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Tuesday, 13 May 2014 12:19

Parrot's Bebop drone is set to take off

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French wireless products manufacturer Parrot is once again taking to the skies, this time showing off a drone which can be controlled by a smartphone, dubbed Bebop.

The Bebop Drone is described by Parrot as a flying high-quality camera, due to touch down sometime in Q4 2014.

The drone follows its predecessor the AR.Drone 2.0, and among the Bebops' improvements are a far better camera, longer range, and an optional joystick-based controller..

"The experience is like being a bird, an insect," Parrot founder and chief Henri Seydoux said.

"You fly through the device and see the same thing as if you were a bird."

The Bebop drone can be controlled using Android or iOS smartphones or tablets, displaying on the screen whatever its high-definition camera with a 180-degree "fish-eye" view can capture.

New to the Bebop is a feature that will allow it to connect to Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, which will basically allow users to look around by moving their heads as though they are actually flying.

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.

Users can also purchase the optional Skycontroller, which uses actual physical joysticks and buttons.

Bebop drones link to mobile devices using standard WiFi connections and have ranges of about 300 metres. while a homing feature lets people controlling Bebop drones order them to return automatically to where they took-off using GPS capabilities, according to Seydoux.

The Paris-based company did not disclose how much it plans to charge for the drones, but the AR 2.0 costs about US$350.

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