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. Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Review: Fly Higher, Farther, and More Intuitively

•, By Clay Dillow
 After enthusiastically covering the debut of Parrot at the Consumer Electronics Show back in 2010, PopSci went on to honor the camera-equipped, remotely-piloted quadrotor with a Best of What’s New distinction. And so with that in mind I unboxed the newest iteration--properly named AR.Drone 2.0--prepared for some degree of disappointment. Second-generation products, as often as not, tend to correct flaws in the first generation and marginally refresh or update certain features (now with HD camera!) without drastically improving or reinventing the core product or experience. I approached Parrot’s newest drone accordingly.

This was a misjudgment. That’s not to say the AR.Drone 2.0 is a completely re-imagined concept--the aerial vehicle itself is essentially the same--but the latest version has taken several significant technological strides forward, packing a stronger suite of sensor technology and improved hardware that make piloting the quadcopter an order of magnitude more intuitive (and a whole lot of fun).

Outwardly the AR.Drone 2.0 is still the same quadcopter, bearing a few minor aesthetic changes. The significant upgrades are all interior. A new pressure sensor helps keep the AR.Drone 2.0 vertically stable at altitudes as high as 164 feet (the first-gen drone’s ultrasound sensors maintained stability only up to about 20 feet). A 3-axis magnetometer joins the 3-axis gyro and 3-axis accelerometer that were already there, making it significantly easier to pilot (more on that later). Version 2.0 also received its first built-in, automated maneuvering function--double-tap the screen of your control device (like its predecessor, the AR.Drone 2.0 is controlled via a smartphone or tablet app) and the aircraft executes a midair flip.

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