Parrot AR Drone- I flew one last night - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:18 AM   #1
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Parrot AR Drone- I flew one last night

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Well guys, I have to say I was one of the bigger skeptics about this "toy" that you controlled with your IPhone, Ipod Touch or Ipdad.

yesterday I got a call form a friend and fellow modeler who is also a "gadget-boy"

He ordered it the day before and it arrived yesterday. So he invited me over to play with it.

The device looks like a conventional quad copter, with a teardrop shaped center pod. What it has inside is what takes the cake. It has a gyro stabiliser, ultrasonic altitude control, and 2 cameras, on looking forward and one looking down. The camera's are LIVE and stream live video directly to the Iphone.

it runs on a 1A 3S 10C lipo pack,. The pack is in a plastic box that makes the pack bigger. We found a 3S 1300mam 20C pack is the same size and the same weight, so after the connector gets changed, the larger packs will be used.

So my first flight: We used an IPad, because it has a nice big screen to view the streaming video. When you turn on the drone, it starts its own WIFI network that you connect to via your IPAD. Once we did that, you run the drone software, whcih inks your controls to the drone and the entire screen is showing what the camera is seeing.

The drone has 4 controls on the Ipad screen. Left side is a button that enables motion control (we call it cyclic on our heli's). Bottom center is the "Takeoff" button, and right is altitude and rotation controls.

To take off, all you do is push the take-off button. the drone pops ups about 2 feet and (is supposed to) hold a steady hover. Then you push the left button and tilt and pan the IPAD and the drone responds.
For some reason, when we took off, it kept wanting to go left and kept banging into the wall and shutting itself down.

After many tries we went to the basement with a little more space and it still went left but after it went a ways (without hitting a wall) it stabilised itself and then I took control.

My assessment of this gadget is :

That's pretty much how it went.

It was a lot of fun to play with. You COULD get bored of just hovering it around, but there are more ways to play with it.
There is some latency in the controls but you learn to be more predictive in your control inputs to compensate for the delay.

Outside will probably be better too.

We never really used the camera's while flying in the house because the machine was always "Right there", but as I mentioned before, there are 2 camera's on it, one looking forward and one looking down, both streaming "LIVE" video directly to the Ipad screen, which is massive. This will be a real blast outside.

Here is a good example of what can be done with this drone:

This summer, the farmer to the south of us grew corn in his field. As a result, those planes that went down in the corn would be hard to find, in some cases it took several days of searching through 8' high corn to find the planes that were lost.

Now imagine a plane goes down in the cornfield. I can fly this thing over the corn surveying the ground with the down-looking camera in real-time.

Once I see the plane, I let go of the controls and the machine goes into autopilot mode, using the on-board gyros and ultrasonic sensors to keep the machine in a stable hover, all the while I can keep the lost plane in view of the downward looking camera. Now all the search party has to do is go to the spot where the machine is hovering and they will find their lost plane. COOL!!!
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:21 AM   #2
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Re: Parrot AR Drone- I flew one last night

Another shot of the 2 pods it comes with, one for indoor use and one for
outdoor use:

We also made some videos of me flying it in his basement. when my friend uploads the video's I will post them here
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:36 AM   #3
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Re: Parrot AR Drone- I flew one last night

I really like your "search and rescue" idea. that would save a lot of foot work in our mosquito infested field next to out flying club.

I could see my friend Walter getting one of these, He is really into GPS control flying and cameras
Marc A.

MAAC #81823... Valley Model Aeronautics Club.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:55 PM   #4
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Re: Parrot AR Drone- I flew one last night

You can see us clowning around with it for the first time here:

There are forums springing up dedicated to the AR Drone now.

Just Google AR Drone.
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