Drones

Parrot's gliding Disco drone is ready to come to the party

Parrot's gliding Disco drone i...
The Disco drone is crafted from expanded polypropylene and can fly for 45 minutes at time
The Disco drone is crafted from expanded polypropylene and can fly for 45 minutes at time
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The Disco drone is controlled with the newly announced Skycontroller 2, the second generation of Parrot's remote control for drones
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The Disco drone is controlled with the newly announced Skycontroller 2, the second generation of Parrot's remote control for drones
The Disco drone on show at CES earlier this year
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The Disco drone on show at CES earlier this year
A few impressive specs here and there is all well and good, but what might really make the Disco unique is the experience of flying the thing
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A few impressive specs here and there is all well and good, but what might really make the Disco unique is the experience of flying the thing
The Disco drone is crafted from expanded polypropylene and can fly for 45 minutes at time
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The Disco drone is crafted from expanded polypropylene and can fly for 45 minutes at time
A few impressive specs here and there is all well and good, but what might really make the Disco unique is the experience of flying the thing
5/8
A few impressive specs here and there is all well and good, but what might really make the Disco unique is the experience of flying the thing
Parrot says that Disco will be available from sometime in September 
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Parrot says that Disco will be available from sometime in September 
The Disco drone is crafted from expanded polypropylene and can fly for 45 minutes at time
7/8
The Disco drone is crafted from expanded polypropylene and can fly for 45 minutes at time
Parrot says that Disco will be available sometime in September with a price tag of US$1,299, with the Skycontroller 2 and Cockpitglasses included
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Parrot says that Disco will be available sometime in September with a price tag of US$1,299, with the Skycontroller 2 and Cockpitglasses included

Parrot has never been afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to drone design, with rovers that jump through the air and miniature quadcopters that scale walls. The Disco revealed at CES earlier this year is yet another departure from the typical consumer drone form, and Parrot has just revealed a few new details about how the speedy fixed-wing glider will work, along with details on pricing and availability.

With their incredible agility and maneuverable cameras, quadcopters have ruled the consumer space with regard to unmanned aerial vehicles. But fixed-wing versions have their place too, with these types of gliders taking to the skies in the name of crop monitoring, wildlife conservation, deliveries and surveillance.

With its Disco drone, Parrot is trying to bring the strengths of this design to those who simply like flying for fun. This makes for an ultralight, 725 g (1.6 lb) drone crafted from expanded polypropylene that can fly for 45 minutes at time, compared to the 20 to 25 minutes most top-flight consumer drones will run for. There's also the matter of speed, with the Disco able to fizz along at 50 mph (80 km/h), while most quads, including Parrot's own Bepop 2, top out at around 37 mph (60 km/h).

A few impressive specs here and there is all well and good, but what might really make the Disco unique is the experience of flying the thing. The first-person view (FPV) capability, where a camera built into the nose live streams the drone's view back to a set of virtual reality goggles, has been a major factor in the explosive growth of drone racing, and Parrot will be hoping this immersive sensation can have a similar effect here, hooking hobbyists by making them feel like they are right there in the cockpit.

Parrot says that Disco will be available sometime in September with a price tag of US$1,299, with the Skycontroller 2 and Cockpitglasses included
Parrot says that Disco will be available sometime in September with a price tag of US$1,299, with the Skycontroller 2 and Cockpitglasses included

Alongside the Disco drone, Parrot is launching a set of FPV goggles called Cockpitglasses that work in a similar way to the Samsung Gear VR headset. Pilots slide their iOS or Android smartphone into the headset which hooks up with the drone over Wi-Fi and displays live vision from its full-HD, 14-megapixel camera with radar and flight data laid over the top.

There is also an onboard computing unit called C.H.U.C.K (Control Hub & Universal Computer Kit), which handles the Disco's autopilot capabilities. This allows users to simply toss the drone into the air like a frisbee for take-off, which sees it ascend to an altitude of 164 ft (50 m) and circle automatically until the pilot takes the joysticks. When it's time to come down, the automatic landing feature brings Disco down below an altitude of 19 ft (5.7 m) and slows it down to land smoothly in a straight line.

The drone is controlled with the newly announced Skycontroller 2, the second generation of Parrot's remote control for drones. This allows Disco to roam up to 1.2 mi (1.93 km) away and connects with the dedicated FreeFlight Pro smartphone app to enable the FPV streaming, along with functions like geofencing, limiting altitude and recording video onto the drone's 32 GB onboard memory.

Parrot says that Disco will be available from sometime in September with a price tag of US$1,299, with the Skycontroller 2 and Cockpitglasses included. You can check out the latest promo video below.

Source: Parrot

Parrot DISCO FPV - Official Video

8 comments
Derek Howe
To pricey of a toy for me, but it looks like it would be a LOT of fun to mess around with.
Bob
So it's not really a glider but a powered wing.
Jonathan Colvin
It's a flying wing with a propeller, hence not a glider.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Maybe it could find a thermal and operate as a sail plane.
Joe Blough
Put a gas engine in it and stay aloft for hours. Hugely better energy density, and since it's not a hovercraft with four or more motors, doesn't need the fast response times of electric motors to be stable.
Mikisi
Compared with DJI Phantom 3P or 4 - can't see any advantage. Range is limited by the radio signal (about 5-6Km) for both, and so flying at higher speed is meaningless. Camera is inferior, landing into your hand is impossible and actually you can't land in any limited space place like balcony, narrow path on mountain, etc.). You can't fly it slowly and low (selfies, inspection of inaccessible places) and you can't fly it into narrow passages between buildings (you can't reverse and any return requires to fly a circle). So why would you pay even more than for a Phantom?
Fritz
This really has a big potential. Example searching lost cows in the alps or quickly scanning avalanches for survivals.
Nik
How long before some builds a man carrying version?