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Parrot introduces Bebop Drone and joystick-totin' Skycontroller


May 12, 2014

Parrot's upcoming Bebop Drone

Parrot's upcoming Bebop Drone

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Fans of Parrot's AR.Drone quadcopter have been anticipating the arrival of the AR.Drone 3.0 for the past couple of years, but it now looks like the next major addition to the French company's fleet is going to take the form of a little something known as the Bebop Drone. Among its improvements over the AR.Drone 2.0 are a better camera, longer range, and an optional joystick-based controller.

The Bebop features a 14-megapixel/1080p camera (as opposed to the 2.0's 720p model) with a 180-degree field of view, that's isolated from the copter's vibrations by rubber shock absorbers. Additionally, a 3-axis digital stabilization system keeps the camera pointing in the same direction, regardless of subtle changes in the aircraft's orientation or movements caused by wind. Footage and stills are recorded on an integrated 8 GB flash drive.

As with Parrot's previous drones, video is streamed live to the user's iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, which is also used to control the drone via onscreen toggles. For the Bebop, however, users can also purchase the optional Skycontroller. It features a shaded receptacle compatible with most major brands of mobile devices, so that users can still watch the video feed and access certain functions. Its main controls, however, are actual physical joysticks and buttons.

It also features an amplified Wi-Fi radio and four antennas, which boosts the drone's operating range up to 2 km (1.2 miles). What's more, virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift can be plugged into the Skycontroller's HDMI port, allowing pilots to feel like they're actually up in the quadcopter.

Thanks to the inclusion of a GPS module, the Bebop can autonomously follow a pre-programmed flight path, plus its "Return Home" feature automatically flies it back its point of take-off when requested.

It also features a vertical camera for seeing what's right underneath it, and an ultrasound sensor for detecting the proximity of the ground when taking off and landing. Its 1,200-mAh lithium polymer battery provides approximately 12 minutes of flight time.

Both the Bebop Drone and the Skycontroller should be available as of the final quarter of the year. Pricing has yet to be announced, although the drone can be seen in action now, in the video below.

Source: Parrot via Mashable

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

These devices are getting better day by day! Imagine the 'ultimate' selfie - taken from one of these hovering somewhere above you streaming constant live images until something worthwhile happens. Like walking into a power pole as you focus on yourself!

The Skud

Now this is awesome.

Tommy Yoppy

I wonder if it is possible to put a small fuel cell on board to extend flight time. But maybe 12 minutes is all you need, or when it comes back you can do a battery swap.

Bruce H. Anderson

Oh, please no! Not another one! I hate these things. I am plagued by fools with camera-equipped quad-copters whenever I walk the dog. They fly low to the ground, behind trees at speed and out of their own line of sight and they are dangerous! And the police are not interested. I'm going to get one of these damn things in the back of the head one day, or maybe the dog will. A small high speed lump of hard metal and plastic with four spinning blades. Charming. I'm sure many users are responsible, but I can tell you from personal experience that many are not!

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