Parrot has taken the wraps off two new drones at CES 2014 – the Jumping Sumo, a leaping, wheeled robot, and the pocket-sized MiniDrone flyer.
The Jumping Sumo's stand-out party trick is its ability to leap up to 80cm using a spring-loaded mechanism - Parrot claims that it always lands on its wheels, and the demo units on the stand managed accurate hops onto a platform nine times out of ten.
Yes, it is every bit as cool as it sounds.
Controlling the Sumo
The Sumo's controlled using a tablet or smartphone app; tilting the tablet steers the robot, while a slider controls forward and backwards movement. A quick swipe makes an instant 90-degree turn - the Sumo's inbuilt gyroscope and accelerometer ensures that it's remarkably accurate – while a separate buttons lets you control the length and height of jumps. There are also preset stunts, including a rapid spin mode.
Point of view visuals are provided by a VGA camera, while there's also a micro USB port for charging; an hour of charging will give you around 20 minutes of play.
We saw the Sumo running through a pre-programmed route, hopping up to a platform, spinning at amazing speed and then hopping again through a small basketball hoop.
The Parrot MiniDrone is a pint-sized version of its AR.Drone. Unlike its bigger sibling, the MiniDrone doesn't feature a camera to keep the weight down – but you can clip on a pair of lightweight wheels that let it roll along the ground.
The MiniDrone connects to a smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth LE; the app lets you control altitude and steer using a joystick, while tilting your controller alters pitch and yaw. A gyroscope, accelerometer and barometer keep the MiniDrone astonishingly stable; take your hands off the controls and it rests in a hover, and it's able to quickly right itself after being nudged.
Battery life for the MiniDrone is considerably shorter, with an hour's charge yielding eight minutes of playtime.
Pricing and availability for the Jumping Sumo and MiniDrone are under wraps for the time being, with both due in 2014.