Parrot launches drone with 14MP camera and 180-degree fisheye lens
Parrot, the maker of the popular AR Drone 2.0, has launched a new model, the AR Drone 3.0. It also flies under the name Bebop. The Bebop is essentially a flying camera with four rotors. The camera comes with an F2.2 fisheye lens with a 180-degree field of view and a 14MP sensor. No information on sensor size has been given yet.
It also appears the Bebop uses a system similar to the electronic video stabilization we've seen in some recent smartphones. It captures a larger image than it needs, crops it, and uses the "surplus" areas of the video for stabilization and to allow for electronic panning and tilting. This means the bebop can record smooth video even on bumpy flights and makes it more lightweight with fewer moving parts than more traditional drones that use gimbal rigs.
Like previous models, the Bebop is controlled from your phone to which it connects via Wi-Fi. For those who cannot live with the limited range of Wi-Fi, Parrot has also introduced the Skycontroller. This device uses various antennas and signal boosters to extend the Bebop’s range to two kilometers. The tablet or smartphone you use to control the drone attaches to it. An additional feature allows you to stream the Bebop's video straight to an Oculus Rift 3D virtual reality headset. This essentially allows you to see through the Bebop camera. Maximum flying time is 12 minutes.
The bebop records full-HD video and writes it straight to the built-in 8GB flash memory. No pricing has been released yet but the Bebop is expected to cost more than $1000. It should be available in the fourth quarter of the year.