Parrot Bebop Drone And Skycontroller: HD Video Eye In The Sky

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Introducing The Bebop Drone

Many of us have gazed in awe at some of the gorgeous, high-definition videos captured with ultra-expensive drones, and wished we could produce the same kind of imagery on our own. But for most of us, budgets would not allow it.  With that in mind, Parrot sought to integrate a quality, full HD video camera into a lightweight drone, built with safety and accessibility as top priorities. The company also wanted to produce a drone that offered an engaging piloting experience with substantial range and an expertly designed, custom controller kit. The end result is the Bebop Drone and Skycontroller kit we'll be showing you here today.

parrot bebop drone new 05

In this piece, we'll try to asses whether Parrot succeeded and focus on just how affordable, usable and robust the Bebop Drone and Skycontroller kit can be. But first, we have some specifications and features to share along with a video of the Bebop in action...


Parrot Bebop Drone
Specifications & Features
Connectivity
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 
Wi-Fi antennas: MIMO dual-band with 2 double-sets of dipole antennas for 2.4 and 5 GHz
Sending power: Up to 21 dBm
Signal range: Up to 250 meters


Structure
4 Brushless Outrunner motors
Glass fiber reinforced (15%) ABS structure
High-resistance EPP outdoor hull: Clip and unclip easily to adapt to indoor and outdoor flight, protects the propellers against potential bumps, can be removed to reduce wind factor
Three-blade auto-block propellers in Polycarbonate with fast disassembly system
Anti-vibration bumpers


Speed
13 m/s

Camera
CMOS 14Mpx, 1/2.3" 
"Camera with "Fisheye" lens 180° 1/2,2"": 6 optical elements and 14 Mega pixels sensor
Video stabilization: Digital on 3-axes
Video definition: 1920x1080p (30fps)
Photo definition: 4096x3072 px
Video encoding: H264
Photo file format: JPEG, RAW, DNG
Internal memory: Flash 8 GB

Battery
Lithium Polymer 
Lithium Polymer 1200 mAh
Flight time: 22 minutes with 2 batteries included

Processor
CPU: Dual-Core 
Mother board:
Parrot P7 dual-core CPU Cortex 9
Quad core GPU
8Gb flash memory
All fixed on a magnesium shelf that acts as electromagnetic shielding and as a radiator
Operating system: Linux
Developping: Open-source SDK

Sensors
3-axes 
3-axes magnetometer
3-axes gyroscope
3-axes accelerometer
Optical-flow sensor: Vertical stabilization camera (Every 16 milliseconds, an image of the ground is taken and compared to the previous one to determine the speed of the Bebop Drone)
Ultrasound sensor (Analyzes the flight altitude up to 8 meters)
Pressure sensor

Geo-location
GNSS 
GNSS (GPS + GLONASS) (fig.6) 

Dimensions
28x32x3.6cm 
28x32x3.6cm without the hull
33x38x3.6cm with the hull

Weight
400g 
With battery, 400g without the hull and 420g with the hull

Compatibility
iOS, Android, Windows Phone Smartphones/tablets
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 
  • Wi-Fi antennas: MIMO dual-band with 2 double-sets of dipole antennas for 2.4 and 5 GHz
  • Sending power: Up to 21 dBm
  • Signal range: Up to 250 meters
Structure
  • 4 Brushless Outrunner motors
  • Glass fiber reinforced (15%) ABS structure
  • High-resistance EPP outdoor hull: Clip and unclip easily to adapt to indoor and outdoor flight, protects the propellers against potential bumps, can be removed to reduce wind factor
  • Three-blade auto-block propellers in Polycarbonate with fast disassembly system
  • Anti-vibration bumpers
Speed
  • 13 m/s
Camera
  • CMOS 14Mpx, 1/2.3" 
  • "Camera with "Fisheye" lens 180° 1/2,2"": 6 optical elements and 14 Mega pixels sensor
  • Video stabilization: Digital on 3-axes
  • Video definition: 1920x1080p (30fps)
  • Photo definition: 4096x3072 px
  • Video encoding: H264
  • Photo file format: JPEG, RAW, DNG
  • Internal memory: Flash 8 GB
Battery
  • Lithium Polymer 1200 mAh
  • Flight time: 22 minutes with 2 batteries included
Processor
  • CPU: Dual-Core 
  • Mother board:
  • Parrot P7 dual-core CPU Cortex 9
  • Quad core GPU
  • 8Gb flash memory
  • All fixed on a magnesium shelf that acts as electromagnetic shielding and as a radiator
  • Operating system: Linux
  • Developping: Open-source SDK
Sensors
  • 3-axes magnetometer
  • 3-axes gyroscope
  • 3-axes accelerometer
  • Optical-flow sensor: Vertical stabilization camera (Every 16 milliseconds, an image of the ground is taken and compared to the previous one to determine the speed of the Bebop Drone)
  • Ultrasound sensor (Analyzes the flight altitude up to 8 meters)
  • Pressure sensor
Geo-location
  • GNSS (GPS + GLONASS)
Dimensions
  • 28x32x3.6cm without the hull
  • 33x38x3.6cm with the hull
Weight
  • With battery, 400g without the hull and 420g with the hull
Compatibility
  • iOS, Android, Windows Phone Smartphones/tablets

Although some may scoff at a brightly colored drone with (gasp!) an integrated camera, Parrot has succeeded in bringing a very good quality video experience to a lightweight and surprisingly sturdy drone.  I have been using the Bebop and Skycontroller for a couple of months now and have shot some very nice footage over scraggly rock peaks, bright sandy Pacific beaches, and a collection of urban parks.  I have even crashed the drone into a tree, a brick wall and, my TV, and other than a few scratches on the propellers everything came away unscathed.

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