First announced back in January at CES 2010, Parrot’s amazing AR.Drone now has an official release date, price, and app that’s already available for download.
The Parrot AR.Drone is a quadricopter that uses augmented reality to create a brand new gaming experience. Piloted using your iDevice, the AR.Drone can provide great handling abilities combined with live streaming video via its two onboard cameras. Housing its own 802.11b/g components configured in ad-hoc mode, there’s no need for any additional hardware.
This isn’t your typical radio controlled aircraft. The AR.Drone has been custom designed with a lot of superb features in a small, sleek, and extremely advanced package. Housed within its chassis is a Wi-Fi module, 3-axis accelerometer, 2-axis gyroscope, high precision gyroscope (for the Z-axis), wide-angle front facing VGA (640×480) camera, high-speed down-facing QCIF (176×144) camera, custom CPU, 128MB of RAM, 128MB of flash memory, and altimeter controlled by a Linux operating system.
Parrot seems to have thought of everything when it comes to this long-awaited project. The AR.Drone has 4 replaceable propellers, 4 replaceable brushless motors, replaceable outer hull, and a replaceable rechargeable battery pack. Despite that, Parrot doesn’t expect you to actually crash this thing. The onboard computer hardware and Linux OS power an autopilot system that provides automatic landing, automatic take-off, automatic speed regulation, automatic altitude regulation, and even stops the propellers if they make contact with something.
Parrot AR.Drone has a range of up to 50 meters (164 feet), an operating time of about 12 minutes, a charging time of about 90 minutes, allows for different hull colors and types — indoor with a propeller guard and outdoor without. The free Parrot Free Flight app gives options for beginner or ace flight control modes, a choice of 3 enemy colors — for augmented reality games — yaw sensitivity, enable or disable altitude limit, and which hull type is currently being used.
And finally, the Parrot AR.Drone will be available to U.S. customers from select retailers in September 2010 with a manufacturer suggested retail price of $299. United Kingdom availability will be announced soon after E3 with announcements for availability in other countries following in the upcoming weeks. Replacement parts will be available directly from Parrot’s online store.
Included below is our video footage from our test flight with this great gadget back in February: