Parrot's New Drones Target Agriculture & Construction Industries

Parrot is expanding its drone line-up to focus on the commercial industries of agriculture, construction, and public safety. Meet the Parrot Bluegrass and the Parrot Bebop Pro-Thermal.

Parrot

If you’re a regular reader of this site, chances are you’ve heard of Parrot quite a bit. I cherish my first drone experience to this day and still remember gleefully taking my Parrot Mambo above the treetops. I’ve stepped it up since then and advanced to the Bebop 2 Power, which finally provided me with the first-person flight experience I’ve always dreamed of. Parrot is certainly doing a great job of competing with leading drone manufacturer DJI when it comes to the recreational unmanned aerial vehicle market, but now it seems the company is eager to broaden its horizon to a more corporate, utilities-based arena. Parrots two new drones, the Bluegrass and the Bebop-Pro Thermal, are squarely aimed at the agriculture, construction, and public safety industries.

Clearly, the announcement of this new line-up is an indicator that Parrot isn’t just a hobbyists underdog, competing with DJI and others to offer affordable, capable consumer drones. The company wants to be seen as an all-encompassing manufacturer of UAVs, able to provide commercial businesses with the aerial tools they need to strengthen their bottom lines. 

According to DroneLife's conversation with Chris Roberts, Parrot’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, “These drones provide a bridge between our BeBop [sic] and Dicco Pro. Parrot is always pushing boundaries of innovation. With the Bebop Pro-thermal and Bluegrass, we continue our focus on vertical real-time solutions, [sic] These new drones are dedicated to three verticals: agriculture, construction, and public safety.” 

Let’s get into these two new high-tech UAVs, shall we? But first, take a look at Parrot's promotional video for the Bluegrass, before we get into its technical attributes.

Reportedly, the Parrot Bluegrass costs $5,000 and is Parrot’s first drone aimed at agriculture. It’s not just the hardware here that puts it in that category either as the Bluegrass also operates under a specifically designed software focused on agricultural tasks. Fitted with two cameras—one being a video camera, the other a multispectral sensor—the HD capabilities allow farmers a clear view of their fields, while the multispectral sensor can intelligently detect issues with the crops. The Bluegrass can reach an altitude of 230 feet and cover 30 hectares of land per battery, or fly lower and thereby map the area more precisely. It weighs 4.19 pounds (1.9 kilograms), has an onboard computing system, and an advanced multispectral sensor Parrot calls ‘Sequoia’. 

According to DroneLife, the “Parrot Bluegrass Agricultural Solution” is comprised of the above, a mobile flight planning app that includes “Pix4Dcapture,” cloud-based data processing, and a long-range version of Parrot’s Skycontroller 2. Pix4Dcapture lets farmers pick an exact area they want the drone to map, which is then all done autonomously. The full-HD, 14-megapixel images are then streamed live to the user’s tablet. The advanced Skycontroller 2 now has a range of one mile (two kilometers), which is pretty impressive.

Now, the Sequoia is where it gets really exciting. DroneLife reports that the multispectral GPS-enhanced sensor can record crop imagery in four spectral bands: green (500nm bandwidth 40nm), red (660nm bandwidth 40nm), red-Edge (735nm bandwidth 10nm), and near Infrared (790nm bandwidth 40nm). It also has a 16-megapixel RGB camera, 64 GB of internal memory, and a luminosity sensor that detects lighting conditions and adapts the collected data during processing. All of this together provides a farmer with useful data like a clear overview of the area, the biomass of the vegetation and basic health of the crops.

The Bluegrass will be available this November, at retailers or on Parrot’s website

Take a look at this impressive little primer for the Bebop Pro-Thermal before we delve deeper.

According to DroneLife, the Parrot Bebop-Pro Thermal reveals itself in the name. Based on the Bebop 2 Power, this version is equipped with full-HD video camera and a thermal camera, and intended for public safety and inspection use. You can livestream footage to your tablet, record it, and garner a complete overview of damage done to buildings, roofs, utility structures, and more. 

Controlled by Parrot’s FreeFlight Thermal app, this UAV seems extremely handy to those in charge of inspecting potentially hazardous conditions. Remember the Grenfell Tower inferno a few months back? A dedicated safety and inspection drone such as this would’ve been an immensely useful addition to the situation. 

Reportedly, the Bebop Pro-Thermal is piloted with the Skycontroller 2 here, as well, and has 32 GB of internal memory. The camera captures 14-megapixel images, with the thermal camera situated on the UAV’s back. The latter contains an RGB sensor (1440x1080p) which records what the drone can see and a thermal sensor (160x120p) that distinguishes temperature differences. This would allow professionals to get a clearer overview of how hazardous a structure’s fire is, or which areas are most compromised. Intuitively, one simply has to tap on a part of the connected tablet’s screen to get a sophisticated estimate of thermal temperate collected by the camera’s sensors.

While these two drones may not mean much to the average consumer, they are certainly an immense leap in the toolbelts of professionals. We've already seen how efficient drones can be in the wind-farming arena, as well as prospective plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. A farmer can bolster his productivity and output with the simple addition of a Parrot Bluegrass, while those in charge of saving lives, detailing a building’s structural integrity, and keeping responders out of harm’s way can securely use a Bebop Pro-Thermal. Once again, the wide spectrum of advantages from drone innovation grows larger.