3D Robotics

As Gary Mortimer noted, the forthcoming Parrot AR.Drone GPS add-on, which was announced at CES, supports MAVLink and can work with QGroundControl and the APM Mission Planner. I talked to Parrot at CES, and it sounds like they're going to leave autonomy to hackers and third-parties; the official AR.Drone software will support GPS datalogging, but not control, itself. They also haven't announced a price or release date for the GPS/datalogging module yet.

But for us in the MAVLink world, this is great news. There are now 500,000 AR.Drones out there, and the possibility for them to become real drones, with autonomy, could lead to a huge surge of people getting into amateur UAVs.

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  • This is good. Should bring more people keen to develop for Mavlink into the community who have only so far been exposed to the AR Drone.

  • Moderator

    They might not be very capable now but my word they make the entire experience simple. With a registered user base of 30k people on their site and as Chris as said 500k sold they have trained lots of people the AR way. If I was a GIS company and I could buy a $300 unit to train my guys and then move upto say a $1500 unit from the same company that operates in the same way I would be happy.

    Most people here know my day job for the last 25 years has been flying passengers in hot air balloons. This has hardened me to waiting for weather to be able to fly. I don't see the light wind thing as a restriction.

    In fact again if I had a GIS company I would put a wind limit of 10 knots surface on my operators as experience has shown me often you can have 25-35 knots at 500' and you don't know it on the ground. I often wonder if that's a flyaway contributer.

    Lets face it a quad is just 2 sticks with some motors attached. Very much like the world of RC cars or helicopters where people just add bling or buy bling. The RC trade love them because people up grade them with expensive after market bits. That does not tend to happen with aircraft. The work created by platforms is what will make some stand out from the crowd. Whoever makes the easiest workflow will win.

    Tin foil hat and flame proof suit fitted.

  • They made it more like a consumer electronics items. Not as a drone

  • The AR Drone is an over-engineered piece of trash. The designers, for whatever reason, opted to place the sonar pointing upwards to act as a "ceiling detector" and a downwards facing camera to monitor altitude (WTF?). When taken outside, the parrot's firmware will sometimes glitch, and the parrot will suddenly think its indoors, and will shoot skyward in search of the ceiling. After a few seconds it will timeout and change to hover mode, but by then it's 150 feet up, so it floats away on the wind. Leave it to the French to use their customers as Beta Testers :\

  • Yeah, I don't really get it.  So many people hacking on these things, but from what I've seen, they're not very capable outdoors anyway?  Even 20 km/h gusts can blow it away.

  • Four jigs? Is that one for each motor? (I know, it was a cheap shot...)

  • They still need to work on quality of the drone and make it so you can add a radio, like a real one, not a phone, without hacking.

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