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AR.Drone 2.0

The successor to the original drone, the AR.Drone 2.0 was unveiled at CES Las Vegas 2012. Rather than redesigning the product, improvements were made to its functionality, along with developing a larger ecosystem to support pilots. The equipment on board AR.Drone 2.0 was significantly upgraded to improve the drone's function. The camera quality was increased, and many of the onboard sensors were made more sensitive, allowing for greater control. The ultrasound altimeter was enhanced with the addition of an air pressure sensor, allowing for more stable flight and hovering. The resources available to the onboard computer were also improved, and the Wi-Fi hardware was updated to a newer standard. Other sensor improvements upgraded the gyroscope to a 3-axis version, along with a 3-axis accelerometer and magnetometer.

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Airframe

Inside the airframe, a range of sensors assist flight, enabling the interface used by pilots to be simpler, and making advanced flight easier. The onboard computer runs a Linux operating system, and communicates with the pilot through a self-generated Wi-Fi hotspot. The onboard sensors include an ultrasonic altimeter, which is used to provide vertical stabilisation up to 6 m (19 ft 8 in). The rotors are powered by 15 watt, brushless motors powered by an 11.1 Volt lithium polymer battery. This provides approximately 12 minutes of flight time at a speed of 5 m/s (11 mph).

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Third-Party Uses

In France, the AR.Drone 2.0 was tested by a Special Operations unit for aerial reconnaissance, whilst other companies have been developing software that allows the drone to track sports activities, and generate training feedback. An AR.Drone was used by Tim Pool during the Occupy Wall Street protest, running modified software that allowed it to stream directly to an internet channel. He theorised that a chain of command could be set up, where multiple people could step up and take control should the primary operator be detained by police. To further this, he began development of a new control system, replacing the existing Wi-Fi hotspot with a 3G chip. This would allow users to control drones via the internet, and potentially from remote locations.

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