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AR Drone 2.0 Initial Thoughts

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A while back I purchased the AR Drone and gave it a test.  I returned it and decided to wait and get a AR Drone 2.0 once the GPS functionality was ready.  So I went and got one a few days ago when a friend was in town from Alaska.  It was a nice little toy to play with but like all multirotors it has a very limited battery life. (Hint to Manufacturers: Include more than one battery pack.)  I had some initial issues and some pleasant surprises I would like to share.

Lets start with the surprises.  I found that it had great position and altitude hold without a GPS module.  I was able to put it up about 40 feet above me and slowly rotate it as I took video and pictures.  It did not drift away in the wind as I looked away to check the tablet video feed.  It even held its position in the wind when the gust were so strong it could barely go forward with the current tilt settings.  The flip feature was neat and again it held its position and height well after performing the stunt. 

Now for some let downs.  The video and photos are horrible for its claimed camera resolution.  All my photos from attempting a panoramic where very blurry.  Video may of been HD but the focus of the camera was way out.  WiFi range sucks. Well at least with my Motorola Xoom.  I have to try a different device to see if there is any improvement or decline in the performance.  I was getting about 125 to 150 foot range (guesstimate). 

The controls are what you would expect from a tablet.  Very odd to get used to and inaccurate.  A standard RC radio PWM ports or PPM port should of been standard on the device.  Then the range could really increase in that case.

Those are some initial thoughts on the Parrot AR Drone 2.0.  I will do a more in-depth look at the unit in a later post.