A new drone will soon join Parrot's ever-growing fleet, and this one will put you right in the cockpit--at least virtually. Available later this year, the Parrot Bebop Drone boasts an onboard 1080p HD fisheye lens camera that can connect to an Oculus Rift device, letting users experience flight in first-person.
In a first for consumer drones, you'll be able to use the Oculus to control the Bebop's camera (but not the drone itself) by turning your head.
Bebop isn't as nimble as its cousin the Parrot MiniDrone, but its camera and cool Oculus Rift connectivity make up for its lack of agility. Parrot has yet to announce a price or release date for the Bebop, saying only the drone should be out by the end of 2014. The Oculus Rift is not included.
The Bebop has a longer, more barrel-shaped body than the MiniDrone that we checked out at CES in January, which gives it a more airplane-like appearance. But like the MiniDrone, instead of airplane wings the Bebop has four horizontal propellers connected to the four corners of its body that allow it to fly and hover in midair.
Bebop comes with styrofoam bumpers that protect it from collisions. Users pilot the drone with Parrot's FreeFlight app for Android and iOS, which connects via Wi-Fi to the Bebop. Alternatively, users will be able to purchase a Skycontroller, a smartphone attachment with two joysticks and an antenna that boosts the phone's Wi-Fi range to 2 kilometers.
Parrot still has yet to release its MiniDrone and the wheeled, jumping robot called Parrot Sumo, both of which the compay announced at CES 2014.