Parrot's New Fixed-Wing Drone Is A 80km/h Party In The Sky

Parrot's New Fix-Wing Drone Is 80km/h Party in the Sky

The consumer drone explosion of the last few years has been mostly limited to quadcopter-style multirotors. Until now. Meet the Disco, Parrot's super-fast drone party in the sky. The Disco is smart and it's easy, but the coolest part is that it rips. This thing can go up to 80km/h.

Parrot's New Fix-Wing Drone Is 80km/h Party in the Sky

The new fix-wing drone is the first consumer camera drone of its kind. It's got a rotor on its tail, but the whole structure of the vehicle is really more like that of a plane. The Disco's got a 1080p HD, digitally stabilised camera in its nose, with two big wings forming a "v" around it. Each wing has steering flaps which are controlled by motors.

Steering should require very little expertise. In a briefing, Parrot emphasised that far from an enthusiast drone, it expects everybody to be able to fly it. Using the Parrot's app, the drone basically flies itself, and if you want to fly it with your hands using the company's fancy drone controller hardware, you don't need to worry about keeping it steady or anything. A single joystick controls altitude as well as left and right directions.

Parrot's New Fix-Wing Drone Is 80km/h Party in the Sky

The Disco is outfitted with a bevy of sensors that allow it to maintain stability. These should be pretty familiar if you know anything about drones. On the bottom, the drone uses both a sight camera and ultrasound to maintain stability. A pitot sensor in the nose determines the drone's speed. As with other drones, if you lose track of the Disco, or it senses that it's lost, it will use GPS to get itself home. Smart drone.

Oh and it's way that you're supposed to launch this thing that's actually really amusing. Start up the propeller and then pick it up and throw it like a paper aeroplane. From there, the drone will fly up to 50m and enter a circular holding pattern until you tell it what to do. When it's time for the the drone to land, it does a sort of glorified crash landing — this thing has no landing gear.

The Disco isn't exactly a grab and go toy. It's got a 1.1m wingspan, though thanks to tough foam construction, the drone weighs just 680g. (We're told the foam is plenty tough unless you plan on crashing it into a tree. The tree wins that fight.) A high-capacity battery, allows the Disco to fly for 45 minutes.

Parrot's New Fix-Wing Drone Is 80km/h Party in the Sky

There's no word on when we might get to actually fly the Disco in real life or how many bucks it will to cost when it drops. We're told at the very least that it will be a real thing you can buy in 2016. Sick.

Parrot's New Fix-Wing Drone Is 80km/h Party in the Sky
Parrot's New Fix-Wing Drone Is 80km/h Party in the Sky

Gizmodo's on the ground in Las Vegas! Follow all of our 2016 CES coverage here.



    So it's a remote controlled plane?

      When did everything become a drone?
      Remote controlled quadcopter? Drone.
      Remote controlled plane? Drone.
      Remote controlled car? Ground based drone.
      Remote controlled boat? Water based drone.

        Drone: An unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight.

        It's a drone.

          You forgot ground based vehicles, these are drones too (omitted by your googled definition).

          Drones are for Uninformed Drones to use, Professionals use Remotely Piloted Aircraft/Water and Ground vehicles.


            Did I forget?
            Or do I know almost nobody refers to UGVs as drones?
            'Rover' is much more common.

        Though I don't endorse calling anything a drone in "technical literature", Letting the public know that if they want to call any remotely piloted vehicle a drone, they have to call all of them drones.

        General info:
        Autonomy is no distinction for a RPA/UAV/UA/"Drone" when compared to a "Radio Controlled" Aircraft/Vehicle, regardless of the definitions the "urban" dictionaries like Oxford, Collins, Macquarie, Websters, etc, like to "inform". Technically if they are used for a hobby, they are only RC aircraft/vehicles, etc. Despite the fancy apps and inherent "navigation skills", Return to Base/Home/Landing is just a basic add-on to any RC you these days. It is just making the user the dumb one.

        Avoiding trees and flying objects now that would start to be a smart toy. (These exist too, in R&D land.)


      Drone <> Quadcopter. I fully endorse the use of the word drone here to remind people of this.

      It can fly itself, return home and land itself. What's the problem?

    Sounded great until you got to how crash-landings are a "feature" not a "failure". How hard would it have been to add a basic, fixed undercarriage? Tough foam or not, this will only last a dozen or so landings.

      If you're landing it on grass and it's not landing right on the tip of it's wing I don't see how it'd be a problem?

        That's two big ifs that you have guarantee each time which significantly limits the locations and flying conditions you can use this in.

        Plus, what about the prop? It's turning circle is lower than the body, so there will always be the risk it will snap on landing. That is unless you kill the engine and the prop stops flush with the body. It's possible to mechanically ensure this I suppose.

          This is the norm for landing EPO foam RC planes, they rarely have undercarriage. You belly land them on grass and they take hardly any damage whatsoever. You can extend their longevity by running a simple strip of masking tape down the ventral fuselage surface. If you practice, it is also often possible to land them in your hand. The prop on this appears to be a fixed model, but folding props are often fitted to improve glide performance and reduce risk of damage on landing.

            Just thought I'd chime in by pointing out that:
            1: I've seen foam lidar drones which come apart exactly this way in use commercially.
            2: Standard Darpa squad-recon drones also come apart when they land.

            So while it's counterintuitive, it's so common that I must conclude it's good design.

        You could also reinforce the bottom of the fuselage, so that the actual skin doesn't get damaged or scratched. That is just an opinion.

      It needs a re-usable parachute that you can fold up into a little compartment. Then it just needs to let it go when you tap "Land".
      Would be a lot softer landing for it.

      Many "foamies: use this method of fight termination. (it's worked for the last decade or so)

      Landing gear is very "draggy" aerodynamically, and introduces problems with ground handling.

      A wear resistant skid surface solves many problems.

      Watch the video, it is an auto-pilot landing more than a crash landing, it flares (pulls up) and slows down and gently plops onto the ground from a height of about half a meter. I can see it safely landing on grass hundreds of times without problems.

    Just for educational purposes Mario, this "fixed wing drone" commonly known as an aeroplane, and that "rotor on its tail" is generally called a propeller. Remotely controlled model flying-wing planes with pusher props have been around for a pretty long time.

    Just put a camera on it, and it's a drone...

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now