Sneak peak of Parrot's amazing new "Bebop" drone

Yesterday at the sUSB Expo in San Francisco, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the new Parrot Bebop drone (AKA AR.Drone 3.0), which will be formally announced tomorrow at the AUVSI conference. Above is Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux at the controls.

This thing is amazing. It's a full GPS-guided drone, with a similar tablet/phone control as the original Parrot AR.Drone. But the big difference is that it now has a GoPro-quality camera with digital stabilization.  That means that it has no gimbal, but is able to achieve the same effect entirely in software. I tried it and it was spectacular -- with nearly 180 degrees of stabilization range, acting just like a gimbal but without the mechanical complexity, size and weight.  This means that you can get a much lighter, cheaper and smaller vehicle. Software eats the world!

The vehicle also has a special long-range radio and antenna combination to extend the WiFi range far beyond that of the original AR.Drone.  And it's designed for outdoors use, unlike the AR.Drone. No pricing announced yet, but at first look, Parrot has a real winner with this one.

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Comment by Gary McCray on May 11, 2014 at 6:22pm

Never mind re my brushless motor comment, apparently Parrot has actually been brushless (geared) for some time, I managed to see one old enough where they were still brushed.

This thing is really cool and I want one.

Comment by Jonathan Buckley on May 11, 2014 at 6:52pm

This looks a surprisingly strong product.  Just when I thought these guys were asleep at the wheel (again), perhaps due to the 35-hour workweek.  :  )

Comment by Martin Szymanski on May 11, 2014 at 10:57pm

As read the camera will have a great ability to not need gimbal stability at 180 degrees?

Thats neat.

Comment by Paul Krajewski on May 12, 2014 at 3:09pm

I''l reserve judgement until I see actual unrehearsed video from units in the wild; historically DIGITAL image stabilization has been utter crap. To get that kind of range out of a true HD sensor will probably yield 640 x 480 raw video after all the cropping is done; even with interpolation it's still not even gonna be close to a real camera with a gimbal. Optical image stabilization with 180° range WOULD be impressive though.

mnem

Foo!

Comment by Craig Issod on May 12, 2014 at 3:14pm

I think the example video (young folks on the beach) is more the idea here - a fancy extension of the smartphone selfie. 3DR and others have nothing to be worried about - I'll even go so far as to guess this comes in cheaper than many are suggesting - $500-650 is my guess.

At that price it's a Christmas gift for gadget freaks. I think they found a hole in the market to fill and it will sell to beat the band. However, it won't sell to the same crowd that programs transmitters, etc. (in general). 

Another plus is that it is quite small and relatively lightweight...and the props stop (like the current AR) when they hit anything. This units is likely a lot safer than loaded-up bigger quads and even Phantoms. 

Comment by Michael on May 14, 2014 at 8:25pm

One is being sent to test,  the most exciting part is the Autonomous flight.  it will attract as many or more people as the AR. Drone.  They have a unique way of promoting and advertising which has worked in the past.   We will see?

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