Parrot AR. Drone Video Equipped Remote QuadriCopter

Who doesn't get a kick out of a video streaming Wifi controlled flying toy? A friend of mine recently picked one of these Parrot AR. Drones up and I had the chance to fly it around. It's really tons of fun! Kids can easily learn to fly these things. The Parrot AR Drone is a remote controlled Quadricopter that streams real time video to it's controller so you can see where you're flying. The Wifi controller can be an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad (the iPad is really cool with it's large screen). It's easy to sync up once you've downloaded the Free remote application from the Apps Store. First turn on the AR Drone, and then turn on the Wifi on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Connect to the AR Drone (it will appear as a WiFi hotspot). Once you've connected, go and launch the application and it will connect. Very simple and fast.

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The AR Drone Quadricopter is super stable and will automatically level itself out and stays in one place if the unit loses connection to the remote, or if you remove your hands from the controller. If you lose connection, just walk closer and then you'll be back in control. If the unit is too high and loses connection, it will return itself to a manageable height so you can walk over and get back in control. I believe it can scan the floor somehow to see what's below so it doesn't just fly off into space.

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Flying outdoors with Training Foam Cage

Since the unit can level out and maintain a stable position, you can easily rotate turns in 360 degrees. The video stream is super fast, and as real time as can be. The video streams in amazing quality and very clear even in low light. The item comes with two different bodies. One is a foam cage that protects the units from rookie pilots. I'm sorry to admit, I crashed my friends unit into walls and it took a dive from 20 ft. several times. The drop was no problem with the foam cage, it's designed to protect the unit for training. If you should need some replacement parts, practically every piece of the Drone is for sale and looks to be easily replaceable too. This thing really takes a beating for sure. Once you're pretty good, you can swap out the foam cage for a more streamlined aerodynamic body. I think a few flights is all it takes to get the hang of it.

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Simple Body without Training Foam Cage

There are other applications in the Apple Apps Store in which you can control the unit and record the video stream that will be saved to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. You can choose to use the accelerometer to maneuver the Drone by leaning left or right, forward and back. Since it's a quadricopter it can move in any direction without having to turn around, but you'd want to turn the unit mainly for the video camera to point in the direction you're flying. Check out the video above which gives you an idea on how to fly it with a remote. These AR Drones can be found here: Parrot AR Drone Wifi Remote Controlled Quadricopter







20 thoughts on “Parrot AR. Drone Video Equipped Remote QuadriCopter

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  2. Max

    I think that they should make a video game that's just the same but not with the AR drone at the app store so that it's not that expensive.

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @Joe - Check out the RTF Ready to Fly Mikrokopters. Some are like $4K ready to fly a GoPro.

  4. Serge

    Your Welcome Joe,
    These are made for the military but for $14,000.00 they out their god damn bat shit mind!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvRTALJp8DM&feature=player_embedded

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TsMSIUXtik&feature=related

    I'm looking to sell one one my Bikes and see if I can buy one of these $7000.00 Mk HexaKopter XL next spring, would get killer angles for clients and wedding shots will be killer!

    Here is the the Canon 5Dmk2 on HexaKopter

    http://vimeo.com/16289597

  5. Joe

    I saw a couple of videos. Thanks Serge for your links. It seems that this idea might not really work. It seems stable at some points but as soon as it is in motion, the footage doesn't really work.

    Putting 4 cameras in the corners might be overkill but hey, I would reaaaally enjoy to see someone testing that out.

    I remember that on NAB this year someone was selling a pretty big helicopter that supported cameras and costed about $300. There should be a solution out there that works.

  6. Serge

    Here is a couple videos of the AR Drone with a Go Pro.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll_gV4FTFN4&feature=related

    But it captures the propellers if mounted on top.
    The under carriage of the AR Drone has bottom scanning sensors that let the unit know when its close to an item, if you put your hand under it when its hovering in place it will jump up like 10 inches to get away from that item.

    plus mounting it on the bottom will make it wobble, unless you distribute the weight on all 4 axis of the unit for example putting 4 Go Pro cameras one on each corner.

    Heres what happens when its not properly balanced.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wldP5hyRM0

  7. Emm

    Post author

    I'll have to test, but there are cameras under the unit that scans for objects below. It might interfere. I'll test when I get a chance.

  8. Emm

    Post author

    LOL, it's not my Quadricopter, I break it I buy it! I don't have anything except the Tripod mount for the GoPro but i'll see if I can tape it down and fly it somehow. Might not be today, i'm off to an appointment in a bit. Hopefully I get to keep it over the weekend.

  9. Emm

    Post author

    @Everyone - I just taped my GoPro to the AR Drone. It lifted it but was a bit wobbly when trying to stabilize itself. It kept rocking side to side like a boat on waves. Of course I did mount it to the top instead of the bottom. That top weight might be throwing it off from 'pushing' it up, instead of 'pulling' it up. It's definitely strong enough, but it has to be positioned properly to mount it. I found that this whole thing is easier to fly when you turn the iPad accelerometer off. Just use the touch screen instead with two fingers. Don't keep the fingers on the screen, move it and then let go to slow down or stop. I'll borrow this AR Drone and try to do a demo video.

  10. Scotteo

    I was thinking the same thing, if it can handle the weight of a GoPro HD, this goes from toy to a VERY useful video production tool.

  11. DemonMF777

    That is so cool! It looks really easy to use too. Any idea what kind of resolution/framerate is it able to record?

  12. Beeej

    Oh man... this is so freakin' awesome!! Wish we could figure a way to capture HD video with it and export from iPhone/iPod/iPad somehow...

  13. Serge

    I finally went ahead and stopped by a brook stone store to test it out and it was a lot of fun but no different than a regular hovering toy, Toys r us has these similar RC U.F.O'S. for around $20 given they are not I-device controlled but feels just like a toy...

    The camera was a bit jittery, its about 15 frames per second. but I guess the point is to mount a Go Pro and send it away, but after reading reports of the unit at times just wondering away due to other cell phone signals I would not want to risk it as seen in this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oeFEaZPU7g

    Now that being said quadrocopters is the way to go due to the fact that they can hover in place and you don't have to keep balancing with both back tail and main rotor of a normal RC Copter.

    The following link has a beautiful beast of a quadrocopter a la AR DRONE on STEROIDS!!!! but at a cost of nearly $10,000.00

    Here it is caring a Canon 5D Mark 2!!!

    http://www.quadrocopter.us/index.php

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