Metropolis reviewed the Parrot AR.Drone 1.0 last year. While we were tremendously excited to be zipping a crazy Terminator-style drone around with a mere flick of the iPhone, we found it rather difficult to control and eventually smashed it against one too many walls.
Now, Parrot have addressed a lot of the teething problems of the prototype with the AR.Drone 2.0. As before, you control it with Freeflight—their free app from the app store—and connect to the drone’s Wi-Fi from your device. But the controls have been simplified massively. The new version adds a setting called “absolute control,” where the machine moves according to the direction in which you move your phone—which is much more intuitive. (“Relative control” is still available though for those with piloting pedigree.) There are also some slick moves like the forward and backward loops, and left and right barrel rolls, which you can accomplish at the touch of a button.
The new improved drone is smaller and more maneuverable, and comes, like the last one, with an indoor foam protector (touted as “robust and safe”), and an outdoor hard casing (“control and speed”). The thing itself looks scary with its whizzing propellers and the general ineptitude of its human masters, but it’s highly unlikely to injure anyone. As soon as the soft plastic blades touch anything the motor ceases and the ’copter falls to the ground. It is fairly resilient too, and any parts that break can be replaced. The little cogs that were our downfall with the last model are on Amazon.jp for ¥1,575.
With its new features and easy control, the 2.0 is more equipped to deal with the constantly expanding set of apps and games (both by Parrot and third parties) that pit you against your own PB; or against other rampant competitors to overcome obstacles, “shoot” each other out the sky, etc. It remains to be seen if some evil genius will be able to harness all the world’s drones and wreak havoc.
- Intuitive control system
- Record the flying film
- Flips and rolls made easy
- Games enhance potential
- Still expensive
- Buying parts could get pricy
The onboard HD camera streams to your smart screen, as if you were on the miniature craft zipping through the sky. But with the first drone we were so busy trying to control the thing we barely managed to see it. Now, you can plug your memory stick into the drone to record the HD footage for later viewing. We don’t know what you might be thinking of filming but if you accidentally scratch someone’s window you could hear a different drone—the drone of a police siren.