Parrot revamps consumer drones for commercial market
French tech company Parrot has revamped two of its recreational drones and launched several new packages to appeal to commercial pilots and small businesses.
Parrot, a company most commonly associated with consumer tech, has taken flight towards its goal of catering to the commercial drone industry. Two of its photography drones, the Disco and the Bebop 2, can now be bought in packages dedicated to mapping and inspection, for use cases in the construction and agriculture sectors.
As well as repurposing two of its popular consumer drones, Parrot’s commercial packages will come with the sensors, software and cloud support required to bring value to businesses right off the shelf.
Parrot’s investments come together
The move represents a milestone for a company that has been expanding into the commercial drone industry since 2012. Parrot, which includes smart plant pots and speakers among its consumer products, has slowly increased stakes and acquisitions in drone industry startups Airinov, MicaSense, Pix4D and senseFly.
The result of that process is the newly launched range of solutions that make transformative drone technology accessible to professionals in construction, real estate and architecture, as well as projects in humanitarian, environmental and mining industries.
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Consumer friendly, commercially capable
As well as coming with proven commercial software and cloud support, Parrot’s new drone packages offer accessibility and ease of use. The fixed-wing Disco (above) is a $ 1,000 drone that is launched with a throw, can fly independently for 45 minutes on a preset route and can land at the touch of a button.
Armed with an analytics program and two new sensors – the multispectral Sequoia and the MicaSense RedEdge – Disco pilots can now assess crop health from above with ease.
The Bebop 2, a popular consumer drone released in 2015, has been refitted to offer aerial modelling and thermal imaging. These two packages can be used for accurate site plans in construction and real estate and infrastructure inspections respectively.
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Parrot move reflects industry trend
The ride hasn’t been without its bumps along the way. At the start of the year, Parrot announced that it was making cuts to its drone division after recording lower sales than expected for its consumer products. Other manufacturers in the industry have had to make similar decisions, including GoPro, 3D Robotics, Ehang and Yuneec.
This is partly down to the domination of Chinese manufacturer DJI, which far outsells all of its rivals combined. But there’s also evidence that the commercial sector is potentially far more lucrative, which has led nearly all consumer companies to pivot and think about appealing to professionals, too.
Parrot’s latest move is a sign that there’s still life in a company that has struggled to compete in the consumer market. Smart investments and acquisitions mean it can now have something of a re-launch, offering end-to-end commercial packages that are affordable and easy to use for small businesses and professionals.
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