Phone Drone Ethos - A Drone for your Smart Phone


Hi Everyone -

We want to share our latest project with you and see what the community has to say. We want to hear your thoughts.

The name of our latest project is called PhoneDrone and we have it now on Kickstarter. You probably saw it on Shark Tank a couple of weeks ago.

This is pulled straight from our Kickstarter campaign.

Smartphones just got a whole lot more powerful

Since their inception, smartphones have been confined to only two dimensions - limited to roam the earth at ground level.  It's time to set your smartphone free!  Grant your smartphone access to the third dimension with PhoneDrone Ethos!

3689671241?profile=originalPhoneDrone Ethos is a remarkable device that gives your smartphone wings, allowing you to deploy your iPhone or Android phone as an autonomous aerial camera.

3689671539?profile=originalWhy is this revolutionary?  We’ve leveraged the sensor, processor, and wireless capability of your smartphone. What you get is a powerful, cloud-connected aerial vehicle for a fraction of the cost of a typical drone.

Powerful Features

  • Easy to use - No drone experience necessary. 
  • Affordable -Your smartphone already has a powerful processor and multiple sensors.  Why pay for all those things over again when buying a drone?
  • Familiar - Our companion app is simple and intuitive.
  • Packable- Pack PhoneDrone Ethos for next adventure.  It will be ready at a moment's notice.
  • Compatible with all your devices - iOS, Android, and even Apple Watch!
  • Control and video streaming -Easily tether to another mobile device for control and video streaming. 
  • Built in charger - Charge from any USB source - or swap batteries for extended flight times. 
  • A camera mirror - Shoot straight down, forward, or to the side!

Phone Protection

We know some of you are a little worried about sending your precious smartphone up into the air.  That's why we've developed several safety features that will protect your phone in the event of the unexpected.

Redundant Electronic Design: Borrowing techniques from full-sized aircraft design, we've built in redundancy into hardware and software design.  This allows backup systems to take over if primary systems fail - and brings your smartphone home safely.

Protective Universal Mount: We know (stuff) happens.  That's why we cradled the phone in a protective neoprene sheath that provides vibration isolation as well as the ultimate shock protection.  It can even hold waterproof smartphone cases for some piece of mind over water.

Still not convinced?  PhoneDrone Ethos is compatible with many low cost smartphones - some as low as $50.  So pick up an extra smartphone and you'll still be flying the lowest cost cloud-connected autonomous drone on the planet.

API Release

Have an app that could leverage drone technology?  We've got you covered.  Our team will be releasing the PhoneDrone Controller API to the market, allowing developers to build drone capability into their existing apps, and even create completely new apps around this technology - imagine the innovation.


If you have any questions or suggestions, we want to hear them. What do you think?

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • The flight controllers we use are not actually expensive. A lot less so than a smartphone phone. This is a solution to a non problem.

  • Good job ! There is resolution for  many tech problem. It is possible that is the future drone development will be found on convergence of different types of devices. Hybrid smarphonedrone looks very promising

  • If you want to do something cool, go for mavlink and other open source standards for dont invent the wheel again.

  • MR60

    Cool, if we combine this project with another project consisting in a radio/radar gun to take control over drones, people will soon be able to get their latest Iphone free from the skies :)

  • Wow, where can I buy an iphone for less than a normal drone?  Have you seen the cost of phones these days??

  • Awesome idea!

    You write “We’ve leveraged  the sensor, processor, and wireless capability of your smartphone”. And “First flight of conforming prototype. June 2015”. What do you mean by “conforming”?  Do you have the flight controller running  on the phone, the wireless link, the power plant, the auto mission control, the video, all prototyped and spec’ed, ready to mass produce after a few tweaks in a couple months? Also, is that phonedrone flying in the video real (as opposed to CGI) ?

    If the answers to any of the  questions above are no, pulling this off in less than a year seems way unrealistic, especially at your low target price, and you may have a few unhappy backers early next fall. Unless you have a engineering team of at least 15, (a couple million dollars) + supporting staff  + a few millions more for materials. Still quite a  gamble even with that sort  of resources.  

    If the answers are yes,  (or close enough :)) you guys rock. Good luck anyways, it’s a great idea and  if you can pull it off it will be epic!

    Btw, concerned by some comments on your other Kickstarter campaign.. Seems some backers have not received their XplusOne yet and are in the dark, although it was  slated for release in July 2015 ...

  • Moderator

    You mean disconnect some of the functions from shopping lists and twitter Randy?

  • Developer

    First off I think it's really great that you're working on this.  Similar ideas have come up before on diydrones (here's one example and there was another from a group from korea that I can't find immediately) but they certainly didn't get as far as you're aiming to.

    I think it's going to be quite tough to get it holding position as accurately as a purpose built flight controller because the GPS signal quality is likely to be much lower accuracy and higher delay than a Ublox.  I imagine the baro and other sensors will also be less accurate or at least vary a lot depending upon the phone used.  Timing jitter especially when other apps are running on the phone could also be a problem but I don't know much about Android in this regard.

    Not sure if it would be considered cheating but if I were doing this using Ardupilot, I would probably still put an STM32 into the frame for doing all the PWM out to the motors and I'd even run the main flight controller software including the EKF on this processor but then pass in all the sensor data from the phone similar to how SITL (Software-In-The-Loop) or HIL (Hardware-In-the-Loop) works.

This reply was deleted.