The fully automatic AR Drone, that anyone can fly, using your I-phone! The perfect beginner RC helicopter.
If you have attempted to fly fly RC toys and failed miserably, then you should consider the Parrot RC Drone, because even you can fly this quadcopter!
This quadrotor contains two cameras and enough sensors, along with a very smart computer that it really does fly automatically. The pilot uses an iPhone or iPad to control it, so an expensive RC transmitter, is not required.
Range is quoted at 50M (164 ft.) and the maximum altitude is limited to 6M (19.7 ft.). It is really recommended that the phone and flight battery are fully charged, prior to any flying session.
In the photo you will notice the shroud, mounted around the rotors. This is primarily intended for indoor flying and is intended to protect furniture and such from damage. as well as protect the propellers.
I think you will need a large indoor area to fly the AR Drone in. The typical living room has a lot of obstructions to be seen and avoided so a gym or similar large free area is preferred.
Here we see the Parrot Drone without the shroud. This is ready for outdoor flying. It can take off from the ground or be hand launched.
It was initially designed for Apple platforms, but other Apps will become available. An Android App is about to be released.
As mentioned previously, there are two cameras, one facing forwards and one facing down. The forward facing camera is used for a live feed to the I phone, so you can see what a pilot would see.
The downward facing camera is for control and maintains height as well as recognizing features that can keep the AR drone hovering in one position.
This is a 4-engined quadrocopter, with vision, accelerometers and gyros to stabilize flight. Rotor RPM is monitored and adjusted for maneuvering. Outrunnner brushless motors are used, along with a re-chargeable lithium polymer battery.
The cross booms are carbon fiber and the body is polypropylene. The propellers are made from a very flexible plastic material that makes them very durable and able to withstand a lot of abuse. The upper body, which is available in 3 different color schemes, is retained by magnets and covers up the on-board computer and battery.
The AR Drone can be flown by complete beginners, with complete success and
experienced flyers will also enjoy it's many features.
An iPhone, iPad or Android phone. Apps are available free from Parrot.
It can take-off automatically and rise to a predetermined height and land automatically upon command.
Forward flight is obtained by simply tilting the iPhone and tilting to the left or right or even backwards, results in the quadrotor following your commands. A virtual throttle is incorporated on the iPhone screen.
The video picture that is streaming back to the iPhone does give the possibility of FPV (First Person Video) flight control. However the video quality is not that great and the refresh rate is too slow to allow control.
It is not possible to imagine you are in the cockpit of the AR Drone and fly it but maybe someday it will be!
You can however see quite a lot and monitor WiFi signal strength and battery condition.