LAS VEGAS — Parrot's popular AR. Drone quadcopter will be getting some major improvements this year with the rollout of GPS tracking, longer battery life, better steering and revamped video recording capabilities.
That seems like a lot to cram into a new reiteration of the AR. Drone 2.0 prototype that is on display at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show, but a demo conducted for Mashable on Sunday revealed the update is really something for fans to get excited about.
With promises for a launch "sometime this year," Parrot said the new battery will allow the quadcopter to fly for 18 straight minutes — six minutes longer than its current flight time. The battery will be available as an upgrade purchase (price to be determined), and it will come with the new model as well.
"We extended the battery because it's something a lot of people asked for," a Parrot spokesperson said.
It will also tout a GPS "Flight Recorder," which is a GPS receiver with 4GB flash memory that records flying perimeters. This means you can visualize your flight route on the map flights in 3D. It's also shareable with others.
The accompanying app, which is used to steer the device, will also get an update. A new feature called "director mode" will give more control to steering with the help of pre-registered and automatic movements. This is a huge improvement over the current model, where movement and turns are often bumpy and hard to control. Instead of moving your mobile device from one side to another, you will be able to hit a button to make it move forward, stop abruptly, turn around and pan. It also makes shooting videos easier to stabilize, and editing tools allow you to clean up shaky shots and colors.
The app games AR.Race 2.0 and AR.Rescue 2.0 — which allow you to race with others — will also be revamped to reflect the latest updates.