Parrot AR.Drone app removed from Apple App Store due to patent issues

From sUASNews:

French manufacturers of the worlds most popular UA have plainly run into problems.

They issued a statement yesterday:-

AR.Freeflight 2.2 was removed from iTunes last month due to the need for patents’ clarification on accelerometer and absolute control.In the meantime, we have enriched AR.Race2  App (version 2.2) with a free piloting mode in order for our customers using iOS devices to continue enjoying flying the AR.Drone.We’ll keep you updated.Sincerely,Parrot Team

Its not noted if the patent issue affects the Android version of its software which was behind its iOS version anyway. Back in 2010 I thought that Apples TOS 4.2  changes might push the platform towards Android.


Tablet control and flight following for several Open Source autopilots is now a reality. OpenpilotTau Labs  andArdupilot all have working examples. Last week I started flying with free app, Andropilot created by Kevin Hester of Geeksville Industries.

The simplicity of set up was quite amazing. The app saw my3DR radios immediately, never has getting telemetry to work been so straightforward. Increased situational awareness always welcome. A voice tells me what mode I have selected on my standard RC controller and a HUD and moving map let me see what’s happening.

My sons fly our AR.Drone very well tilting the tablet, but my head is firmly stuck in the dark ages and prefers the position feedback that sticks bring to thumbs. But that’s just me, if you have known no other way then it will not be an issue.  In a couple of years time I don’t believe anyone will be left flying UAS with conventional RC gear when the smartphone in their pocket will be able to cope.

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Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 10, 2013 at 10:16am

What exactly are the patent issues?  It seems strange and vague.  I agree with Gary that maybe this has more to do with Apple's TOS 4.2.  It seems like Apple very clearly doesn't want people flying UAV's with their devices.

Comment by Josh Potter on April 10, 2013 at 10:24am

I'm happy to see the trend of people moving away from apple now that android has proven itself as the better platform for applications.   

Comment by Gary Mortimer on April 10, 2013 at 10:34am

I have been trying to find out exactly what the issue is all day. I bet Mr A would get a straight answer! If its connected with using tilt control rather than the OS there might be issues for Android as well.

The picture I choose was better....

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 10, 2013 at 10:39am

Yes Gary, that one never gets old.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 10, 2013 at 10:40am

If this is related to TOS 4.2, won't that also affect any attempts to get an APM GCS running on Apple too?  Click and Fly is "dispatch".

Comment by Gary McCray on April 10, 2013 at 11:08am

This move is so Apple and so Steve Jobs he must have come back from his grave for this one.

This is precisely why I have contempt for the popular American viewpoint that all power must go to the Corporations and the people will somehow benefit from it.

It's also why I really like the Open Source Community and Wikis.

Comment by Chuck on April 10, 2013 at 1:17pm

@Gary I think that is a misguided viewpoint as it has allowed America to become so rich over the past 100 years the populous is too afraid to move away from it.

That said I am also interested in what patent this steps on. Luckily even if an app were to be removed from Android you can just turn on Unknown sources and install a 3rd party app without having to Jailbreak/Root.

Hopefully things like this will slowly push Apple out of the market position they are in, this doesn't sound like the early 1990's does it? Apple v PC, the winner was the one that allowed you to run whatever you wanted, I predict another Apple "dark ages" approaching.

Comment by Gary McCray on April 10, 2013 at 1:42pm

Apple was pretty sure they owned the "patent" on a rectangle with rounded corners.

And although we became really rich following the path of Corporate tyranny, it is doing a really good job of destroying bot the planet and currently the standard of living by pursuing it's no holds barred competition and winning at all costs  ride to Armageddon.

Comment by Chuck on April 10, 2013 at 1:47pm

@Gary I still love the story of the iPhone, originally belonging to Linksys/Cisco: funny how they approached that one. "Let us just release the product and we will work out the patent dispute later". Only a company with pockets that deep could do something like that. There are hundreds of disputes of Apple stealing ideas, concepts, and even products then paying people off later. I do not understand how Apple constantly wins awards for their company and customer service when they do things like this.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 10, 2013 at 1:56pm

Hopefully things like this will slowly push Apple out of the market position they are in,

Uh, Android already owns 70% of the market.  What more do you want?  In fact, they are becoming so dominant, Microsoft is launching lawsuits against Google in Europe because they own too much of the market!  (My my, how funny is that now?)


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