Parrot AR.Drone Buzzing Towards Release in August/September

If you’ve followed the news much recently, you’re probably aware that the (somewhat controversial) new hotness in military tech is drone warfare–unmanned nastiness from above. European firm Parrot is showing off their iDevice-powered civilian version of the tech at E3, the AR.Drone, which is hovering towards U.S. retail early this Fall.

We attended an AR.Drone exhibition last week at E3, where a presenter buzzed an audience of tech bloggers with the oddly shaped quad-rotor copter.

The drone is equipped with a camera that supplies a video feed to your iDevice via an onboard Wi-Fi network, which will automatically link up with nearby drones for multiplayer dogfights and such. Steering and altitude are managed via dual-joystick controls in the AR.Drone app, as well as through gyroscopic movement of the iDevice. Onboard autopiloting software keeps the drone perfectly level and stable during aerial maneuvers.

We were told that durability was a key concern during the design process, so Parrot has built the thing to be totally modular and easy to take apart and repair, if necessary. Battery life is apparently pegged at 12 minutes–plenty of time to survey your neighbors from a discreet distance.

The AR.Drone will be available in Europe on August 18th for 299 Euro, and on September 6th in the U.S. for $299. Check out our video below to see this craziness in action.

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