Parrot’s new Bebop camera drone has finally hit two stores in US this week, Apple and BestBuy, at a price tag just shy of US $500. The Bebop represents a step up from the company’s well known AR.Drone 2.0, being faster, lighter and more refined than it. The 14 Megapixel camera promises to deliver better image quality, while high spec hardware and clever software aim to provide better control and features for anyone using it.
Battery life has also been increased, and the airframe has been engineered for better shock tolerance, even for indoor flight. The FreeFlight app has also been upgraded and is available for iOS and Android devices, allowing for simultaneous control of up to 3 Bebop drones. Future plans also include releasing an SDK for the open source community.
An optional dedicated Skycontroller is available on preorder for an additional US $400. The controller allows for increased precision when piloting the drone, and it also extends the control and video streaming range up to 2 Km or over 1.2 Miles in open field conditions. In addition it allows connecting devices such as VR glasses for an immersive experience when flying the drone.
The Bebop drone aims to dip into the professional segment of aerial imaging, where drones like the DJI Phantom are already well established. We will see how this goes, but based on specifications Bebop seems to be very powerful.
The drone’s 13 Megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor camera has a 6 element 180 degree Fisheye lens, with f/2.2 aperture. The fisheye effect is greatly reduced via software processing, and advanced algorithms coupled with an array of sensors work to provide stabilization.
The sensor lineup is impressive, we have 3-axes magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer, ultrasonic and air pressure sensors, as well as something called Optical-flow sensor which is pointed downwards with the purpose of taking ground pictures at a rate of 62.5 Hz and comparing them to determine the drone’s speed.
A few days ago IEEE Spectrum have tested Bebop and released a video in which the FPV is experimented.
Other features include fiber glass reinforced ABS plastic airframe, EPP bumpers for safely flying indoor or in tight spaces, polycarbonate propellers, but let’s take a look at Bebop’s impressive quick spec sheet below.
Bebop Drone Quick Specs
- Camera: 14 Megapixel, f/2.2, 180 deg Fisheye lens with digital stabilization mechanisms, shooting 1080p@30fps;
- Sensors: 3-axis magnetometer, 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, Optical-flow sensor, ultrasonic, air pressure, GPS/GLONASS;
- Dimensions and weight: 28x32cm without hull, 33x38cm with hull, 3.6cm tall, 390-410 grams;
- Structure: ABS plastic 16% glass fiber reinforced, EPP hull;
- Top speed: 47Km/h or 29mph;
- Flight time and battery: 22 minutes, 1200mAh Li-Po;
- Connectivity: Dual-band 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac;
- Remote control: iOS and Android devices via app, optional Skycontroller;
- CPU, GPU and OS: Parrot P7 dual core Cortex A9, Quad core GPU, 8GB Flash, Linux;
- Other features: microUSB slot for extended storage, SDK to be released.