Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 revealed: 720p recording and easier flight

Chris Davies - Jan 8, 2012, 11:06am CST
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 revealed: 720p recording and easier flight

Parrot‘s AR.Drone 2.0, the second-generation iPhone, iPad and Android controlled quadricopter, has leaked ahead of its official debut at CES 2012 this week. The four-rotor’d gadget now has a 720p HD camera which can record as well as stream footage to the new AR.FreeFlight 2.0 piloting app, a premature press release at DIYDrones [reg. required] confirms, while a new “Absolute Control” method promises to make flying the AR.Drone 2.0 even easier than before.

Whereas the first-gen AR.Drone – which we reviewed back in 2010 – required you to keep track of where the front of the quadricopter was, the new Absolute Flight mode relies on a 3D magnetometer built to let the the second-gen model know what orientation it’s at in relation to the smartphone controlling it. That way, “the pilot no longer needs to care about the orientation of the AR.Drone 2.0’s front camera, which will accurately track the smartphone’s motion and tilt.”

The traditional steering method will still be available as an option, and you’ll now be able to pre-program preset flight paths. Meanwhile there are some tweaks to the sensor array, with a pressure sensor used to boost vertical stability, new blade designs for smoother flight, and a slightly altered hull. As before, two shells are supplied – one for indoor flight, one for outdoor – and there are flashing LEDs to keep it looking impressive.

Apps for both Android and iOS are available, and there’s an open development platform for third-party game and other app developers to tie into the new AR.Drone 2.0. According to the leaked release, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 will go on sale in Q2 2012, priced at $299. We’ll be keeping an eye on the skies at CES to see if we can spot it there.

[via Engadget and via AR.Drone Flyers]

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4 Responses to Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 revealed: 720p recording and easier flight

  1. I almost bought one of these but in reading reviews of the original model, a lot of people complained that their first flight resulted in the drone shooting up high into the air, without their ability to control it, and some of them either watched as their $300 toy smashed into the ground while some never even saw them again. One reviewer even said jokingly (but in a sad way) that he watched his $300 toy go back to the factory where they likely resold it.

    If they have resolved some of those issues with this new release then I am intrigued, but I think I’ll wait and see what the reviews say first.

  2. The AR 1.0 would fly away if:
    1) it goes above ultrasonic range and the user was not quick to gain control manually. 
    2) it looses the wifi (sometimes this happens within a few feet) and problem 1 occurs. In that case you can kiss it good-bye.

    My 1.0 escaped and only by sheer chance I recovered it. I have 10+ yrs experience with all sort of RC heli and quads, and I tell you: those who have not lost it (yet) are just lucky.

    The AR 2.0 has a barometer that should solve problem 1, and make problem 2 consequences less serious. Still, many 2.0’s will be lost due to user errors and wrong info from the manufacturer (I already see YT clips with Parrot claiming a flying height of 50 meters – well outside WiFi range, unless they mod it). 

    However it will be less likely to disappear in the blue than v 1.0 (which I repeat is a matter of when, not if).

  3. I have one moded for RC which is really cool to fly…
    When the wifi goes out of range it just goes into emergency land mode or hovers a software update fixed the fly away issue ;)

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