The whole thing about drones is that they are by definition a bit, er, remote. So folks who don't have Royal Air Force-level training generally don't get to test them out. That being said the AR.Drone from Parrot offers a pretty close simulation for all of us who aren't ready to enlist just yet.
The AR.Drone is an actual miniature helicopter that you operate via Wi-Fi on mobile device of choice. Now compatible with the iPhone, iPad, OS Android™ Smartphones, bada (Samsung) and Symbian (Nokia), the AR.Drone gives you the chance to customize your flying experience. Create your own circuts, zip through the skies, zoom through various obstacles and try to defy the clock with AR.Race—a customizable single or multi-player racing game free on iTunes.
Parrot has also recently announced AR.Drone Challenges, an international competition where wannabe flyers from all over the world can test their aerial skills and battle each other to become the top AR.Drone pilot. The best of the best will be competing this October in the grand final in Paris.
Check out the video above to see the AR.Drone in flight running for the first time (at E3 2011) the Android piloting app, and head to Facebook to get news on all the action.