iOS Ground Station

I'll be up front, this post is in part self promotion but also in part seeking feedback. My startup is building an iOS app, several to be precise for programming and ground control of a pixhawk/apm based multicopter. We are building our own multicopter as well but the app and communication device will be made available to anyone owning the appropriate flight controller. 

Anyhow, I wanted to get your feedback on the app as seen in this video, is this something that interests anyone here? If I were to write the perfect app for you, what would that look like? What features would it have?

Obviously the app will not transfer your video to the camera roll without the appropriate camera.

Here is the URL incase the embed does not work https://youtu.be/L3wcH-3hLwg

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  • The concept is great and simple. Some remarks:

    • It is not shown on the display (or not shown) what the path is that the drone uses to fly back home. Does it go straight back?
    • In the example, you can basically start click anywhere, it's not the starting position of the drone. How does the drone move from the actual location to the starting point?
    • You click on a button "done", but you're just going to the "next" part in the process. Why not rename the button to "next" so it's clear to the user something else is required?
    • Also, inconsistently, you then press on a button that is now suddenly called "set altitude", whereas in the video it makes it appear as if that command actually causes the drone to take off? 

    If the last step actually causes a "launch" event, then this can definitely surprise the user. My intuitive expectation is that I can plan any flight without actually taking off, so I can play around with planning the flight, change my mind, etc.

    So a "launch" button in the middle of the screen could be a better choice (put a rocket icon next to that perhaps?) . This gives people time to review the flight, align expectations, explain what's being done, answer final questions and if they see they actually did make an error, "start over" to effectively cancel or replan it immediately.

    Go out on the street and show the app to people without experience. They probably give you the best feedback. Record them if you can, so you can review what surprised, concerned and confused them.

    • Gerard, Great feedback thank you! Yes it is straight back. It's not visualized in the app yet but it is being added so you see it. The start position is visualized with a marker but not seen in this video. The next button is great feedback! Yes there is a launch button. We faded away from the app prior to you seeing it. The drone does not take off until the launch button is pressed and you can restart the plan at any point with the "start over" button

      Again great feedback thank you!

  • I'd be interested in this.  It'd be nice to have an iOS GCS that works with the 3dr radio's and APM/Pixhawk.  I have a bluetooth bridge hooked up to one of my radios and it works with some android apps, it'd be nice to see it work with an iOS app some day.

    • Fortunately the app works now, and was actually used to get those shots in the video. The app will be free but our specific bridge will have a cost. We are building a custom bridge because we want a higher bandwidth radio to later add streaming video capabilities. We have some future app designs that I think will be great, some will be easy like this one and some will provide a little more control of things.  We'll keep you notified.

      Edit: Sorry it is a custom bridge with a higher bandwidth radio. 

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