Exciting news today for me and Project Green Parrot!
I finally pulled the trigger a few days ago and selected the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter as the first drone to be used in Project Green Parrot. My unboxing review on the Parrot AR drone will be coming in a few days so drop back then for the details. For now I’m going to focus on what the basis was for my choice.
My choice here was guided by a few important features that I thought were important to the project’s long term goals.
Value – At a cost of less than $300 the Parrot is very affordable and accessible to the consumer market. I plan to explore how drones can be used to benefit the civilian sector in Project Green Parrot and great tech has to be priced right so consumers will buy into the product and see the value. The Parrot delivers a drone with a 720p HD video camera that can take still photos or stream video at 30 frames per second. At the most basic level this a flying HD image collector. A great start, and if it delivers, a great value. Here’s an example of the video quality the Parrot AR drone collects.
Easy to maintain – The fact is, most everything that goes up will be coming back down. Sometimes gracefully, sometimes not so much. In my initial research about drones, I’ve read and been told that crashes happen and maintenance as repair is a part of ownership. For that reason I wanted to make sure my pick was easy to maintain and parts were readily available. Spare parts are available from a variety of commercial outlets including the manufacturer. The parts are sold through several distribution channels including Amazon, making the parts fast and easy to pick up.
Operational Control – From my research, the interface looks clean and easy for the operator to use. Drone control is maintained by running an app on your smart phone or tablet called AR Drone Academy. The app is available free for both Apple or Android products. This eliminates the need for the typical RC controller handset. Additionally, the pictures and videos can be sent real time to the control device with control telemetry data overlays including altitude and battery discharge rate. Media collected in flight can be shared on YouTube and with other pilots through the AR Drone Academy app.
Open API – The manufacturer also made the API public allowing independent developers to create custom controls. As always, some really creative interfaces have sprung up including Kinnect, Leapmotion+Labview, Apple’s Siri (go to 4:15 to see Siri), and a Windows interface with a joystick (the cat looks so not amused).
The Parrot has a great home page and is filled with useful information and a ton of links. If you’re looking for more information on the Parrot AR Drone, this is a great place to start out.
Finally in closing this is only a part of the initial research I’ve put in to the beginning of the project that has lead to the selection of the first drone. I’ll post a follow up review of the unboxing of the drone soon™ along with a video or two of the first flights.
What do you think about the choice for the first Project Green Parrot Drone? Leave your feedback here or drop me an email at Chris@ this blog’s url and let me know. I’d also be interested in knowing what your social media outlet of choice happens to be so I can keep in touch with you. Finally (and most importantly) sign up for my mailing list to keep in contact with me and the projects I’m pursuing. I promise no spam, just periodic updates on the projects I’m working on and topics related to them.
That’s all for now. Drones for everyone!!