American citrus farmers are flying drones over their crops in order to check harvests for ripeness. Estate agents are taking enticing air videos to show to would-be customers. Roof inspections can be carried out by drones, saving time, money and dispelling danger to workers. The commercial possibilities of drones are vast, so much so they’re now available to the Wi-Fi-obsessed masses, in the guise of the Bebop Drone.
The new Bebop Drone from the French company Parrot is a flying video camera. With a 14 megapixel “fisheye lens”, the front-facing HD camera on board the Bebop is capable of taking quality high definition aerial footage easily and inexpensively. This nifty little flying camera can reach heights of 1000 feet. It can fly for twelve minutes on one charge. It even creates its own Wi-Fi hotspot and streams live. In ideal conditions the Bebop Drone has a range of 2 kilometres plus embedded GPS and 3-axis stabilisation. You can link it up to your smartphone or tablet and monitor the action as you film it.
Parrot has also announced the new Skycontroller. This additional device extends the range of the Drone up to two kilometres. The Skycontroller enables users to connect First Person View (FPV) glasses via the HDMI plug. With a mere tilt of your head you can then position the camera of the Drone.
Naturally the announcement of such a fun photographic device, which required the skills of 50 engineers, aeronautics, Wi-Fi radio and industrial designers to work on its development and has such huge potential and possibilities, is being lapped up by the tech-loving media.
Ultra-smooth flying experience
Engadget were quick to give the Bebop a hands-on review. Engadget were particularly impressed with the Bebop’s ultra-smooth flying experience, even in windy conditions. Referring to Parrot’s quadricopter as “one of the most stable drone flights we’re ever seen in action,” the Engadget reviewer was thrilled by the prospect that you can fly the Bebop outside without worrying that a strong breeze will throw it onto your neighbour’s roof.
“It can do amazing things”
The gang at Time were equally impressed. With a headline stating the new Bebop Drone can “do amazing things”, Time dubs Parrot as being the most important company in the world of consumer drones – quite an accolade for the French!
Check out the official video:
Not everyone is as quick to endorse the playful merits of the Bebop. Jack Nicas of the Wall Street Journal is quick to highlight the dangers of such ‘toys’. The Wall Street Journal reported how a near-collision between a drone and a commercial jet over Florida has added to the urgency and efforts made by regulators to impose new rules on the proliferation of unmanned aircraft.
“Pilots of these drones are defying seven-year-old restrictions on commercial unmanned aircraft by the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], which has said the curbs are needed for public safety. But limited resources and legal complications have led to scattershot enforcement by the agency, emboldening even more drone operators,” writes the Wall Street Journal.
It doesn’t seem so long ago when sultry rock stars hired helicopters and camera men at fantastic expense in order to get those vital ‘zoom in and out’ shots from the sky. Such adroit camera work would help sell their records and propel them up the charts. Now, thanks to the likes of Parrot, any garage band of school kids can make an aerial video without even having to leave ‘terra firma.’
If you are keen to get your hands on the Bebop Drone you’ll have to wait. Parrot plan to release the Drone in the last quarter of the year. The exact price has yet to be announced but it has been estimated the Bebop will be in the range of $300 – $400 (Approx. £177 – £237).