Remote-controlled helicopters are not new, but Parrot's AR.Drone Quadricopter is set to make a splash when it goes on sale on Sept. 9th. It will use an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad as a controller, and give a live video feed from two different cameras to the "pilot."
Indeed, the AR part of the AR.Drone Quadricopter's name comes from the use of "augmented reality." Meanwhile, quadricopter means what it sounds like: the Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter (Amazon.com) will have four rotors.
The AR.Drone only lasts 12 minutes on a single charge of its batteries. However, unlike the devices will be used to control it, it will have user-replaceable batteries, with a recharge time of 1 1/2 hours.
Apple has been famous in eschewing user-swappable batteries in its devices, unlike many other manufacturers. That means that a user who needs to replace an old battery has to send it in (or at least, take it in), and that there's no "carrying of extra batteries."
The AR.Drone comes in three colors: orange with either green, blur or yellow accents. Each model comes with two hulls, one of them for indoor use, with protective loops around the rotors. The device creates its own wi-fi network which the iOS device connects to in order to control the Quadricopter.
It's also possible that other controllers could eventually be created or used with the wi-fi network. In fact, Parrot will be uploading the AR.Drone's communication source code, so that other mobile phone manufacturers (read: Android) can develop their own remote control applications.
At $300, the Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter is not cheap, and thus not really a toy. As we said, it goes on sale on Sept. 9th. Oh, and the big question: is dogfighting possible? You bet it is. You can watch a couple of videos below, and there's also a YouTube channel with many more, as well.