Check-In CES: Consumer Drones

This company can help consumers experiment with the technology today

Amazon changed the way people think about drones when Jeff Bezos revealed his plans for an octocopter army on national television. These delivery drones would bring packages directly from Amazon fulfillment centers to customer homes without the need for an intermediary. While Amazon spends the next few years writing and rewriting aviation regulations, consumers can start experimenting with their own consumer-ready drones today, thanks to Parrot.

Parrot has a diverse suite of connected products, from headphones to its new home plant monitor. The star of the booth, though, is the latest in its line of consumer drones, the AR.Drone 2.0. The design and marketing of the AR.Drone are brilliant. It has an embedded HD camera which transmits directly to any Android or iOS device, which also acts as the flight controller. It also allows for control through the NVIDIA Shield, taking advantage of this emerging technology which appeals to a similar audience. It’s no coincidence that these two booths sit right next to each other on the CES floor.

Parrot is working to creating an ecosystem around the device to appeal to different audiences and to maximize the utility of the drone. The Director Mode allows users to take sophisticated camera shots with the drone for use in video productions, including crane and panning shots. This suite of features allows for an expanded set of video settings to maximize the quality of the video. An added Flight Recorder allows for improved stabilization and better mapping. Its open API lends itself to an entire library of applications and games to develop around its hardware.

These peripheral add-ons are a great sign from a consumer electronics manufacturer because they imply confidence and flexibility in its core hardware, which has been going strong for almost two years. Too often, connected devices become obsolete because the manufacturers fail to future-proof their hardware (consider car GPS from years ago). Instead of reinventing themselves and alienating existing customers, Parrot is going deeper and creating a better, more open experience for everyone.