Parrot looks to the insect world for folding 4K camera drone
Parrot says that the Anafi drone has been 2 years in the making, and has looked to insects to inform its design. Two rotor -packing arms fold out on each side of its thorax, its head is home to the camera and gimbal and the abdomen contains the drone's battery. The French firm has also tapped into user feedback to zero in on image quality, flight performance, foldability and ease of use in the control and software departments.
The Parrot Anafi features a carbon fiber frame filled with hollow glass microbeads to keep weight down, which comes in at 320 g (11.2 oz), and its four arms are reported to fold in or out in under 3 seconds. To fit inside the supplied carry case, it folds down to 244 x 67 x 65 mm (9.6 x 2.6 x 2.56 in), and opens up to 175 x 240 x 65 mm (6.8 x 9.4 x 2.56 in) prior to flight.
The drone's camera is mounted out front to a gimbal that has 3-axis stabilization and rotates the camera 180 degrees vertical and 80 degrees horizontal. The wide-angle F2.4 lens lets light through to a 21 MP Sony IMX230 CMOS sensor that works with an Ambarella video processor. Parrot says that the Anafi is the only drone available at the moment that shoots in 4K HDR video (3,840 x 2,160), which it does at 24, 25 and 30 fps. Flyers can also choose 4K Cinema mode for 4,096 x 2,160 resolution videos at 24 fps or opt for Full HD at 24, 25, 30, 48, 50 or 60 fps.
The Anafi boasts lossless 1.4x digital zoom capabilities in 4K modes and 2.8x in FHD, or up to 3x in all modes for standard digital zoom. And there's also something Parrot is calling the Dolly Zoom, where the background can be moved away at the same time as zooming in on a subject.
Footage is recorded to microSD storage (a 16 GB card is supplied), and flight time is 25 minutes from the drone's 2,700 mAh Li-Pol battery, which is charged over USB-C.
Each of its feet has a dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi antenna for wirelessly connecting with the Parrot Skycontroller 3, which auto syncs to the Anafi drone when unfolded and powered on. The controller has a range of up to 4 km (2.5 miles), and caters for a live streaming resolution on the docked smartphone of 720p.
That smartphone will be running an app developed in tandem with the drone called FreeFlight 6, which can be used to set automated flight and camera modes. Users can also choose to fly in Sport mode for speeds of up to 55 km/h (33 mph), while being able to withstand winds of 50 km/h (31 mph). The Anafi drone can be set to auto follow its user too, making use of a neural network for target tracking and shape recognition.
The Anafi camera drone is a clear competitor to DJI's Mavic Air, but is lighter, can fly for longer, is able to capture higher resolution stills, and is due to fly in for less on July 1 with a price tag of US$699.
You can see the drone in action in the video below.
Product page: Parrot Anafi