HomeParrot Releases New Consumer Drone and Targets €270-300M Fundraising

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French maker of consumer drones Parrot has unveiled last week their new $549 (€549) leisure drone, the Bebop 2.

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The new device comes with a largely improved flying time of 25 minutes thanks to a complete redesign of the system (which now weights only 500 gr) and a rechargeable, 2700 mAh lithium-ion battery).

The drone can fly up to 37 mph (60 km/h) and reach an altitude of 100 m (328 feet) in less than 20 seconds.Bebop 2 embeds a 14 megapixel fish-eye camera that is stabilized by software. For this new drone the manufacturer selected the latest generation of u-blox GPS chipset that is coupled with a large ceramic antenna.

Like previous Parrot drones, the device is piloted through a smartphone or a tablet using Wi-Fi. The range of the drone can be extended with an optional device called Skycontroller which has a joystick, a cradle for a tablet and a large Wi-Fi antenna providing an extended flight range, up to 2 kms.

But even without the Skycontroller, Bebop 2 can fly quite far using an autonomous mode. In this case the user set a path on the map on his tablet (it requires internet connection to download the aerial imagery from Google Maps or Apple Maps), then the drone flies through waypoints previously marked on the map.GPS Business News spoke with Arsène Ferrand, project manager for the Bebop 2. Watch the interview and the Bebop 2 demonstration below:

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€270 to €300 million fund raising
In addition to doing nice videos and aerial pictures, the drone can also capture imagery to build 3D models thanks to an upcoming integration with 3D modeling software Pix4D.Parrot is a shareholder in Pix4D, a Swiss startup where they invested 2.4 million Swiss francs (US$ 2.35 million) in 2012. The company also invested in Airinov (agriculture), Sensefly (fixed wing professional drone), MicaSense (sensor for agriculture drones) and Iconem (3D modeling of Archeological sites) four other B2B drone startups.

Parrot, a public company listed of the Paris stock exchange, generated €83 million from drone sales last year. In the third quarter of 2015, the company recorded €44.4 million revenue in sales from its drone unit (87% in B2C, 13% in professional drones), up 60% from the same period last year.

In total the company targets a turnover of 324 million in 2015.Last week Parrot also confirmed their intention to raise €270 to €300 million in a public offering limited to the French market.

French public bank BPI is confirmed to invest €33 million, taking 5 percent of the capital, while Parrot founder and CEO Henri Seydoux will invest €90 million to maintain his ownership at around 36 percent.This fundraising will help Parrot to continue their investment in drone technologies in a fast growing and competitive market.

As anexample its chinese competitor DJI was estimated to have a turnover of $500 million in 2014.Furthermore, action camera specialist GoPro has confirmed they will launch a flying cam before the end of 2016, a direct threat to Parrot from a company with a very strong marketing power.