A new android phone based drone controller is coming!


Hello! I am Henry from Feibot team, a flight controller group interesting in smart-phone-based flight controllers for drones. We made it true as a validation experiment six months ago, and truer as a real flight controller now.

We name it Feibot. It is an android phone based flight controller for drones, which consists of two parts, an app installed on the phone and an expansion board named “N1” connected. Feibot app is the core of the controller, which is in charge of sensor data acquisition and processing, algorithm solving and all the other superior tasks. The N1 board only manages the transmission of directives.

Smart phones has a variety of built-in sensors, such as gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, GPS and barometers. Apart from the sensors, they have many other features that a traditional flight controller can hardly have, such as HD cameras, 4G/5G networks, touch screens, excellent extensibility for Apps and devices, as well as remarkable multi-tasking computing capability.

These features bring many probabilities for drones. Feibot can control the phones’ front and rear cameras to take photos and videos, and you can switch photo/video state and alter the camera choice easily during the flying. You can also define images and words on the screen, as you fly the drone to the balcony of your girl to express your love. By the 4G/5G network, Feibot can transmit the real-time images from by the drone to not only the eyes of yourself, but everyone at every corner around the world.

Feibot supports multiple input modes, such as PWM, PPM and S-BUS. It also supports multiple phone mounting ways. If you want to take images during flight, a drone-frame similar to the one shown in our video maybe needed, which allows the phone to be mounted vertically. Still, you can fly drones of traditional configurations, although the phone could only be mounted in a horizontal way. Both four-rotor and six-rotor multi-copters are supported.

The most impressive facet of Feibot is that, it’s so interface friendly, that you don’t have to tackle with the preparation before the flying very hardly as you might experience when you are to play with a traditional controller. By the simple and direct interactions between you and a phone, you can handle everything so easily.

This is Feibot. And we are the Feibot team, on our way, never stops. Hope you enjoy!

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  • Hi Feibot team, I was unable to find any website or details of the code/software or any cost of the app. If you are not able to popularise it as per your expectations, can I request you to open-source it? I had tried this myself way back in 2015. But, from what I know, Java is not real-time (Kotlin hadn't come back then) and JNI is very complicated for C/C++. Instead, I chose Android + Ardupilot. Your project would be very beneficial to people like us if you could open-source it.

  • I am also attaching a smartphone to the copter for my project (Flightzoomer) but for a different purpose (telemetry and control over E/3G/4G). I initially also solely relied on the phones sensor suite but have learned meanwhile by experience that the overall reliability and consistent provision of very accurate sensor data is hard to achieve (if not impossible). I therefore would have some doubts that controlling the copter will work as consistently and as nicely as expected. I meanwhile have mated the flight controller with the phone via MAVLink and am enjoying completely new realms of data quality. Of course the touchscreen enables UI capabilities unseen on any other proprietary hardware/system/setup...

  • Great Idea Henry! the only matter is that I will not be able to answer call, sms, whatsapp etc. while my android smart phone is controlling my quad/plane :-D...LOL A tablet might be can just download apps maybe to turn it into autopilot board.   

  • To Roy Chiang: very glad to know that we have the same idea. In my point of view, 4G is becoming cheap, and eventually people can afford in this application.

  • And in this application, we do not expect user to buy a smart phone, just used the ones they have. People buy new android phone for every year, and they cost nothing to put an old phone on a drone.

  • To earthpatrol: actually the smartphone is protected by the drone frame and with the phone shell, it is very low possibility to be damaged in a drone crash. 

  • actually, we are doing same things. an used Android smartphone is quite cheaper than other flight controllers since sensors, wifi/bt, 4G would cost you a lot.

  • Would be interested to see how well an android smart phone fairs in repeated mutlirotor crashes. It seems like a smart phone might be too fragile for this application. All the benefits of that nice display are for naught once it is cracked/destroyed. Have you collected any data related to damage risk for, what is usually, a fairly expensive device? 

  • how far along are you guys?

  • Finally! I love it. keep up the progress.

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