Last week I met in London with Pascal Perrin, Parrot’s Head of Global Consumer Product Marketing, and the French firm’s International PR Manager, Fabien Laxague. They have been on the town to demo Parrot’s newest drone: the 4K-shooting, insect-inspired ANAFI.
I arrived with a lot of questions and an open thoughts. Parrot’s made some attention-grabbing strikes in current instances. I had wrongly assumed that adapting the Bebop 2 and Disco drones for enterprise use was an indication of issues to return, that the corporate was transferring the best way of 3DR and shifting completely into the business drone market. Plus, it had been some time because the French producer launched one thing to compete instantly with DJI.
However, after seeing the ANAFI in motion up shut and working by means of its many distinctive options, I left satisfied that this little drone has what it takes to shake up the buyer market.
DroneLife additionally has a unit to assessment, so look out for that within the close to future.
In the meantime, we thought it might be attention-grabbing to publish some of our dialog with the fellows from Parrot. In specific, each Perrin and Laxague had some attention-grabbing issues to say concerning the ANAFI’s lack of impediment avoidance: a function that has change into customary throughout the DJI vary of drones lately.
For many – together with us on the day of the product launch – it was a notable absence from Parrot’s newest drone. But the fellows defined why possibly it’s not such an enormous deal in spite of everything.
Why Doesn’t the Parrot ANAFI have impediment detection / collision avoidance?
I requested the fellows from Parrot concerning the considering behind this omission. Since DJI is the corporate’s predominant competitor within the shopper area, and the brand new(ish) Mavic Air – arguably the closest direct rival to the ANAFI – has a bunch of impediment avoidance tech, it looks as if it might be a dealbreaker for consumers.
So was it about retaining the drone’s weight down, retaining the value low, or retaining the drone as compact as attainable?
“It’s about the consumer,” Fabien informed me.
“We spent a lot of time listening to consumers to understand their priorities, how they want to use the drone and what they are looking for. And so the priorities with ANAFI were flight time, portability and the camera,” mentioned Perrin.
Juggling this stuff was, understandably, a fragile balancing act. “To have something so small, so lightweight and with a 25 minute flight time, we needed to make a choice.”
Beyond the Practicalities: Does Collision Avoidance Make Pilots Complacent?
So sure, it’s true that Parrot would have needed to sacrifice some of the ANAFI’s finest options to seek out area for impediment detection know-how. But the corporate additionally believes that its prospects received’t see that omission as an enormous deal. A vastly spectacular 25 minute flight time, wonderful portability and an excellent digicam add as much as a compelling proposition, it doesn’t matter what the protection options.
But past these sensible elements, there additionally appears to be a philosophical distinction between Parrot and, say, DJI.
The guys from Parrot have been eager to emphasize that flying with Parrot is about taking duty to your drone and being centered always.
“We want to have consumers that are responsible for their flights,” mentioned Parrot’s International PR Manager, Fabien Laxague.
“This is key: we don’t want people flying everywhere” – right here he makes some wild/loopy gestures along with his palms… you get the purpose.
“We want pilots to be focused on their flight all the time and comply with the law. We encourage our pilots to be aware of their environment. We release a lot of videos and tutorials to explain how to fly,” he continued.
When beginning up the ANAFI for the primary time, customers are additionally taken by means of a fast information to flying safely and controlling the drone. So we shouldn’t see any of these tragic movies through which new drones are unboxed for the primary time and crashed straight into the Christmas tree.
“This is the main part of the story. If people are learning to fly correctly, they will do that all of the time.”
The implication right here is that impediment detection methods in shopper drones could also be making a technology of drone pilots who’re extra complacent behind the controls than they need to be – that they’re too comfy. Understandably, the fellows from Parrot didn’t need to touch upon that both means.
But Laxague did say, “You can’t rely on the technology all of the time.”
It’s definitely an attention-grabbing means of taking a look at issues. Maybe automated impediment avoidance does create complacent pilots who don’t fly as rigorously as they need to. And possibly it does cease us from making the type of errors that we are able to study from.
However, the underside line is that it additionally prevents accidents. Whether you’re an expert pilot, a complacent one or a mix of the 2, a system that has your again is invaluable.
Ultimately, impediment avoidance methods in shopper drones are about making costly know-how idiot-proof. Exceptional circumstances apart, any accountable pilot shouldn’t must depend on them to forestall an accident. So certain, you’ll be able to’t be an fool when you’re flying Parrot’s new ANAFI. But possibly that’s not such a nasty factor.
Look out for our ANAFI assessment within the subsequent couple of weeks.
Malek Murison is a contract author and editor with a ardour for tech tendencies and innovation. He handles product opinions, main releases and retains a watch on the fanatic marketplace for DroneLife.