The Paris-based company Parrot is one of six companies selected by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop small, short-range reconnaissance aircraft for use by soldiers on the battlefield. The other five companies are Skydio, Altavian, Teal Drones, Vantage Robotics, and Lumenier- all these are U.S. based companies. The work will take place under a government contract.
A French drone maker Parrot is a long time competitor to Chinese drone company DJI. A number of consumer drones have been created by the parrot, but has largely been eclipsed by DJI, Chinese drone maker, which has a little controversial history with the US government. DJI is not one of the six companies to create a military drone prototype.
The Short Range Reconnaissance (SRR) effort has recently awarded $11 million in funding which will be then shared among the six companies to help them prototype their individual drones to provide the soldiers with an effective way of creating awareness about the situation on the war zone.
As per the contract guidelines, the drones would be expected to fly for 30 minutes straight on a single charge, at a range of up to three kilometers. In addition, the remotely controlled drones should weigh no more than three pounds, take less than two minutes to assemble, and fit inside a soldier’s standard-issue backpack.
Well, it seems like Parrot already has an aircraft pretty much ready to go with its 2018 Anafi quadcopter. It offers 4K video and 21-megapixel stills, can fly for 25 minutes on a single charge and has a range of more than 2 miles. Additionally, it weighs just 0.71 pounds and folds away into a small case, too.
“Parrot is proud to have been selected by the Army to work on this highly strategic project,” said Henri Seydoux, founder and CEO of Parrot. “The United States has always been a major market for the Parrot Group whether it is for our well-known consumer range or our advanced professional offering. We have always been at the forefront creating advanced, easy to use, compact and reliable drone-based solutions.”
“We also perfectly understand how small unmanned aircraft, such as the Parrot ANAFI platform, has the potential to become a key part of the defense system. We look forward to focusing our advanced R&D on meeting the high standards set by the U.S. Army, to integrate drone efficiency in their day to day operations and support the world-leading army defense system.“