Remember when, a couple years ago, a group of CES exhibitors did an impromptu dance sequence around flying quadrocopters? It was pretty much as weird and bizarre and awesome as CES gets (on the show floor, at least).
This year Parrot SA, the maker of those popular AR drones, has more tricks up its robotic sleeve. The French company is showing off two new drones — one a lightweight flyer, the other a jumping toy — that are meant to make drones a little bit more accessible.
The flying drone is Parrot’s “mini” drone. Controlled via Bluetooth with an iOS or Android device, the mini has a range of about 75 feet and lacks the camera that the higher-end AR drone has.
Last night at CES Unveiled, a preview event for members of the press, the mini drone was seen flying over people’s heads and buzzing around the ballroom at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino.
Parrot’s other new drone is called the Jumping Sumo. This spherical-bot-with-wheels can be programmed to jump up to a few feet on command, and streams a live-action video shot over Wi-Fi.
There isn’t a firm ship date for these yet, and Parrot hasn’t announced pricing, either. But the company’s CEO, Henri Seydoux, said they’ll be available “soon” and that he expects them to be more affordable than some of Parrot’s other products (like maybe the $300 AR?).
“Prices are coming down because the technology is basically the same technology that’s in your phone,” Seydoux said.
Also at CES Unveiled was DJI, the maker of the Phantom drone. The company was showing off the Phantom 2, its new $1200 drone — certainly more expensive than the Parrot products, but a more substantial piece of hardware, equipped with a 14-megapixel, full HD camera.
My initial reaction when I first saw the new Parrot drones: They’re pretty cool, but if you’re looking for a super-capable, high-powered drone, the mini and the Sumo aren’t it. In fact, I asked Seydoux what their primary use case is, and his response summed it up:
Check out the video below to see the new Parrot drones in action:
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