For their next drone, Parrot are ditching rota blades in favour of a wing-shaped design. Announced at CES 2016 and given the rather groovy moniker ‘Disco’, this drone’s bird-like build is incredibly energy efficient, so it’s able to fly for 45 minutes and can reach speeds up to 50mph.
What’s more, the Parrot Disco is even easier for beginners to use. Just throw it like you would a paper airplane and it will take off, gaining altitude autonomously, and turning in the sky until you take control of it with either Parrot’s Wi-Fi-enabled Skycontroller or a standard RC remote. The option to not be able to control the Disco with your smartphone over Bluetooth might put some off, but the use of a Wi-Fi controller also extends the UAV’s range to two kilometres.
This new autopilot feature is powered by smart sensors, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, barometer, an aircraft-like Pitot tube and GPS. As well as making for an easy take-off, these sensors prevent any false manoeuvre by the user which could bring the Disco down.
The Disco is a big upgrade on Parrot’ current flagship quadrocopter, the Bebop 2, which itself was praised for its long-life battery when it was launched late last year. But the Bebop 2 only has around half the stamina of the Disco with a 25 minute flight time and top speeds of 13mph, though the Disco does have the same front-facing camera as the Bebop, a still impressive 14 megapixel lens.
However, while the Bebop 2 is out now, a price and launch date for the Disco are still in the air, though its expected to be on sale by the end of the year.