PhoneDrone Android board finally in production!

The 3D Robotics PhoneDrone Android/RC interface board is finally in production! Pre-orders are starting now and it will ship on Oct 17th. From the product listing:


It's a way to connect any Android device (2.3.4 or higher) to the world of RC and UAVs.The board has 8 channels of RC in and out, with PWM-to-PPM conversion and multiplexing between RC and Android control. You just plug the Android's phone USB connector into the board and you have two-way communications with RC gear and any other board, such as APM.

 That means that you can switch between RC control and Android control or mix the two. An example would be "fly/drive by wire". You steer your vehicle via RC, but an Android phone does the actual control using its onboard IMU. On a car, that would allow every turn to be a high-speed controlled drift, for instance (we may show something like that at Maker Faire).

Or, with a UAV, you might have the Android phone doing high-level image processing and object tracking, sending mission commands to an autopilot board such as APM. You might also want to use the phone's long-distance wireless instead of an Xbee for two-way telemetry.

 This can either replace APM if you've got equivalent code running on Android, or compliment it with the Android device doing image processing or long-distance wireless comms.


It took a while to get a pick-and-place smart feeder for one of the components on this board, so apols for the delay. We're good now ;-)

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Comment by Alessandro Vitali on September 29, 2011 at 11:17am

HI, Chris .


can you show some connection schema to the apm  ?

I haven't understand if is possible to connect this board to the apm  and use as cellular link instad of xbee connections .

Most probably i havent understand the "destination use" of this board .

Comment by on September 29, 2011 at 11:28am

You will be able to use this board as a cellular link instead of xbee, or even port APM onto your android phone since most have a full IMU+GPS, and plenty of processor power :)  Looking forward to see what some members will create with this :)  Our store will also be stocking this product for UK Customers, so stay tuned.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 29, 2011 at 12:03pm

Very cool, its back to the future using Nokias for all this seems ages ago

Comment by Alessandro Vitali on September 29, 2011 at 12:17pm

I UT thanks for explain me .

I have a question .

I have seen that ardupilot mega have a good IMU and good processor power and i am ask myself why people whant to port apm on smartphone when APM is a very good platform (and i think if we wait some times the improvment of this board b, on the code side and on hardware side will be many )

Ps sorry for my poor english

Comment by on September 29, 2011 at 12:33pm

@ allesandro, i agree that APM is very good as what it does, it will be some work to get APM working on the android, but it just means that you can save some weight so you dont need to carry APM+android+phonedrone.

But I think best use will be to use APM to fly aircraft, then use android to do something like wireless comms, like sending live images back to ground via internet?, or evin some basic image processing if your phone is powerfull enough.

Comment by Héctor García de Marina on September 29, 2011 at 1:36pm

In my opinion, this is what I call over engineering. Why not to add more layers?


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on September 29, 2011 at 4:26pm

UT: Yes, a good example would be to use the Android device for image processing or long-distance wireless comms. Another might be as an advanced AI layer to do high-level autonomous mission planning (pathfinding with Google Earth for example)

Comment by Kevin Hashawan on September 29, 2011 at 6:02pm

Just out of personal interest, what was the difficult component?

Comment by Anis Nielsen on September 29, 2011 at 10:25pm

Raahh im waiting for the day where a LAMP environnement will fully run on android and i can use some php to talk with the APM .. The world will then be mine ^^


We're getting there and its great news, also im looking forward to what the community will do with this new board :)

Comment by Yan in Paris on September 30, 2011 at 3:47am

Do you have software or firmware with it? What does each pin do? Do you have tutorials to explain how to use it?


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