One product flying high in the consumer tech market in the next few months is the drone, whether mini-drones for leisure flyers or veritable winged racers. A host of new products are due out from September 2016, ahead of the imminent unveiling of GoPro's first model.
Parrot has been busy releasing a selection of drones for fall 2016, with two new mini-drones and a more spectacular unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) landing this season. The French firm has presented two new small-format leisure drones. The Swing is a vertical take-off model that can switch between quad-copter mode and plane mode in the blink of an eye. The Mambo, on the other hand, can be loaded with accompanying accessories for added functionality. It comes with a canon for firing soft-impact balls and a grabber for picking up small objects. Both drones are piloted via a controller (Parrot Flypad) and an application (FreeFlight Mini). They're due out in September priced $139.99 for the Swing and $119.99 for the Mambo.
But the real headline-grabber in Parrot's fall line-up is the Disco FPV, presented earlier this year at the CES tech show in Las Vegas. This drone promises an immersive flight experience soaring alongside the birds, selling in a pack including the drone, a remote control unit and a VR headset. This sturdy wing-shaped drone has a 115cm wingspan and is designed to optimize speed and stability in flight. It can fly at speeds of up to 80km/h (50mph) and resists winds of up to 40km/h (25mph). The pack sells for $1,299.
Fall 2016 brings no notable new devices from the firm's key rival DJI. In the first half of 2016, the Chinese manufacturer caused a sensation with its Phantom 3 Professional drone, equipped with a 4K video camera.
The Yi Erida. Credit: Businesswire
Another curiosity - freshly unveiled at the InterDrone 2016 event in Las Vegas -- is the Xiaomi YI Erida, the first consumer drone made from carbon fiber, with a 4K camera and with a top speed of 120km/h (57mph). There's no word on prices or availability for this model yet.
The Archos Drone is due out in October priced around $89. Credit: Archos
What's more, a new player has landed in the market, intent on pushing down prices. At the IFA tech show in Berlin, Archos unveiled its first drone, flying at altitudes up to 50m and at speeds of up to 25km/h (16 mph). The Archos Drone is due out in October priced around $89 (€79.99).
Finally, GoPro is gearing up to present its first drone, the Karma, September 19. The global leader in the action camera market will no doubt be keen to hit hard for its first foray into the world of UAVs.