iPad Ground Control Station

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!

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  • @Magnus, there's no difference here to what's required for iKopter.

    I'm using a RedPark serial cable, which is one way to use iKopter (other ways involve jailbreak and/or bluetooth, Wi.232, dock connector breakout and logic-level convertors etc).

  • hi, little question. is it so hard to get ardupilot to ipad? have used mikrokopter before and they have a program called ikopter, this program uses a Xbee connected to the ipad through the connection port, the program has everything you need?
  • Claudio, I have a redpark cable and active apple dev account. I'd be happy to field test for you :) use testflight frequently etc... 

  • Cool work you have done. Nice app. Hope you will make it availible for download. It only will be difficult to get it into the Apple App-Store because of RedPark-Cable. A custom-build cable by RedPark will be too expensive. So I think developer only ca paticipate of your work. Bluetooth connection would be a sollution to get into the App-Store. I am sure it would be downloaded often. 

  • I am very interested in how this comes out. Very interested in a non jail-braked version.

  • @Thomas, pet project/closed source (for now), but perhaps drop me a PM; could perhaps TestFlight you a copy since you've got the requisite gear already.

    @Hugo, did something similar with a WiFly for a (custom) project mentioned in my earlier post. Good to know that would pass the App Store guidelines.

  • I totally agree but unfortunately the wifi is the only solution for the application can be distributed on the AppleStore...

  • @Hugo K
    Wifi would add extra interference in 2.4ghz band that is probably being used by many users for either control link or video link.
    Bluetooth however is in the same band but much weaker signal so poses less risk for interference.

    I think the idea is to not have to buy extra hardware anyhow so a bluetooth link would probably be the most sensible route without buying hardware.  If buying hardware should be required I dont think putting extra RF bands in is necessary (aka, just use a iPad serial link and not rs232->Wifi->TCP/IP link)

  • Hi, nice work.

    If you want to share the app via the app store, I recommand you to use a wirless connection via TCP/IP. I have two app on the store which use this protocol.

    To stream the data via wifi you can use your PC via a Python scritp for exemple, or if you want to use the incoming data on the PC at the same time, you can use a free sofware like VSPE that can duplicate a com port and make a TCP server clone.

     If you want to bypass the computer, you can build a RS232 to Wifi module whith a wifly (I have done this) or buy something like this one: http://www.vscom.de/685.htm


    I hope to hear from you soon.



  • +1 Thomas!

    Brilliant work :-)

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