If you’ve been interested in drones in the recent months, chnaces are you’ve came across the Parrot drone quite a few times. That’s not nearly a surprise, the Parrot drone is one of best all-rounder drones money can buy.
It’s no wonder people are raving about it and it seems to always out of stock.
The Parrot drone is one of those gadgets people will go back to again and again because it’s such a great piece of tech.
In this article, we’re going to tell you all you need to know about the Parrot Drone.
What is the Parrot Drone?
The Parrot drone is a remote controlled quadcopter helicopter, built by the French company Parrot. Essentially, being a quadcopter, it is powered by four small rotors which are used to generate lift and also used to steer the aircraft through it’s remote control.
The Parrot AR.Drone (first version) was originally launched at the International Consumer Electronics Show in 2010, which was held in Las Vegas to much acclaim, media reportage and much much hype.
One of the key differences between this drone and other drones is that it is primarily powered by an iOS or Android app on your smartphone or tablet rather than through it’s own remote control.
Of course, the Parrot has a camera built-in. This means that as you fly your drone, you’ll not be just looking it and controlling it, you’ll be able to see what the drone is seeing in real-time on your own tablet or phone.
Have a quick look at the below video demonstrating a few of the primary selling points of one of the editions of this drone, the Parrot Drone AR. 2.0
The Parrot Drone was one of the very first drones to implement this feature and functionality. As a company Parrot has kept innovating on their drones for quite a long time and have established themselves as one of the major drones sellers in the industry.
Of course, given the tight integration between the drone and the app, it is very easy for you to immediately post the stunning images and videos you capture to your Facebook or YouTube accounts, without having to download anything.
Who should get a Parrot Drone?
The Parrot drone has been designed for quite a wide spectrum of users.
Infact, it has different remote control modes to suit the different types of users which would be operating the drone.
For example, it has an auto pilot mode which allows beginners to perform smooth take-off and landing (which is typically the most difficult times of operating the drone, particularly for those who don’t have much experience).
It has a mode which allows beginners to perform manoevers which are typically done by those who got plenty of hours of experience.
At the same time, it’s also great for those who have plenty of experience with drones, because it has an absolute control mode, which allows you to take full control of the drone and do whatever maneovers you have the courage to perform.
Here’s a quick short video of a Parrot drone performing a loop.
Does Parrot Drone design make it an indoors or outdoors drone?
The Parrot drone has a very particular design which gives it something special.
Under most circumstances, using a drone indoors is not a very good idea for multiple reasons. First of all, the likelihood of damaging either the drone (particularly the exposed rotors), furniture, or potentially causing injury is a risk which most people tend to wait to avoid.
The Parrot Drone however, mitigates many of these risks due to it’s very special design. The actual shape and materials used for the construction of the drone make this particularly suitable for usage indoors. Let’s see how and why:
- The drone’s rotors are protected – as can be clearly seen in the image above, the Parrot drone has a very particular shape and design. Rather than having the rotors above the body of the drone, the rotors are in line with the body. The actual drones are then protected by a “skeleton” (typically known as hull) such that the top and bottom are exposed to allow for the necessary lift, but the sides are protected from any being hit by any external objects (such as walls, furniture or … people!)
- The Parrot drone’s hull is made of an EEP foam which essentially protects both the drone itself from getting damaged and from damaging anything which is may hit
- The drone’s has multiple interchangeable hulls – the drone actually ships with an indoor and outdoor hull. The EPP foam is intended for internal use as described, whilst the outdoors hull made out of lightweight plastic is designed for increased outdoors manoeverability.
As you can see, the drone is suitable for both indoors and outdoors use.
How does the Parrot Drone connect to the Smart phone or tablet?
We mentioned a few sentences up in this article how the Parrot Drone is controlled by an Android or iOS app on your tablet or smartphone. Given that most drones require their own remote control, how does this actually work?
The secret to this is something which is very popular: WiFi.
Essentially, the Parrot Drone sets up a wireless hotspot through it’s onboard computer, which your smartphone or tablet then is able to connect to. Of course, once the drone and the app are paired, it is very easy to communicate between them.
The drawback of using WiFi to control the drone however is the range allowed. The typical range of the Parrot Drone is 150 feet, or a bit less than 50 meters, however you can buy a WiFi range extender accessory which increases the range by about another 50%.
Are there different models of the Parrot Drone which I can buy?
The Parrot Drone has been such a runaway success, that the company who manufactures the drone (Parrot) saw to creating a number of different editions.
Let’s start a little bit with the drone’s history. The original Parrot AR.Drone (Version 1.0) was released in 2010 at the CES conference, where it received an overwhelmingly positive response. Since it’s inception, it’s sold more than half a million units, make it one of best-selling drones ever.
There was then another version released, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 which was released in 2012 (also at CES) – which also had multiple variants also known as Editions.
The various editions the following
- PARROT AR.DRONE 2.0 ELITE EDITION
- PARROT AR.DRONE 2.0 GPS EDITION
- PARROT AR.DRONE 2.0 POWER EDITION
The lowest model in range is the Elite, whilst the GPS and Power editions improve upon the specifications of the Elite edition.
