A french company, named Parrot, unveiled an iPhone controlled, wifi-enabled, quadrocopter at CES 2010. The robot, called the AR.Drone, is a sophisticated and snazzy quadrocopter that is controlled via an iPhone or iPod Touch over a wifi connection. The AR.Drone has two onboard cameras, one of which streams live video back to the iPod screen, an ultrasonic altimeter, and a gyro/accelerometer based stabilization system. The drone also has a neat “augmented reality” system that overlays computer generated graphics and objects on the video feed, to allow users to play games or compete against each other with multiple AR.Drones. CNet says, “You’ll get about 15 minutes of battery-powered fun on a one-hour charge”, and reports that the vehicle will retail for around $500.
The most interesting part of the AR.Drone is that the wifi interface will have an API! This means that there is significant potential for building complex robotics projects using an inexpensive flying system (robot swarms, anyone?). Parrot has already created a developers website and has uploaded demo code for getting started with programming for the AR.Drone.
More images after the jump.