Android Ground Controller, alpha release


Hi ya'll,

So I started off by writing some software to have an arduplane fly in formation with a human piloted hang-glider.   I still plan to finish this project, but I noticed there was a lack of an Android ground controller for Mavlink/Arduplane.  Since much of the code I was writing for my formation flying project was in Scala, it was pretty easy for me to make it into a ground controller for Android.  Most of the work was in getting USB host mode to work talking to the FTDI part in the 3dr telemetry module.

I've just completed a very early alpha release.  The code is up on github.  You'll need a phone/tablet running Android 3.1 or later with USB host mode support - most 'high end' phones have this feature.  

You'll also need one of these (or similar):

The initial release just provides a basic map,mode display/control, and mavlink log capture.  This early version is up on the Google Play Store as a free application.  If you have success running it, please post here.  If you find failure and tragedy, please post a bug on github (and mention it here if you wish). 

For the latest updates on this fast changing project or to comment, please see the following thread. (No blog moderation delay)


Above is a (crummy photo) of it talking to my Bixler in my living room...

And a screenshot...


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  • This looks to be a great tool!  I'm very interested in purchasing an inexpensive Android device to run this on. Any suggestions for a device that would work well with this app yet cost under $200?  I don't mind buying a used one if needed. Thanks for your work on this app!

  • Hi Kevin.

    I'll join in on the discussion thread. 

    Thanks for the opportunity and for sharing. 

    Awesome-very impressive work you're doing on this.

    Best regards.


  • Also later, support for tablet movement instead of the virtual  tx sticks (left and right) may also be a selectable option complemented with switches and sliders (movement sensitivity, trim etc)  so one can have the screen real-estate split of  20% for the switches (can be radio buttons) and sliders ( sort of colored progressive bars) and 80% FPV/OSD whenever control by tablet movement is turned (tapped) on.

  • Developer

    no problem.  Most of those features are already added.  Please join us on the discussion thread (see link at top of post)

  • In addition, lower half can also be switchable between virtual tx and GCS so one can have GCS on the lower half and FPV/OSD on the upper.

    Just some additional thoughts.

    All the best.

  • In addition to my APM2.4, I also often fly with a UDB4 loaded with a my customized LOGO script allowing me to fly multiple flight plan and control its patterns, waypoints and its dimensions and attributes from 3 switches/knob of my TX. Instead of a goggle, I also have a 7 inch high res monitor on top of my TX for FPV with OSD. Now that I'm used to this, I find it hard to fly otherwise. ...just a question of developing the habit.

    So I can imagine having the same scenario on a 10.5" tablet or ts laptop (ios, android, win, linux, etc flavor), and to simplify, with APM, lower half can be the virtual TX (with switches and sliders), and the upper half can be switched-tapped (user setup 1x or 2x) between FPV/OSD or GCS.

    Also voice command may be added for easy use (included those challenged) so one can go: "go home and loiter" or "go home, loiter twice and land" or "speed up by 5 (mph)" or "go to waypoint #x" and so on..

    This would be awesome and I think would move APM miles ahead!

    Just my .02.All the best.

  • I think it's a bit of a stretch to do all that, even on a 10" tablet.  IMO, if you want to do that, use a proper laptop.  Trying to put FPV, and a map or GCS on a single screen, with, touchscreen soft-joysticks?  That's a lot.  It's too much for a human to deal with, let alone the program.  IMO.

  • Developer

    Yes - adding something like this would be pretty easy.

  • Concept:  An all in one GCS, i.e., any interest in adding a "virtual transmitter" set of functionality... realtime fly-by-wire control from your laptop, tablet or smart phone, via wifi, merging fpv, OSD, GCS and "vitual transmitter".  

  • Developer

    btw - please follow up in this thread:

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