Parrot AR Drone gets GPS, new battery, and video software

The iPad-controlled machine might be less prone to crashing if you use Parrot's new GPS add-on

Jason Jenkins
Jason Jenkins Director of content / EMEA
Jason Jenkins is the director of content for CNET in EMEA. Based in London, he has been writing about technology since 1999 and was once thrown out of Regent's Park for testing the UK's first Segway.

The Parrot AR Drone takes a spin at CES Unveiled. Josh Miller/CNET

LAS VEGAS--No CES can start without a mention of the Parrot AR Drone, the expensive flying machine you control with an iPad. I've managed to crash and break it pretty much every time I've tried to use one, and perhaps it was people like me Parrot had in mind when it came up with its new GPS add-on.

Plug it into the USB port underneath the main cover, and you can set up a flight plan using open-source software. The AR Drone will then fly the route itself without the need for human intervention.

If you'd rather fly the contraption yourself, the GPS widget has 4GB of memory on board, which it uses to store the coordinates of where it's been flying. Once back at base, you can download information to your computer via Wi-Fi and make a map of where it's been. If that's your thing, you'll also like Parrot's just-announced new battery, which lasts 50 percent longer than the old one.

Parrot also showed off a new version of the app you use to shoot video from the AR Drone's camera, which adds four new traveling commands and a bunch of ways to improve the video after you've shot it, such as lens correction and stabilization.

The new iPad app for Parrot's AR Drone adds extra functions when shooting video. Jason Jenkins