Parrot Unveils Winged Bomber-Like ‘Disco’ Drone At CES 2016

January 4, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

You may have heard of an electronics company called Parrot, who mainly manufactures drones, along with audio and infotainment systems for automobiles. These tend to sport Parrot’s own in-house chipsets, which are made for voice recognition and integration of voice commands. One of their sets, in fact, actually runs a full-fledged custom Android OS. Though they’ve made a few drones in their time, Parrot is dipping their toes into the world of experimental drones with a fairly revolutionary piece dubbed the Disco. The Disco is a very unique drone in that it can not only reach speeds of 50 miles per hour, it does so with wings.

Ditching the quadcopter design, the Parrot is much more akin to an airplane. A single propeller sits in the back of the somewhat understated bot and can be started up with a shake. From there, a user can literally toss the Disco up into the air and it will begin to circle as it ascends. It will continue to do so until a user assumes control via Parrot’s own Skycontroller, which can be hooked up to a smartphone or tablet. An array of sensors including a gyroscoe, GPS, accelerometer, and even a barometer, among others, makes flight a breeze. A 14 megapixel camera sits on the front of the unit and lets the user hitch a ride through the skies. Users can even enjoy a completely immersive flight by hooking up VR gear to the phone or tablet, or directly to the Skycontroller for some rigs. Flight time should tally up about 45 minutes total on a single charge.

When you’re ready to bring the drone down, it can be set to land automatically in much the same fashion as it took to the skies, spiraling down to the ground for a smooth, angled landing. Of course, with the drone weighing less than two pounds, simply snatching it out of the air should do fine as long as it’s slowed down enough. An important side note; the drone has no automatic detection software for front collisions, so playing chicken with a building, tree or power line is ill-advised. A price and release date are still a ways away; at the time of this announcement, the drone is basically only in alpha stage.