Tested readers know all about these mechanized monstrosities we call quadricopters. Remote controlled copters like Parrot's AR.Drone pop up in awesome videos every few months, flying autonomously with the help of a Microsoft Kinect or volleying balls back and forth with tennis rackets. Parrot brought a new and improved AR.Drone to CES this year--it looks similar from the outside, but packs in enough changes to make the original model look old and busted.
The AR.Drone 2.0's camera has been upgraded to 720p and communicates with a new app for iOS and Android that can record footage as it's streamed. New sensors make the quadricopter more stable and able to fly higher than before. And here's the important part: the AR.Drone 2.0 can do flips. Just watch the video below.
Doing a barrel roll on command is every would-be pilot's dream, but the additions to the Drone's sensor package really make the whole flying experience smoother. The original Parrot had ultrasound sensor for detecting the ground beneath the copter, but those are only good to a height of six meters. An added pressure sensor and new gyroscope help keep the AR.Drone 2 stable at higher altitudes.
Parrot's AR.Flight 2.0 app can record stills and videos from the Drone's 720p camera and includes tools to upload those files to sites like Youtube. The app also adds an "absolute control mode" that uses the pilot as a point of reference for flight controls. Expect to see the Drone 2.0 take over for the original model in Q2 of 2012 for $300.