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition
The Elite edition is the cheapest model one can buy but it’s still of course an excellent choice, especially if this is eiter your first Parrot, or even your first drone. It has a flight time to 12m, a 720p High Definition camera, a 50m range and of course flight control through youre smartphone or tablet. It also has autopilot as described above, so that you can feel at home flying the drone whatever your skill level.
The drones also comes in multiple colors, including the Snow edition which is a white-based camoflage skin and the Jungle edition with a darker green camoflage skin.
Easily updates to meet FAA requirements
Remote control quadricopter controlled using an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet
720p high-definition live video streaming & recording to smartphone or tablet while flying
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 GPS Edition
In fact the GPS edition includes such additional features as a Flight Recorder included as standard, geolocation, better stability than other editions whilst also having a destination point selection mode. This mode essentially allows the Parrot Drone to return home (or it’s take-off point) by itself, which is great for those who are still a bit wary of landing their drone.
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Power Edition
The Power Edition is designed with the features and specifications of the GPS edition but with a longer flying time. In fact this edition gives up to 36 minutes of flying due to it’s different type of battery pack. It has a high-density lithium polymer battery.
The rotors are also a great looking orange, making the drone really stand out visually. Have a look at the visuals below.
What are some Parrot Done applications?
One of the reasons why the Parrot Drone have become so popular is the way that the company has enabled a number of applications via the drones.
These applications, besides giving great power to the drone, also allows different users of the drone to network … and even do stuff such as racing each other!
AR.Drone (or AR.FreeFlight)
This is the basic Parrot Done application which is used to pilot the Parrot Drone. Besides the functions to pilot the drone, the application allows the pilot the capture images and videos from the drones on-board cameras. The app allows joystick like movements to perform aeriel manovers, or aerobatics. AR.Drone Academy app is another app which integrates with AR.Drone and allows pilots to share maps and flight data between AR.Drone users.
AR.Race 2 ( or Ar.Race)
The AR.Race 2 as the name clearly states is an app which allows AR.Drone users to race each other. Using targets provided with the drone, racers can define a race course. During the race, the drones use the target(s) to actually record the time when they have “crossed the line” and shows the competitors on a shared leaderboard.
AR.Rescue 2 (or AR.Rescue)
The AR.Rescue is an augmented reality app. This means, it uses the environment which the camera is saying, reconstructs in 3D on the screen and then the drone pilot needs to peform certain “rescue” tasks. The object(s) one needs to rescue are the parts of a rocket. The app places the objects in the environment, and the Parrot Drone is used to pick up these objects, but it’s all based in the physical environment of the pilot. There are also enemies which need to be fought along the way of picking up these pieces.
Timings to retrieve the objects are of course recorded and can then be presented on a leaderboard. This is of course makes the game much more fun, because there is plenty of competition on the leaderboards.
If you want to know what this looks like, have a look at the video below
This is another augmented reality app which is played by multiple players. Using “weapons” one can engage other human targets, so this is an excellent game for playing with friends or other Parrot Drone pilots. Unfortunately, this game is not available for the AR.Drone 2.
What else can I use a Parrot Drone for?
The Parrot company has also created and released an API – which is essentially a way to actually program stuff for your drone. Using this API, the Parrot Drone has been a runaway success in research and education where researchers and students can create all sorts of applications for the drones.
The Parrot Drone has also been used for both military and civillian surveillance, where some controversy has been created around the use of drones for capturing video, even by the media for highly popular events such as mass gatherings and / or protests.
What is the typical Parrot Drone price?
We’ve already gone through a number of different editions of the Parrot drone and you’ll probably see that the price of the Parrot AR.Drone varies depending on the edition which you go for. You’ll typically find that the additional accessories, colors, and actual vendors where you buy the Parrot Drone from will have an direct influence on the price.
Typically you’ll find that the Parrot Drone price ranges around the $200 to $300 range making it very affordable. Seasonal changes, sales, stock vendors and much other things have an influence on the price.
Typically, the best price ranges you’ll find are going to be online, where stocks can be kept quite low and there is no overhead.
Amazon.com is typically the place where you’ll find the widest range of prices, but typically with the best value. You’ll find suppliers who keep the prices low, and you’ll find others where the amount of accessories bundled with each drone make it much more worthed than if you had to get them all individually.
With that said, that means you can find all kinds of prices. When it comes to shopping for a Parrot Drone, Amaon should be your first stop.
Is the Parrot Drone the drone I should buy?
The thing with Parrot Drone is that the company has quite a large range of drones which you can buy. Besides the Parrot AR Drone which is what we focused on, you’ll find that there is quite a few other drones you can buy. There is the Parrot Drone Disco, the Parrot Drone Bebop, the Parrot Drone Mini drones range and plenty of others.
However, the Parrot AR Drone, is definetely one of your first drone choices when you come to buy a drone. The Parrot Drone will give you both a great introduction and take you a long way in the world of drones. That’s why we think it’s definetely one of the best choices you can make when buying a drone in 2016.