Parrot introduced its fixed-wing drone Parrot Disco about ten days ago, and it was on display at IFA, although unable to fly due to the space restrictions indoors.

However, we were able to see a demo of the brand new Minidrones, namely the Mambo and the Swing, which were unveiled during the show.

We awarded the Disco a Best of IFA Award since I was able to test it in a large outdoor space a week before the show, and the experience was amazing.

The Parrot Mambo can be customized with various accessories to catch objects, and throw projectiles. The video demo shows an attempt to pass a card between two Mambo drones, and in the photos, you can see the Mambo equipped with a mini-cannon that throws pellets. The most talented pilots will be able to reach the bull eyes of a target while flying or pass a card to another mambo without a glitch. See belwo the Mambo phot gallery.

The ultra-lightweight (2.2 oz.) flying toy can carry up to 0.14 oz. objects with the Grabber accessory, and the provided cannon reaches 6.5 feet and has a 6 pellets charger capacity. The Mambo is available on the Parrot website for $119.99 <https://www.parrot.com/us/minidrones/parrot-mambo>, with the Grabber and the Cannon in the box.
Watch the official Mambo demo video here.

Dubbed the “first plane Minidrone with vertical take-off and forward flight” the Swing is a hybrid that switches from quadcopter to plane, so the pilot gets the benefits of both. In the demo we could only see a partial plane mode, due to the space limitation in the drones’ cage at the Parrot booth. The Swing is a little more expensive, at $139 <https://www.parrot.com/us/minidrones/parrot-swing>, probably because the package includes the Flypad controller.

Minidrone Swing

Parrot-Minidrone-Swing-01

The ultra-lightweight Swing (2.6 oz.) is dedicated to performing aerial tricks at high speed, the X-shaped wings allow for both vertical and horizontal flying modes. In fact, the Swing’s ability to go back to the vertical position in quadcopter mode is very useful, since it provides far more control than the horizontal flying mode. For instance, you can stop the drone by pushing a button and it will switch back to the quadcopter mode and stay still in the air, which is impossible to do with a plane drone, like the Parrot Disco.

Aerial acrobatics and safe landing

In aircraft mode, the full speed can reach 18 mph and to land, the Swing automatically goes back to quadcopter mode. The hybrid form factor enables impressive agility for aerial acrobatics, the Swing performs U-turns, half-flips and loops at high speed. We just saw a glimpse of its capabilities during the demo, due to the limited space in the cage.

Autopilot and automated stability

Parrot Swing probably leverages the technology developed for the Parrot Disco, as it offers a similar automated stabilization system for the horizontal flying mode. The quite complex technology enabled by multiple sensors allows beginners to enjoy the flight without struggling to control the mini aircraft.
The ability to stop the drone in the hover position immediately at any time is critical for safety in crowded areas as it helps a lot to prevent hitting obstacles such as trees.

How it works?

According to Parrot, this is how the embedded technology works:

A 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope measure the motion and the angle of the Swing and the autopilot adjusts its position. Additionally, the autopilot automatically maintains the mini aircraft at a constant altitude in plane mode.

In quadcopter mode, a camera constantly compares the current image of the ground to the previous one, every 16 milliseconds, to calculate the speed. The camera can also take VGA (460×680) photos of the ground or the landscape while in horizontal position. The 1 GB internal memory stores up to 400 pictures. An ultrasound sensor captures the flight altitude up to 13 ft, and at higher altitude a pressure sensor helps to control the Swing.

The Mambo quadcopter Minidrone gets the same autopilot technology for automated stabilization.

Flypad Controller and Freeflight Mini Mobile app

Parrot-Flypad

With the brand new FreeFlight Mini app for iOs or Android, you can now control all the Parrot Minidrones at short distance, including the Swing and the Mambo. From the app you can configure the Minidrone, even when it is offline, and activate all the accessories (for the Mambo).

If you need a stable connection at long distance (up to 60m/196ft), the optional Parrot Flypad remote control is required to pilot the Minidrones. Additionally, it offers precise piloting with the joysticks and buttons. The experience is better with the Flypad, and it will cost you an additional $39 to get it for the Mambo while it is included in the package with the Swing.

Battery

The plane mode allows for 8.30 minutes of flying on a single charge, while in quadcopter it lasts only 7 minutes. The charging time for the ultra-lightweight 550 mAh battery is quite fast, it required only 30 minutes with a 2.1A.

Conclusion

From the brief indoors demos that we saw at IFA, we can say that the Mambo and the Swing are fun toys to fly with, the Mambo can fly either indoors or outdoors, while the Swing reaches its full potential in an open outdoor space. The price point is fine, given the software quality and the great number of sensors required to control those tiny drones over Bluetooth V4.0 BLE.

Parrot Swing Key Features

Parrot-Minidrone-Swing-06

STABILIZATION SENSORS:

  • Speed calculation: 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope
  • Vertical stabilization: Ultrasound sensor (measures below 13 ft / 4m altitude in quad mode) & Pressure sensor
  • Horizontal stabilization: Camera sensor

BATTERY:

  • 550mAh LiPo Battery
  • 7 min battery life in quad mode
  • 8.30 min battery life in plane mode
  • 30 min charging time with a 2.1A charger

AERONAUTICAL SPECS:

  • Stabilization and flight control software
  • Optimized weight/speed ratio
  • Polypropylene structure, EPO wings

SPEED MEASUREMENT (IN QUAD MODE) & CAMERA :

  • 60 FPS vertical camera
  • Camera: 300,000 pixels
  • Max altitude: 80 ft / 25 m

CONNECTIVITY

  • Bluetooth V4.0 BLE connection
  • 65 ft / 20 m with a smartphone
  • 200 ft / 60 m with Parrot Flypad

WEIGHT, DIMENSIONS & OS COMPATIBILITY :

  • Weight: 2.57 oz / 73g without bumpers or accessories
  • Dimensions: L 13 x W 5 x D 5 inches
  • Dimensions mm: L 325 x W 126 x D 121 mm
  • OS compatibility: iOS 7 and up / Android 4.3 and up
  • SDK: OS Linux. SDK available on Parrot.com

Check the full specifications of the Mambo on Parrot Website <>

PARROT FLYPAD

BATTERY:

  • 200mAh LiPo Battery
  • 6 hour battery life
  • 2 hour charging time

CONNECTIVITY:

  • 200 ft / 60m range
  • Stable signal
  • Automatic and direct connection to your drone
  • Bluetooth V4.0 BLE connection

WEIGHT:

  • 10.40 oz / 295g

SMARTPHONE OPTIONAL:

  • Max size: L 6 x W 3 x D 0.4 inches / L 160 x W 78 x D 9.8 mm

Filed in Cellphones >Gadgets >Gaming >Reviews. Read more about IFA, IFA 2016, Parrot.

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