The Parrot BeBop drone has been unveiled, with the company’s latest smartphone controlled flying device packing Full HD video recording.
Building on the past Parrot AR Drone offerings – which are easy enough for anyone to control, but have been designed to survive the rigors of being flown by people without any experience – the BeBop brings improved video quality to the mix.
And the built-in camera is very clever. Instead of allowing it to move, and thus having to integrate a lot of heavy and costly mechanical workings into the drone, Parrot has simply equipped it with a super wide-angle lens, and a much larger sensor than it needs. In so doing, it allows you to move the camera around without actually physically moving it. This same technology also allows the drone to stabilise your footage, to reduce the various problems with in-air footage.
There’s 8GB of internal storage built in, and you can offload footage either via USB or over Wi-Fi. Videos are stored as MP4s and images as either JPGs or raw Adobe DNG files. These formats are widely supported, so there should be no problems watching back your impressive footage.
Parrot also has a control device, that means you don’t need to use your smartphone to fly the drone. You’ll still need a phone or tablet to watch the video feed, but the flight controls are operated by a dedicated set of physical buttons and traditional analogue sticks. There’s even HDMI so you can connect VR glasses – including Oculus Rift – to the drone, and fly it “first person”.
Don’t worry about losing the BeBop either, because it’s fitted with GPS, so it knows where it is, and can find its way safely back to you. It also uses this data to record its flight route too, so you can see where you’ve been and this information can also be saved to the cloud.
The only downside we can see is that the BeBop can only fly for around 12 minutes on a charge. That’s similar to the original AR Drone, and a frustrating short amount of time. Of course, you can always buy more batteries.
There’s no official word on the price yet, but the BeBop will be on sale towards the end of this year.
Read More: Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Power Edition review