Parrot today announced an update to its Bebop drone, the Bebop 2.
The $549 drone offers improvements to its predecessor, such as an improved 25-minute flight time over the original Bebop’s 15-minute flights.
Read more: my review of the original Parrot Bebop
The flight controllers also are faster and more precise, more stable in the wind, and come with better sensing and GPS.
“We try to make it as useful as a cellphone,” said Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux, who also is known as cofounder of the iconic red-soled designer shoe company, Christian Louboutin. “We try to put all the ideas you would find on a smartphone today, and we put that into a drone.”
The drone itself is controlled by a smartphone (or tablet). Though, like the original Bebop, Parrot’s Bebop 2 does offer a Skycontroller (thoughts on that here).
With the expansion of the Bebop lineup, Parrot is positioning itself in a market of people looking for products cheaper than a DJI Phantom, but better quality than a toy. Five years ago, Parrot was the first to introduce a “real, ready-to-fly” drone to the consumer market with its $299 AR.Drone.
It’s strength lies in its friendliness. The Bebop, which weighs in at about 1.1 pounds (half the weight of a Phantom) has charming rounded edges and almost soft propellers that likely would not cut Enrique Iglesias’ fingers should he try to grab it.
“We try to make it as non dangerous as possible,” Seydoux said. “It’s more safe than the competition because the drone’s safety (should it hit something) is linked to the weight.”
The drone has no gimbal and instead stabilizes video using its optical flow sensor technology.
The drone is expected to ship in time for Christmas.