When was the last time technology grabbed you by surprise and wowed you? Was it the Rosetta comet landing? Perhaps an impromptu band rehearsal via Google+ Hangouts? If it's been a while, allow the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 to lift your curiosity.
As you can see in the above video, this is no ordinary toy quadcopter. Here's a pre-flight checklist of the AR.Drone 2.0's features:
- FLY – Using an app on your Android or iOS device, pilot the AR.Drone 2.0 at distances up to 165 feet. Embedded autopilot sensors hold it steady in the sky, making takeoff, navigation and landing easy. Battery life keeps you aloft for about 12 minutes and recharges in less time than it takes to watch Top Gun.
- RECORD – Two on-board cameras capture the action: one forward-facing (720p HD) and one downward-facing. Video is recorded and broadcast directly to your device in real-time.
- SHARE – One-click lets you upload your aerial adventures to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Picasa.
The product video showcases the AR.Drone 2.0’s capabilities and the tech specs look good on paper, but does it fly predictably? To pilot the AR.Drone 2.0, tap the Takeoff button on your smartphone or tablet and the Drone will automatically and assertively rise to a stable hover a few feet off the ground. To navigate, press the virtual flight stick and tilt your device in the direction that you want to go. To land, simply tap the Landing button.
The AR.Drone 2.0 has something to offer for a variety of lifestyles. Aspiring aviators and rocketeers are, of course, a natural fit. If you’re a gamer, swap your console controller for the virtual flight stick and test your skills in single player or head-to-head augmented reality apps such as AR.Race 2 and AR.Rescue 2. Your family can enjoy an imaginative day together and you can share the bird's-eye-view video that you capture using the onboard video cameras. Upload your flight footage directly from your device to show friends and relatives.
Brian's Tips for Flying the AR.Drone 2.0
- An open, grassy field is the ideal place to learn to fly. Confined areas with trees and obstacles will be tricky to navigate until you have a few flights under your belt.
- The protective indoor shell (the "foam clover" surrounding the propellers) cushions the drone during bumps and crashes indoors or outdoors.
- To maneuver out of an unintended flight path, ease off the controls and let the AR.Drone 2.0 steady itself automatically.
- You can tap into the online community. Parrot's website and forums are buzzing with video tutorials and tips and offer replacement parts if needed.