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Parrot exits low-end drone market to focus on its Anafi quadcopter

Trevor Mogg
Parrot is exiting the low-end drone market to focus on developing its more advanced Anafi drone for the commercial market. The company recently won a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a drone for use in combat.

Competitively priced drones such as Parrot’s Bebop and Mambo devices offer budget-conscious buyers an easy way to dip their toes into the world of quadcopters before deciding whether to move on to a pricier, more sophisticated machine such as one of DJI’s Mavic drones.

But it seems the French firm is now phasing out the Mambo, Swing, and Bebop drones as it continues to pivot away from consumer-focused flying machines and focus instead on the commercial market with its more advanced Anafi quadcopter.

Tech site Wirecutter learned in recent days that Parrot is now in the process of shifting away from the consumer drone market, with The Verge receiving additional confirmation from the company that it has “stopped the production and development of any drone but the Anafi and its variations.”

Competing with drone giant DJI has seemingly proved too much for Parrot, with the Chinese company enjoying a 74% share of the market, according to the 2018 Drone Market Sector Report by Skylogic Research. The figure sounds even more impressive when you consider that the second-placed company, Yuneec, only has 8% of the market, with Parrot further down the list with a mere 1%.

Parrot has been developing its commercial drone business for a while now, with the advanced Anafi machine garnering it some positive attention since its launch in 2018.

For example, the Anafi almost certainly helped it to win a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense in May 2019 that will see Parrot, along with five other companies, develop small, short-range reconnaissance aircraft for use by soldiers on the battlefield. An $11 million fund will be shared among the selected companies to help them prototype their own individual drone designs aimed at giving soldiers greater situational awareness on the battlefield.

It seems that Parrot will base the design of its Department of Defense machine on that of the Anafi. The quadcopter 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. It weighs only 0.71 pounds and can fold away into a small case for easy transportation. The company recently released a version sporting a thermal-imaging camera, a feature that would certainly come in useful on the battlefield.

We’ve reached out to Parrot for more information on its reported intention to focus its efforts entirely on the Anafi drone and will update this piece if we hear back.

Parrot’s low-price consumer drones may be about to disappear from view, but there are still plenty of alternatives if you’re looking to buy your very first device and want to start with a basic model — check out Digital Trends’ guide showing the best machines costing less than $500, as well as those for less than $100.