First Look at the Parrot Bebop Drone

Parrot Bebop

By Bob Hammell

When it was first introduced in 2010, the Parrot AR Drone was an amazing ready to fly quadcopter that could be controlled directly from an iPhone. It was then upgraded to be more durable and friendly but now Parrot’s quadcopter is going to be taken to a whole new level. The upcoming Parrot Bebop Drone is designed to be a high quality tool for aerial videos and photos.

The Parrot Bebop drone hopes to attract photographers and filmmakers just like its high end competitor the DJI Phantom 2 Vision, with its new improved high quality flying camera, ability to hover and pan the camera, and built in GPS to fly programmed waypoints. Parrot may end up taking up even another notch with groundbreaking range and image stabilization along with its officially supported ability to utilize a VR headset when in flight.

The Parrot Bebop Drone uses a combination of hardware and software to let a 180 degree fisheye lens imitate the movements of a motorized gimbal which would add extra weight to the unit. The drone just carves out a small rectangular section of the large curved fisheye image while stabilizing the image digitally at the same time, using a ton of sensors and a dedicate image processor to help it get the job done.

This means you end up getting rid of a lot of the data but in the end the results are always the same, a crystal clear stabilized video feed from a small drone that is less than a pound in weight. The Parrot Bebop has another cool trick besides having the ability to rapidly slice up pieces of huge fisheye images. If you purchase the optional Skycontroller which is a giant R/C flight controller with large antennas that can communicate with the drone from up to two kilometers away, you can also plug in an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and look around freely while flying the drone in a first person perspective.

bebop parrotBuilt with safety in mind, the Parrot Bebop is made up of a feather-weight ABS reinforced structure that makes it robust and safe. It has an emergency mode that enables the drone to land immediately or in case of an emergency the propellers will automatically stop. Similar to the DJI Phantom it also uses GPS to enable a Return Home function that redirects the Parrot Bebop Drone back to its take off point if it gets out of range of the controller.

The Bebop Drone has a featherweight design but uses heavy weight technology, delivering the best performance without sacrifice battery life. This drone is eight times more powerful than the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 onboard computer and features Bebop Drone navigation computer features, a Parrot P7 dual core CPU, 8 GB of flash memory and a quad core GPU. All of its hardware is fixed on a magnesium shelf that acts as a radiator and electromagnetics shielding. It runs on Linux and also has an SDK available for developers.

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To ensure optimal stability without compromising the Parrot Bebop’s ability to maneuver, the drone analyzes data from multiple sensors automatically, a magnetometer, 3-axes accelerometer and gyroscope. It also has an ultrasound sensor with an 8 meters reach, a vertical camera and one pressure sensor to track its speed, making it completely safe to fly indoors. It’s equipped with a 14 megapixel fisheye camera and the drone can also record pictures and videos in a 180 degree field with high image quality.

The Parrot Bebop Drone features full digital stabilization technology that makes it capable of taking remarkably clear and stable aerial footage no matter how the drone is moving. It also comes with a dust and splat proof lens. Action cameras will sometimes show horizontal lines of distortion, but the Parrot Bebop Drone camera has been improved to deliver undistorted lines and the end result is that the horizon is not curved anymore.

The Parrot Bebop drone’s full HD 1080p video recording capabilities with smart 3-axes stabilization is great for taking shots and footage from all angles. The Parrot engineers have developed an algorithm that enables the Bebop Drone to complete utilize its exclusive 3-axes image stabilization system that maintains a fixed angel of the view, regardless of the Bebop Drone’s movements caused by wind turbulence or the inclination of the drone.

Pilots have complete user controlled 180 degree vision and can control the angle of the camera directly from the Parrot piloting application just by simply moving their thumb. The shifting on the 180 degree angel is independent from the drone movements and completely digital.

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Freeflight 3.0 is the ultra intuitive application that the Parrot Bebop Drone comes equipped with. The piloting application is free and available for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. The app was designed to be user friendly and to be very easy to use so pilots can focus on the pleasure of flying.

Once pilots have loaded up the welcome screen, they can access functionalities such as photos and videos, piloting, cloud PilotAcademy and flight plan. There are complete user settings for speed and altitude, and piloting mode which includes the virtual joystick and accelerometer. The FreeFlight 3.0 app also includes cool features such as the one-touch flip.

The amazing thing about the Bebop Drone is that it is always connected, meaning video and photo streams are synchronized in real time on your smartphone so that you can share your best shots instantly on Instagram or Facebook. Showcasing your flights is also made easy by allowing you to upload video to YouTube with the touch of a finger. The embedeed GPS with Flight Map control is definitely a function of the Parrot Bebop Drone worth highlighting.

It integrates a GNSS chipset that associates GLONASS, GPS and GALILEO data so that you can actually plan your flights on a 2D map on your smartphone or tablet just by touching where you want the waypoints to be on the screen, the drone does the rest. Along with allowing autonomous flights and automatic returns to the takeoff position, it also increases the stability as the altitude becomes higher.

Related article:  DJI Phantom 3 Standard Preview

Check about preparing to fly the Parrot Bebop.

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