3D Robotics

Parrot AR.Drone 2 announced, adds HD vid, baro


At CES today, Parrot announced the latest updates to its AR.Drone. The most interesting bits are higher resolution video and an onboard baro sensor that will allow it to fly higher than sonar range outside. The phone/tablet app also has a better FPV mode. 

Here's the full text of the release:

Parrot ‘AR.Drone 2.0’:

High-Definition Excitement!

At CES Las Vegas 2012, Parrot, a global leader in wireless devices for mobile phones, reveals the
AR.Drone 2.0, the new generation of its renowned high-tech quadricopter that can be controlled by Wi-Fi
using a smartphone or tablet.

With a new high-definition camera, video recording, flight data sharing, new piloting mode, increased stability
and brand-new look, the AR.Drone 2.0 offers an experience like no other!

A flying HD camera

While in flight, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0's front camera transmits real-time what the quadricopter
sees onto the pilot’s device screen.

For the first time the AR.Drone 2.0 camera, with a 1280x720 resolution, shows a view from the
sky in high definition with smooth and unbelievable images.

The pilot enjoys an experience like never before, as if he was on board. For gaming purposes, this
camera also can recognize specific shapes and colors to show augmented-reality elements on the
smartphone's screen.

Record and share flying experiences

Thanks to the new AR.FreeFlight 2.0 piloting application, players can record their own HD
videos and watch them or share them with the AR.Drone community.

Additionally, with the "travelling" feature, the pilot can film HD video sequences like a
professional! Simply select the direction of travel (forward, back, sideways) and the duration, and
the AR.Drone 2.0 does the rest.

AR.FreeFlight 2.0, a new piloting and sharing platform

In addition to flying the AR.Drone, new application AR.FreeFlight 2.0 – available to download
for free from the AppStoreSM and AndroidTM Market – offers players a new interface and several

. FreeFlight: Access to the piloting application.
The pilot can record flights, take HD videos or photos
and save them in the piloting device. All the flight data
(altitude, speed, duration and place) can be saved,
checked by the pilot and shared with the community.
. Guest Space: Access an overview of the AR.Drone
2.0, the best flight videos and practical information.
. Drone Update: Access the AR.Drone 2.0's free
software updates.
. AR.Drone Academy: Get geolocation data of the best flight zones, watch other pilots' videos
and access their shared flight data.
. AR.Games: Access applications/games available for the AR.Drone.
. Photos/Videos: Directly access your own videos and photos. Watch or upload to YouTube
for the community to enjoy.

‘Absolute Flight’, a revolutionary ultra-intuitive flight mode

After the AR.FreeFlight 2.0 pilot application has been loaded onto an iOS or AndroidTM
smartphone or tablet, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 connects to the device via Wi-Fi. After
connection, all the on-board instruments appear on screen with a cockpit view.

Press the take off button briefly and the four brushless motors turn on. The AR.Drone 2.0 takes

Flying is very simple. With your thumbs placed on either side of the screen, a control button
automatically forms beneath:

. Press and hold the left button and the AR.Drone
2.0 follows the movement of the pilot's device: it
moves forward, backwards or sideways when you tilt
the tablet forward, towards you or to the left or
. Slide your finger over the right button, and the
quadricopter rises, descends or rotates right or left.

Thanks to Parrot's patented new ‘Absolute Control’ mode, the player accesses an even more
intuitive piloting system.

With a 3D magnetometer, the AR.Drone 2.0 knows its precise orientation with respect to the
smartphone, which becomes the reference point. The pilot no longer needs to care about the
orientation of the AR.Drone 2.0's front camera, which will accurately track the smartphone's
motion and tilt.

Experienced players will select ‘Relative Flight’ mode, the conventional flight mode. This
disables Parrot AR.Drone 2.0's magnetometer. The pilot manages the quadricopter's orientation
with no assistance.

Surprising stability at any altitude

The heart of the AR.Drone 2.0 contains MEMS (microelectromechanical systems).
A 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope, a 3-axis magnetometer and a pressure sensor
give the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 surprising stability, complete with:

. 2 ultrasound sensors, which analyze flight altitude up to 6 meters.
New! A pressure sensor completes the device and provides great vertical
. 4 blades, specially designed for the AR.Drone 2.0, make it possible to carry
out smooth flights.
. A second camera, placed beneath the quadricopter and connected to the central inertial unit,
measures the craft's speed using an image comparison system.

2 hulls made for both types of flight

The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 has 2 hulls with specially designed contours. Made of PA66 (a
material used in designing car bumpers), they are light, highly resistant and protect the

For outdoor flight, the contoured hull, available in three colors
(orange/yellow; orange/green; orange/blue), reduces wind resistance and
preserves the AR.Drone 2.0's handling and stability.

When indoor, a second hull protects the blades
from any impact. The black-and-white cockpit,
underlined with a red stripe, reinforces the quadricopter's mysterious,
thrilling appearance.

Finally, light-emitting diodes (green in front, red in rear), positioned on the landing gear, help the
pilot track the orientation of the AR.Drone 2.0 for easier flying.

An Open Development Platform

In order to expand the use of the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 and its compatibility with other
operating systems and to develop new flying games and applications, Parrot is providing
developers and members of the Apple® and AndroidTM communities with a software
development kit.

By logging in at https://projects.ardrone.org and accepting the terms of the license, developers can
access the source code used to fly the AR.Drone 2.0. A wiki and a tutorial also are available. A
forum is available to discuss new developments and share feedback with Parrot engineers.


The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included).

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 will be available for purchase at selected retailers in Q2-2012 in the United States
for $299 MSRP


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  • Has anyone flown the ARDrone with a MacGyver radio set-up?
  • Well, as I discovered flying over fountains.  The sonar doesn't work well (or even at all sometimes) over fountains. I flew over a spouting portion of a fountain, and the sonar cut the power to my motors and I ended up smack dab in the middle of the fountain.  You can see from the video I was recording when this happened...
    I am very glad they are throwing the barometer on this, and believe this addition will make this flaky performing device stable.  
    I can't tell you how many times I had to chase the 1.0 at parks because of again sonar related nonsense...
    I just hope the government doesn't put too much pressure on the manufacturer.  The states have noticed, "The year of the drone"...  California LAPD sent a letter to the California Association of Realtors stating they will prosecute anyone who hires a drone for property video...  Freaking police state nonsense, but real! 

  • CW, yes.  People who think that realtime control over WiFi/IP is a good idea.  But, few realise how difficult it is to do realtime over a packet network like that.  Just look at any VoIP system.  Imagine that happening to a control stream to the drone.

  • The baro was really added as outdoor flight was not realistically possible--the ultrasonic sensors originally had a s/w bug that would make the copter fly away if exceeded the 10m US limit (I know of 3 guys that had their fly over their house hitting safe mode), and 2nd, wind resistance was terrible, I'm would assume the increase in camera resolution was to compensate for decent wind resistance.

    Ellison, I think that's wifi/linux lag, cause you're sending video data along with good res telemetry, digitally via IP... analog will be 100x faster. A lot of our WiFi robots lag compared to anything analog (e.g. nearly all R/C radios). And I'm not sure if they are using RTLinux or Lowlatency (which will lag).

  • Hey Dimitar, don't know if they've drop the price, but seems that the current price for a replacement main board is only $99 US.  Imo, the main drawback of the ARDrone is its reliance on WiFi control.  It was a good gimmick for a toy, but they really need to add a dedicated controller with better reliability and range.

    The problem, from all the videos I've seen is that the ARDrone is really not a realtime controlled craft.  The thing is basically running semi-autonomous, and the "pilot" just tells it what direction to go next.  If they add a dedicated controller, then people would expect rc like response, but instead realise the lag time between controller input and actual drone movement.

    Perfect example of this is in their own flight tutorial video:

  • Baro really does make a difference.  With just sonar, if you go over a ledge the AR.Drone drops like a rock.  Hopefully, the new version has some sort of check to eliminate that problem.

  • Moderator

    Some interesting release videos happening, including the new flight modes and altimeter.


  • I don't know why - but I always wanted to buy one and hack the firmware. Add GPS, normal RC control, etc.. But except the great looks - it is just a toy, compared to any home-brewed arducopter. 

  • My first completely dead Ar.drone fails because of fall from 3 meters, causing crack into advanced, multilayer, ultra-thin Linux PCB with BGAs over it... - yes it can be replaced on the half drone price... those boards should be better protected. Motors and plastic gears are joke, too. A lot pf profit comes from spare parts...Second almost dead because of broken front camera - I see now they took some measures.

    It will be interesting if Ar.drone controller can be used with other more durable and capable frames, motors, etc. Or... just design and sell Ar.drone Pro with metal frame, choice of standard or AT based radio control, open firmware...twice the current price.

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