Thursday, April 11, 2013

Parrot AR Drone

Over the Easter break Matt invited me to fly the Parrot Drone to test it's capabilities.  First I will talk about the things that impressed me.  I was very impressed with its self stabilization, it hovers in one spot with little to no movement.  While operating the drone all one has to do is remove fingers from the touch screen of the iPad or phone and the drone automatically comes to a stabilized hovering position. This reduces the possibility of an out of control crash.  The App that controls the drone allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the controls to some degree.  The video quality is surprisingly clear and stable (when flight moves are stable).  I really like the way the drone moves.  The flight paths are smooth and level. (This was my observation of the drone inside the gym. I did not fly it outside in the wind).

Now for my not impressed list.  First the materials that it was made of seemed very light and easily breakable. (NOTE: I realize that the drone needs to be as light as possible in order to operate as well as it does).  My thoughts were that it was going to be made of some kind of carbon fiber or high impact plastic.  This is not the case.  The drone is a finesse flyer in my opinion.  It does have two interchangeable bodies, one for indoor flight and one for outdoor flight.  The body for indoor flight has styrofoam rings to keep the prop blades from bumping into things.  The styrofoam was very light and not much more than the density of a styrofoam cup.  I could see someone breaking it if they did not handle it very carefully.  The battery life was not that impressive somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 minutes, less if you want to do some aerobatics. 

Over all this drone is just plain cool.  It looks cool and has a lot of cool features but for a purchase price of $300.00 I feel like it could have been build a little more durable.  Matt will post more about the drone I am sure.  If you want to see some clips of our test flight just check out the video below.