Parrot has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, offering a multitude of hands-free car kits, wireless headsets and speakers, photo frames and their new in-car systems. One of the more popular products in their catalogue is the A.R. Drone. At the Las Vegas CES earlier this year, Parrot launched the 2nd version of the quadricopter, the A.R. Drone 2.0. We thoroughly enjoyed the original Drone, and had high expectations of the sequel.
Parrot is a global leader in wireless device for mobile devices (most specifically for smartphones). The new generation A.R. Drone 2.0 also includes an updated app (for iOS and Android), which controls the Drone via Wi-Fi. The Drone’s improved hardware and software features include a new HD camera, video recording, instant flight data sharing, new piloting modes, with enhanced stability for easier flight control. The A.R. Drone 2.0 also has slight aesthetics improvements, although are too vague to notice.
During flight, the Drone’s front camera transmits real-time data to your smartphone via the app. This allows you to both capture photos with 1280x720px resolution, and 720p video recording at 30fps. This camera is also used during gaming, which features elements of augmented reality, picking up the surrounding objects, shapes and colours. The new social component of the app allows users to upload the photos and videos to the A.R. Drone community. The app also includes a travelling feature, which plots out the direction of flight while recording video sequences.
The A.R. Drone Academy keeps track of your flights’ data, location, photos, video and shares it with the community, which includes other Drone pilots. You can join this community by registering via the app to instantly share your experiences.
There are a few new games added to app, although it has to be mentioned that it only really works while flying outdoors. In addition, the app includes a new beginner flight mode, which stabilises the flight for novice users, even when indoors. The stability is controlled by means of a 13-axis inertia centre merged by the “Kalman filter”. The 13 axes featured include:
- 3-axis gyroscope
- 3-axis accelerometer
- 3-axis magnetometer
- Ultrasound and Pressure Sensor
- Vertical camera to measure ground speed on 2 axes
After spending a few weeks with the A.R. Drone 2.0 and explored all its new features it’s safe to say that the sequel lives up to all the hype. The camera improvements, updated app support, and social integration make a noticeable difference to the overall flight experience. Although there aren’t significant changes made to the look of the quadricopter, the feel has definitely seen a great overhaul. For those who already own the original A.R. Drone, there may just be enough to consider an upgrade to the new version if you can overlook the cost. At R3499, however, the A.R. Drone 2.0 is a bit on the pricey side.
You can find out more details about the A.R. Drone 2.0 at http://ardrone2.parrot.com/
The app is available at: