Just wanted to share some progress on an iPad Ground Control Station app I've been putting together for a little while. Here's a quick introduction:

As the video shows, the (non-jailbroken) iPad is hooked up to a Digi XTend radio modem via a RedPark iPad-Serial cable and a RS232 Shifter, with the radio modem powered off a UBEC. It communicates with the APM via MAVLink just like the regular APM Mission Planner.

Have also used the iPad-Serial cable with a XBee and XBee Explorer Serial board with my other UAVs, which makes for a simpler hook-up.

Just a personal project at this stage, particularly as use of the RedPark cable limits the redistribution options available (i.e. not permitted on the App Store at present), but have a laundry list of features I'm hoping to add over time, and we'll see what happens on the device interface front - would like to make the app accessible to all if there's sufficient interest.

Thanks for reading - looking forward to any comments you might have!

Views: 30129

Comment by Michael Duffy on March 20, 2013 at 5:29am

Do you have the mavlink commands documented?  I want to use Mavlink to hook up to my ground station which is not traditional Mission Planner.



Comment by Lukas Bures on March 22, 2013 at 4:41am

could the app be made work with a bluetooth as mentioned in "http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/ten-dollar-telemetry-bluetooth-support-added-to-andropilot-thanks" without any extra hardware on the latest ipad?

Comment by Peter Bistricky on May 11, 2013 at 11:11am

Awesome! Any chance that you will make it opensource so we can contribute to this project?

Comment by Claudio Natoli on May 11, 2013 at 4:04pm

@Peter - you're already in luck: https://github.com/cnatoli/igcs - looking forward to some pull requests :-)

@Lukas, you'll find some initial bluetooth support in the aforementioned repo.

While support for the RedPark serial cable (and a couple of other options) will be retained in the open source project, the primary focus of the core team is supporting the Fighting Walrus Radio (http://www.fightingwalrus.com/) which is an out-of-the-box option for those who don't wish to hack together their own iPad->radio solution.

Comment by Jonathan Lederer on May 15, 2013 at 8:29am
@Lukas -- great idea. Hopefully developer of this fine project can allow for this great method for connectivity. I recently made myself an Ardupilot->Bluetooth->3DRadio->APM 2.5 dongle for about $15USD and it works quite well. In my opinion, this would be the best way to proceed as it would enable many potential users to cheaply adopt the necessary components to begin using this software. BRAVO TO DEVELOPER!! IT'S ABOUT TIME WE HAD A GCS FOR IOS!
Comment by Jonathan Lederer on May 17, 2013 at 1:31am
I am very impressed with what looks to be a very in-depth and well on its way project as I viewed it on GitHub. It appears you are adapting the paparazzi code and have it working well, as evidenced by the fact that I saw a sub module listed using kidvid do and ffmpegx! Please tell me that somehow you've managed to incorporate a video feed into the tablet GCS. That would be amazing sight to behold.

Now...onto my issue. I tried very hard to get the project to run. I followed the very sparse directions included in the readme file and got as far as running the line of terminal code "rake build_ffmpeg", though I'm not sure what was meant by the tip that said to follow instructions when prompted about the gas-preprocessor bit. I then loaded the project into XCode and attempted to build and/or run it, but I am stuck with 1 build error and 1 warning. Cannot figure out how to finish this process up. Must be very close, though. Please help!
Comment by CharlieNoFun on May 17, 2013 at 7:40am

@Jonathan - I was able to build and run but to get FFMpeg to compile first I had to do this.


I also updated the base SDK to iOS6 (you will get some deprecation warnings but it still works). 

Comment by Jonathan Lederer on May 18, 2013 at 2:47pm
Thanks very much I will try and post back my results. By the way, just wondering if there's any other thing to be mindful of seeing as to how my goal is to connect using the Bluetooth -> 3DRadio module I've slapped together?
Comment by Claudio Natoli on May 19, 2013 at 1:47am

@Jonathan, not sure what the relationship with the paparazzi code you're referring to, but might be something one of the other devs has contributed. Regarding the video bits, it is some experimental work we've been doing as part of the Fighting Walrus (http://www.fightingwalrus.com/) project, which in retrospect should probably be moved oustide of the trunk for now.

In any case, hope you're up and running now with the instructions Charlie provided! Please do post an issue to github if you run into any further issues. P.S At least one of the other core contributors is running with a Bluetooth -> 3DR setup.

@CharlieNoFun, thanks for jumping in with the instructions!

Comment by Jonathan Lederer on May 19, 2013 at 11:23am
Thanks for the responses, but I am getting very frustrated here. I have a lot of experience with software programming, but for some reason I am just getting a bunch of errors no matter what I try. Isn't there any way someone could send me a working binary that's already compiled for me to just run and that would just work? I mean, have tried all the instructions over and over again with no success. Ahhhhh!


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