Super excited...the Parrot team sent me two AR.Drones
as development kits! (One is for me and the other for a famous game designer friend). They just arrived, and here are some first impressions and closeups.
First, I haven't flown it at home yet because you've got to compile the source code
with the iPhone SDK and then load it in ad-hoc distribution mode, and I'm not a iPhone developer (yet). But I did get to fly it at CES and it was just as awesome as you've heard. The coolest thing is that when you get in trouble you just take your finger off the iPhone screen and it snaps into hover mode exactly where it is and just stays there, totally locked. Amazing...
Here are some photos from the unboxing (these photos are all on Flickr, where you can mouse over them for notes. Just click on the photo and you'll be taken there):
This is the main board, with the Arm9 core in custom Parrot DSP silicon, the downward-facing camera for optical flow, the ultrasonic sensor and the WiFi radio.
This is a closeup of one of the brushless motors and ESC (the quad comes in either brushed or brushless models). This ESC runs at 200Hz.
It comes with a 1000mAh LiPo and charger.
You can see the carbon fiber rods through the battery compartment
Green LEDs in the front; red LEDs in the back
A USB-to-serial cable for hardware interfacing