Introduced at CES in January this year, the Parrot Disco marks the French company’s debut in the fixed-wing UAV niche. The camera drone is set to hit the stores in September for a price tag just shy of US $1,300. In good old Parrot tradition the drone is fully connected and ready to fly. It is equipped with a more than decent 14 Megapixel camera with digital image stabilization, and a revised Skycontroller as well as new FPV glasses which promise to deliver a very entertaining experience for enthusiasts and first time fliers alike.
Speaking of first time fliers, the newly introduced Control Hub and Universal Computer Kit – also known as C.H.U.C.K – is specifically designed for assisting them with maneuvers, preventing the drone to fly away or keeping it circling above a certain point after it is launched until the user is ready to send commands.
The Parrot Disco has a wingspan of 1150mm or 45.3 inch and weighs 750 grams or about 1.65 pounds. The airframe is neatly designed, complete with winglets to enhance aerodynamic efficiency. It is made of EPP foam reinforced with composite carbon fiber tube, which could be one reason for the price which I find a bit high for an enthusiast drone. The manufacturer claims up to 45 minutes flight time and reach speeds up to 80km/h (50mph).
The 14 Megapixel main camera can shoot full HD 1080p footage, using the remaining sensor surface for digitally stabilizing the image. The f/2.3 wide-angle lens has minimal fish-eye distortion, which may explain why the aperture has been slightly reduced compared to the Bebop series.
There are several methods of controlling this drone. The Disco is fully compatible with Parrot’s FreeFlight mobile app, which is of course available or iOS and Android devices. Users are provided with full control over the drone, its configuration and settings. Live video stream quality can be selected between 720p HD or lower quality 360p.
The new Cockpitglasses are very similar to the Samsung Gear VR, these are not designed as a standalone product but rather to function when paired with a smartphone running the Freeflight app. Apart from the first person view (FPV), the user can also control the drone with head movements.
The Skycontroller 2 is a revised more compact and more ergonomic version of the original Skycontroller introduced with the Bebop drone. Just like with the previous version, the controller comes with dual joysticks and several fully customizable buttons. There is also a removable holder which can accommodate most smartphones or tablets. The drone is compatible with either version.
- Main camera: 14 Megapixel, f/2.2 wide angle lens with digital IS, shooting 1080p/30fps video;
- Sensors: GPS + GLONASS, 6 DOF IMU, 3 axes magnetometer, ultrasonic, altimeter, optical flow, airspeed (Pitot tube);
- Dimensions and weight: 1150x580x120mm (45×22.8×4.7 inch), 750g (1.65 pounds);
- Airframe structure: Carbon fiber reinforced EPP foam, 1280kv propeller motor, 5V servo actuators for control surfaces;
- Top speed: 80km/h or 50mph;
- Flight time and battery: 45 minutes, 2700mAh 3S LiPo removable battery;
- Connectivity: Multichannel dual-band 2.4/5GHz WiFi 802.11/ac, up to 2km range with Skycontroller/2;
- Remote control: Freeflight app for iOS and Android, Skycontroller 2, Cockpitglasses compatible with most mobile devices;
- Hardware: Dual core Cortex A9, 32GB internal memory;
- Other features: SDK for app development.
According to the product page the Disco FPV package will include both the Skycontroller 2 and the Cockpitglasses. As mentioned earlier, it will be for sale for US $1,299 or EUR 1,299.