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.