Parrot Disco: How come fly with a drone made of Styrofoam?

Earlier this year, Parrot surprised with the announcement of Parrot Disco, a drone that drew attention especially to present a design different from the quadcopters. Just over half a year later he presented it again confirming design and features, but besides this there was also demonstration, and we could try for a while.

From Parrot, they emphasized their intention to achieve an easy product to use for all users regardless of their experience. Something that we have seen directly, from its peculiar takeoff to landing maneuver. Is it as easy as promised? We tell you, with everything presented, because the disc is accompanied Parrot.

Ultralight what it strictly enforced

Product spoke at the time of their announcement and their main features, but some things were in the air (pun intended). Although the news is divided between the drone itself and other devices that accompany it in the pack, the Cockpitglasses and Skycontroller 2.

As mentioned, here we forget that from quadcopter since it is an ultralight (in the broadest sense of the term, because it is extremely light) with a single propeller. Thus, the low weight (considering the dimensions, 58 x 115 cm) to the materials that make up its structure should: tubes carbon fiber that serve as reinforcement for the wings and body of expanded polypropylene (commonly often called porexpán).

Parrot Disco
Image Source: Google Image

Despite the fact that little (700 grams) represents advantages for the FDP itself as for transport, especially because it is easily assembled and disassembled (leaving body on one side and the other wings). However, despite the compaction of polypropylene the recourse to this material makes more likely injury in a blow (e.g. a tree).

The design does not cease to be flashy (and that part was intended, as said its CEO, Henri Seydoux), but also what is sought is to be streamlined and have a more stable flight, especially in the face of video capture. The wings also have a spoiler on the back (part of the wing is not a piece apart) to reduce the wake and assist in elevation.

Something about what went well over in January was regarding electronic components that enable some features such as the peculiar takeoff, which themselves have known today, both the drone and the Skycontroller 2. The disc contains an accelerometer, a gyroscope (precision 0.1°/s), an altimeter, a magnetometer and a GNSS module (GPS + GLONASS support).

In addition, the autopilot is made possible by processing CHUCK Parrot (Control Hub for Computer & Universal Kit), whose algorithms adapt parameters during flight as they receive information from sensors. Another component that provides useful information to adjust the engine power in real time is the Pitot tube.

A bird’s eye view of the most immersive way possible

From the numbers we talked a few months ago and Parrot keeps going with something beyond explanation. The battery has an average duration of 45 minutes, considerable autonomy considering that these devices reach at present, as the DJI Phantom 4 with an average in practice 20 minutes. This will reduce the more we accelerate the drone and depending on weather conditions, or be greater if we require little during our practice (up to an hour, depending assured).

Seydoux maintained the data of the maximum speed, in fact has stated talking about a maximum of 82 km / hour. Here also it depends on weather conditions and what we want to accelerate, with a range of approximately 2 kilometers signal. Recalling other data, the disc has two cameras, one on the nose (14 megapixel) and one at the base.

Ultralight control is done from the Skycontroller 2, which has the basic controls for maneuvering, as well as some accessories buttons for the automatic return (to return to us) and an LED indicator. automatic pilot part, that has the minimum buttons makes learning places plain a little for novice and can master the flight after a few minutes.

This command can be coupled our terminal, which can install the app FreeFlight Pro for iOS and Android. With it we have the flight data in real time (height, distance, speed, battery and control drone) and the view of the camera you choose (we can take snapshots and video sharing). The remote is also very light (750 grams) and comfortable grip, and is connected by WiFi to the Drone (MIMO 2.4 Ghz).

On the other side are the FPV glasses ( First Person View), the Cockpitglasses, which as does a * headset virtual reality has a space for our mobile, so that we can enable the display of cameras Parrot, going a little beyond the experience so that it is more immersive. Yes, the glasses are to be connected by a cable to the control (connects the phone with a USB cable).

All three devices (Drone, command and glasses) are included in the pack that will go on sale from next September.

You may also like to read another article on NetDigEdu: This is the first affordable camera that promises to broadcast live video in 360 degrees

So are the flights with the Parrot Disco

The idea that everything is simple and suitable for all audiences starts since we opened the box: the drone is very easily mounted and the other devices do not even have mounting (except attach the mobile). Linking the drone with the control (or mobile) is also very simple and takes a few seconds, here we see that the LEDs and the drone command (at the base of the power button / sensor) indicate when the connection is made.

Before commissioning is well familiar with the controls, especially if we have no experience in handling drones. In the case of Skycontroller 2 enough is appreciated the simplicity and the fact that it has the just buttons, especially “back home.” There are some useful tricks like to tap left or right so that the drone start flying in circles at a constant speed, which makes automatically after takeoff (50 meters high, waiting for user commands).

Very peculiar takeoff, but also easy

Once we synchronized, we can do it off. This is important to remember to press the button off the knob to the drone is launched, at which point we can already throw, since takeoff, as they showed in the first demonstrations, is done by throwing the disc to freesby. Here we had no problems or communication failures or activation, and is actually easy (although we may have the feeling that we are going to crash into the ground, which did not happen except in cases where you forgot to press the button).

During the flight we had no communication failures despite fly between mountains and other elements and the ultralight is very sensitive to the spins, lifts, drops and when accelerated. We can play a lot with him in this regard with tranquility, and that gives enough game plan when obtaining the plans.

A person who not only entertains

The video quality is quite good, in fact quite noticeable jump in quality between the Bebop 2 and Disco. Of course, if we choose to view the streaming with Cockpitglasses we best, i.e. pegárnoslas to the face as much as possible so that the screen and the lenses are fully front of our eyes, if we will not blurry and distorted.

The display with the glasses is a very interesting incentive and in fact is a plus in terms of the full experience with the drone. But we have to be careful when controlling the flight (in the case of new users, especially), as is having the point of view of the own ship to lose sight.

Something that can be of help here, and incidentally make it not only an individual experience , is that a person take control and other display, although the fact that the glasses have to be connected with a cable to the control is somewhat uncomfortable if we choose this. But in any case it is an extra in the usual pretty fun experience with drones.

The landing requires about 300 meters long and place the drone about 150 meters (and a suitable surface, as flat as possible without rocks and others), which is quite easy to do when having indications at all times on the screen clearly (also if we see with the glasses) and since the disc is quite obedient to our management. Once at that point for our part we have to go down (without turning) until you press the button for landing. Another maneuver suitable for novices (with prior explanation or documentation, of course).

Suitable for all audiences

Overall it meets quite well, and certainly no idea of piloting something he gets the trick easily. The only thing in principle not just convinced is the relative fragility of the material, although the idea is not to crash it or make it go through the branches of trees, but it is fairly easy for the flaps are lifted a little or that split a wing with a sharp blow (although you can get the part and replace it, as batteries).

The battery actually reaches last 45 minutes and even more. This is a point very supportive especially its our goal is to take a series of photographs and videos; do not expect miracles, but the truth is that if we are stopping occasionally (by taking turns example, or viewing photos, etc.) and not we press too much in terms of speed (though seeing how he responds is difficult to resist), we can have entertainment for a couple of hours or more.

Thus, the Parrot Disco manages to be a different product suitable for both novice users and experts alike. Here one of the factors limiting factor may be the price, since it is above the majority (including, yes, control and helmet), being an investment to consider whether we really know that we like the activity and if you’re looking to have pictures with enough quality, if the flight rate differences (with respect to quadcopters) are appreciated and if we value autonomy over other things.

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