Every few years, someone creates another smartphone-based autopilot (I did my first back in 2007!). And because smartphones get better each year, so do the smartphone autopilots. They haven't yet been  as good as dedicated autopilots (which increasingly use the same smartphone chips, but used with better sensors), but it's a very useful experiment regardless. Here's the latest one, from the University of Nottingham.

Here it is in flight:

Views: 1560

Comment by Marc Dornan on July 18, 2015 at 8:09am

I will say this. I would love it if someone cleverer than I could explain why my Samsung S6 seems to completely outperform my Ublox M8 and LEA 6 units in my basement. I have compared them on my Android app to the U Center and they see more satellites and get lock much more quickly. Someone should look at what Samsung is doing here. Is it some fancy antenna? Previous Samsung phones I have owned are nowhere near as good. So with the right phone GPS performance may not be compromised with this approach.

And I dare say you could use a second Bluetooth connected GPS as well.


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on July 18, 2015 at 8:17am

Marc, 

Phones use wifi to establish position before they get GPS. Try turning off your wifi and doing the same thing and you should see the difference. 

Comment by Marc Dornan on July 18, 2015 at 8:38am
I did. This was only comparing satellites seen in the app and satellites seen in the ublox center. The S6 seems radically better. And I think that is because they have a fancy antenna in that sealed phone. Previous phones had a stick on antenna that made contact with copper pads.
Comment by Marc Dornan on July 18, 2015 at 8:40am
I should add that gps performance of Samsung S4, S5 and Note 2 and Note 3 seems inferior.

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