A mass market drone for fun and games?
It may be a while before drones start patrolling the skies or delivering packages, but kids and adults will be able to command their own personal flying devices very soon.
The French electronics firm Parrot on Tuesday unveiled its “Rolling Spider” and “Jumping Sumo” mini-drones to go on sale in the US market in August.
“We wanted to create connected robots for the generations of smartphones and tablets,” Parrot spokeswoman Vanessa Loury told AFP at a demonstration in New York.
The mini-drones are controlled by mobile apps loaded on tablets and phones using Apple’s iOS or the Google Android platform.
With these new devices, “everything around you becomes an excuse to play, and the world transforms into a giant playground,” said a statement from Parrot.
“Rolling Spider” has four rotors and can also be adapted to move on two wheels to roll on the ground or on a wall. It features “kid-friendly piloting.”
“Jumping Sumo” is a two-wheeled device which can jump up to 80 centimeters (2.6 feet). It can spin, roll and take pictures with a wide-angle camera.
The devices will sell for US$100 (S$125) and US$160 ($200) in the US, and will be sold in France for 99 ($169) and 159 euros ($269).
Parrot is also known for its civilian and professional drones, including one that can be used for mapping and for agricultural crop monitoring.
In the United States, the question of drones is still being studied by aviation officials, although these types of toys may be flown at low altitudes.
As for the question of drones for package delivery – as envisioned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – Parrot said the time has not yet arrived.
“Delivering packages is a long way off,” said Parrot executive Peter George.
“I can’t see that happening for 20 years.”
But George added that with the devices, “it’s really been about having fun with toys.”