Parrot's latest AR Drone upgrade, the Power Edition, features a new piano black hull, up to 36 minutes of flight time, and some swanky new prop colors. Plus, watch an AR Drone reenact the exploits of Darius the Great and Xerxes at the Bosphorus.
We have to stress (since it's presented in a slightly confusing manner in Parrot's PR) that the "36 minutes of flight time" is the total flight time that you get using both high-capacity batteries, if you land the drone and switch a spent battery for a fresh one. The drone does not carry both batteries at once, and besides the color, there is no fundamental difference in the hardware. But hey, looking good is the most important thing, and since the batteries will run you 60 bucks by themselves, $370 for the whole package (including four sets of props) isn't a bad deal.
Meanwhile, Parrot has been busy playing with the AR Drone's Flight Recorder GPS autopilot system using an open source software package called QgroundControl. With this, they've managed to get the drone to autonomously fly all the way from Europe to Asia, a distance of, well, just over a kilometer, but still:
If you think you can do better, Parrot's got an online contest looking for the most daring drone pilots to record their exploits using the drone's GPS recorder. Up for grabs are a pair of Parrot's Zik headphones (they're awesome, trust me) and a Wi-Fi extender for long-distance drone shenanigans. The contest is open until September 16; check out the rules below.
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.