At last year's CES we saw the Parrot AR.Drone 2 for the first time, and today the company has announced that they're giving the remote-controlled quadrocopter its very own black box. The Flight Recorder comes in the form of an orange add-on about the size of a Zippo lighter that plugs directly into the USB port on the bottom of the AR.Drone 2, and it's equipped with a GPS receiver and 4GB of memory. With a new updated app for the quadrocopter, the GPS unit allows you to see exactly where you sent your drone off to on a map.
In addition, there are third-party programs like cQGroundControl (not for the faint of heart) that can be used to map out and pre-program a flight plan using GPS data. Unfortunately, Parrot has decided not to develop their own app with this functionality. Parrot is, however, developing a new "director mode" for its app, which allows users to pre-plan maneuvers. It's designed for those shooting video with the AR.Drone — images can get a bit wobbly when using the standard gyroscopic iPad controls. In that same vein, Parrot has added image stabilization and lens correction profiles into its software, and there are also new options for controlling white balance and exposure. Lastly, the company has announced a replacement 1500 mAh battery pack that promises to bump flight time from 12 minutes to 18. There's no pricing information on either the battery or the flight recorder, but we're told that both will launch "very soon."