • The first built-in, automated manoeuvring function: it allows the aircraft to execute a mid-air flip
  • A front camera that can now shoot in 720p HD at 30 frames per second, which it beams right to the screen of your mobile computing device.

Though it’s not known when the AR.Drone 2.0 will become available in supermarkets, it does sell for US$299.99, from the website of Parrot directly.

Sorab Ghaswalla

Sorab Ghaswalla

Sorab Ghaswalla is the Founder of India-based digital world consultancy firm, New Age Content Services LLP, an Internet Entrepreneur & Consultant, a journalist, and owner/Editor of 2 websites. In his free time, he contemplates the larger implications of digital life.

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