coptorBack in January, we got pretty excited about the Parrot AR.Drone Quadicoptor. The Parrot AR.Drone remote control quadricopter is controlled by creating its own WiFi network that either an iPhone or an iPod Touch connects to. The Parrot AR.Drone is then maneuvered using the accelerometers of the iPhone combined with a video feed from the forward facing camera on the drone itself. A smart piloting system intelligently compensates for wind and other environmental conditions, and utilizing a second camera which faces the ground can perform a stationary flight on its own.

We had some hands-on time with it back at CES, and were impressed:


Of course, the big question on everyone's mind was "when" and "how much". Ars Technica reports that the Parrot AR.Drone will finally go on sale this September at a price of $299. The device itself is only so exciting on its own, but combined with its open SDK, Parrot is hoping that developers will take advantage of the device's controls and cameras to create augmented reality games. At least a couple of these titles are said to be available at launch.

  • Walter

    I'm totally sure this won't be used by young boys to go peeking in girls bedroom windows. Totally.

    • John R.

      Oh man, I didn't even think of that. Epic. High five, buddy. :-)

    • Sammm

      hahahaha!! they'd try!
      but it's really noisy, and if you fly it over a ledge (or the neighbor's veranda) it freaks out, thinks it's lost altitude and tries to zoom up to where it thinks it should be. lol
      Just picture it slowwwlly getting closer to the window and then ZOOOM straight up in the air as it tries to correct it's height.

      Not saying I've tried using it to spy on people :P
      but if you put your hand underneath it, the sensors thinks it is losing altitude and zooms straight up. haha

  • Jonathan

    Can't wait for this! Gonna be totally epic to fly it around! But then I want an iTouch 4 as well :|

  • kjkj

    299$ ? wooooooow, not gonna buy.

    • Adams Immersive

      Search Amazon for R/C helicopters. They go over $1000 on the high end—and that doesn’t even seem to include the battery or the $100+ controller. Ouch! I’m sure that’s a nice big, sturdy aircraft, but with controls from the 1940s :)

    • John R.

      I was inclined to say the same thing until I read about the "smart piloting system." This thing has some serious technology built into it.

      Like Adams said, $299 isn't unreasonable for the technology, IMO.

  • araczynski

    and here we thought the ms kinectwhatever was an overpriced accessory...

  • borgqueenx

    for 200 dollar the guy got himself a deal. 300 dollar? no way.
    plus the range will be sucking. wifi connection? omg thats like 20 meters and then connection lost.

    • Adams Immersive

      Not true: it generates its OWN WiFi network. So, like any R/C vehicle, you must walk to stay in range, but you do not have to stay near a land-based WiFi hotspot.

      How far is that range? Reviews will tell, but 20 meters would not disappoint me! The point of this toy is the cameras and the game-style controls, not do out-range a conventional R/C vehicle. (And those, by the way, are not cheap either if you have to buy a controller. This is pretty high-end with the 4 rotors and the size.)

      • Evil ghandi

        Only one question wtf is a meter?

  • Vovin

    Wow, 299$ for a heap o' crap.
    People planning to buy this should give the money to Haiti instead.
    Would make more sense.

    • Adams Immersive

      I’m getting it! :) I knew I wanted it even at the rumored painful $499. I have never bought anything frivolous and purely for entertainment. It is time to make an exception!

      The thing has a Linux computer and WiFi base station on board, plus cameras, the custom software, and of course the vehicle itself. It’s not aimed at a mass toy-store market because it needs an iOS controller. So it won’t have economies of scale (yet). It’s a unique and fun item with zero competition. $299, if you can afford it, is not unreasonable. I have until the fall to save up :)

      And of course, I’ll wait for reviews. How long did you use it? What about it made it a piece of crap? Or have you not actually used it? Videos and hands-on reports I’ve seen have looked great.

      One silver lining for you: I’ll give the toy to Haiti in 5 years when I am bored with it. I agree, that’s a good cause. (Luckily, some people spend on both charity AND entertainment. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.)

    • John R.

      Heap O' Crap is your opinion. If your ethics say you should contribute to Haiti, fine. But if you've already pre-judged this thing to be a technical heap o' crap ... you must have some eerie ability to see the future, or something. From what I've read, $299 is very reasonable for something that supposedly packs a large amount of technology, ethics aside.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffreydj lasse

    Yes, steering by Wifi is quite stupid. Just a little toy for your room compared to the DIY-drones hobbyists build on theirselves. But such drones cost a lot more than 500$.

    There is a quite famous German DIY-project: http://www.mikrokopter.de/ucwiki/en/MikroKopter

    This vid for example is very impressive: http://vimeo.com/9302748

  • VictorXL

    299?? That's It??? I thought it would be 599 to start. Get price. Should sell alot of units.

  • manny

    going buy one been waitting for this at $299 that nothing for fun we going to have

  • Undersiege 2

    I have a hard time believing this thing will take off (no pun intended). Sure it's a steal considering the technology built in, but $300 is still a lot to Invest in a toy that will probably have a very limited game catalog. Maybe if apple was manufacturing it I would feel a little reassured that developers would get behind it, but even still. I just can't imagine it selling enough units .

  • NotReally

    Can we record our amateur/voyeur movies and upload them to Youtube? The neighbors daughter will never see me coming with this high tech spy camera.

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  • http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-choose-an-art-deco-ring Kirk

    oh gosh how crap and major rip off!