3D Robotics


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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  • The US gov needs to kill these patent nonsense just like they killed the Wright Brothers patent control for controlled flight. Its ironic that 100 years on we have the same argument over flight control. Hopefully the US gov will repeat what it did to the Wright Brothers and open everything up.


  • Seems that Parrot is on the roll lately publishing new apps with missing features. Just saw that there's FreeFlightUS app that was released on 4th of May. As the name implies, it's only available in the US app store and it has no absolute control. Hopefully that means that soon Parrot will be able to pull the AR.Drone app from US and bring back absolute control and accelerometer mode to the rest of the world.  business method patents

  • In agreement with Nigel.  While it is all speculation, we do have some facts to narrow our focus. 

    1) Apple continues to sell the AR Drone in their online store-- and in at least one of their physical stores near me. 

    2) It is a patent issue and not copyright (in other words, not the software itself, but the hardware being interfaced by the software) and that benefits Apple not at all-- except for the likelihood that Apple probably received a "cease and desist" order from a court or from Parrot regarding the "Absolute Control" software.  Meanwhile, Drone sales at Apple stores may be reduced and Android sales may be boosted.

    3) Only one of the two modes of interface has been disabled.  The Drone, itself is still fully functional with what Apple has available in the App Store (e.g., AR Race).  That is, it is the user, not the Drone which is now limited.  Apple's TOS, therefore, cannot be interpreted as the impetus; the Drone is still controlled remotely from the iOS device with Apps available at the Apple store.

    Those three rather take Apple out of the running for consideration as being behind the primary issue.

    I would love to know in what court the matter is to be resolved.

  • Boy there's some rubbish being sprouted here.

    For what it's worth, my (informed...) suspicion is that this has absolutely nothing to do with Apple at all. It's between Parrot and another patent holder.

    Please, keep your anti Apple/anti Andorid rants for elsewhere on the internet...

  • ... we should take this serious.

    a) apple/iphone is a consumer gadget. smartphones are getting smarter and smarter, for tec usage the iOS (or the walled garden) limits a lot of possibilities. Most of my tec friends have changed to android now.

    b) on the long run, what is the difference between:

    apm + 3DR telemetry, apm + router, apm + smartpone, apm + dronecell, apm + raspberry Pi + wlan/3G ?

    c) to protect our dreams and also our dev-heroes (kevin, arthur ...) we need to know, which patents are the reason for ... To be honest, who has a good standing or the right connections for in deep informations? Chris A, isn't it?

    d) "Whatever has once been thought can never be taken back."

    best .cj

  • Love the Spam Oliver.

    Patents were put into place to protect inventors, but now all they are is a tool to protect Corporations and to enable them to control and withhold.

  • We bought AR.DRONE but we did't bought remote controller. If Apple reject FreeFlight use in all apple gadjet, all user will buy and use android gadjet. Apple will loose "free advertizment" by All parrot's Ar.Drone user..... :)  Apple should thind twice...

  • I think, Parrot or anyone's youtube showing Ipad or Iphone control Ar.Drone will replace all Ipad and Iphone with Android HP in next movie show. With NO 3D control, will push Apple out in any Parrot's AR.DRONE showcase,

  • Developer

    Patents has lost their meaning and stopped making sense a long time ago.

    For example, if you even plan on take photos using a fish-eye lens and make 360 panoramas commercial. You would have to use software with a proper license to be legal. Because the method of perspective correct and stitch (simple math) fish-eye photos into a panorama it has been patented.. I kid you not.

  • Moderator
    Not seen that before, love it! Who knows what the actual issue is. It might be useful for us all to find out. Will try again today.
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