CES 2010: Parrot AR.Drone iPhone-Controlled Quadricoptor


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Without a doubt, one of the coolest things introduced at CES 2010 was Parrot's AR.Drone quadricoptor - a Wi-Fi controlled battery powered device that can be flown with your iPhone or iPod Touch.

One of the biggest features behind the technology is the sensors and advanced processing behind the device which allow it to practically fly itself. Unlike other remote helicoptors, the AR.Drone uses a combination of downward looking camera, gyroscopes and other sensors to perform stationary flight and also compensate for other flight conditions. The result is a very easy to fly device.

The device is currently controlled using an iPhone/iPod Touch app which communicates through Wi-Fi to the AR.Drone itself. Simply tap on Launch and the AR.Drone takes off and hovers over a stationary spot. On screen controls are easy and effective.


Left/right buttons allow you to rotate 360 degrees in one spot, while up/down buttons control altitude. Pressing on a special button activates tilt-control on the iPhone/iPod Touch itself. This allow you to fly the device by naturally tilting the iPhone itself. Meanwhile, the on screen controls are overlayed with live video coming from the front-facing camera of the Drone itself.

Parrot is also offering a development kit for 3rd party developers to create augmented reality games using their software/hardware. For example, you could do virtual dogfighting between two AR.Drones.

Article Link: CES 2010: Parrot AR.Drone iPhone-Controlled Quadricoptor


macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2003

With all the technologies in this device (wifi, webcams) this thing has to be pretty expensive. So has anyone heard a price or estimated price range?



macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2007
Pity it's wifi only and not 3G,

It would be cool to able to take it to a park etc.

(what actually happens to the craft whey it flies outside your home network range?)
It creates an ad-hoc network--read their web page....

So it will work in the park! Need pricing info....

rented mule

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2006
Let's be honest, the people buying this are probably peeping toms. It's really a peeping tom's dream come true. Be honest. You're not taking this thing to the park...you'll be hovering this thing in front of bedroom windows.


Aug 18, 2005
Let's be honest, the people buying this are probably peeping toms. It's really a peeping tom's dream come true. Be honest. You're not taking this thing to the park...you'll be hovering this thing in front of bedroom windows.
Well I'm sure it's going to be plenty noisy so I don't think that will work. I own a few electric model helicopters and you really won't be sneaking up on anyone with those. And considering the range of an adhoc wifi signal it's hardly going to make you anonymous using it.

Also the camera doesn't look like it's good enough to actually see anything at a distance. It's only a lowres webcam, nothing special.

It'll be lots of fun to fly though, and easy too by the looks of it (a more conventional model helo is very hard to fly, especially having to watch it from the outside).


macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
Oh man, I can see some serious fun potential with this. What if you could take it to the park to fight off the zombie hordes...

Doctor Q

Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
Los Angeles
Is it noisy (good for attracting attention) or quiet (good for stealth approaches)?

It it hits something, will it break into a million pieces, destroy everything in its path, or simply bounce around and continue on its way?


macrumors 6502a
Jan 23, 2009


Aug 18, 2005
Wifi ranges up to 300 meters when absolutly no walls are around.
Yeah but not the with wifi chip in the iPhone :) Those mobile wifi chips have much lower power to save battery. You'd be lucky to get 50-100 metres. Which is a fair range anyway.

By the way, someone else asked what happens when it loses signal, it starts auto-hovering and will auto-land after a few seconds, according to the website.


macrumors 68000
Dec 29, 2006
Monterey CA
Further ideas:

Compatible missiles or a gun. A taser would be fun.

An AT&T cell tower repeater to get reception for the iPhone controller

Nearest boob automatic focusing system. Like face recognition, nearest eye focusing now available.

Various skins and lighting systems to get the UFO sightings going again.

Fishing option to fly your line out to the middle of the lake.

Fun with voices option, a little loudspeaker that would broadcast "voices" down to marginally sane people, thus putting them over the edge.

Religious option. Much as above, it would broadcast "messages" from popular religious icons. Choice of deep, voice of God or soothing angelic diction.

Lightening would be good, but they are working on a better battery.

"Pass it" option to pass light burning things to inert people around a room.

Doctor Q

Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
Los Angeles
What exactly is this thing good for?

Is it just an idiotic toy for guys who haven't made it past puberty mentally
That's good enough for me. ;)

or is there any use to this?
Perhaps it could be used to knock down a frisbee that got stuck in a tree. It could be more accurate than throwing rocks at the frisbee. That alone justifies the (non yet disclosed) price.


macrumors member
Jan 14, 2009
The Netherlands
I´m an rc enthousiast and have `real` rc helicopters... so this is basically the best thing for the iPhone I´ve seen to date. I´m totally all over it.... I WANT IT!

Oh and edit: to the poster above me, 15 minutes for a radio controlled aircraft is a long time. Most rc aircraft are able to fly for only 5-10 minutes..
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