It’s amazing how just a few years ago Android was but a gleam in the eye of Google. Today Android can be found in everything from our smartphones to automobiles. There seems to be no end to the uses for Android. A great example of this is 3D Robotics new Tower flight control app announced today. The Tower flight control app is a free app, intended to help users control drones from Android tablets and smartphones.
The Tower flight control app is based on Android and is completely open source. While 3D Robotics created the app and will be maintaining it, they are also encouraging others to adapt the app to their own needs. This should be a boon to the hobbyist drone crowd. While the flight control app sounds pretty full featured, especially for a free app, the fact that it is open source could make for some interesting additions.
If you are interested in the details I’ve included the press release below. If you want to download the Tower flight control app, you can find it right here.
Drone Maker 3D Robotics Releases Open-Source, Customizable TowerSM Flight Control App
Free App for Smartphones and Tablets Has Everything Pilots Need to Plan, Fly and Track
Any 3DR-Powered Drone; Open-Source Code Allows Programmers to Build or Alter Features
BERKELEY, CA – (February 10, 2015) – 3D Robotics (3DR), North America’s largest consumer drone manufacturer, today announced the availability of its open-source TowerSM flight control app for drone copters and planes. Downloadable at no cost from the 3DR website, the product not only gives users a simple, feature-rich flight experience but also, thanks to its open programming interface, offers the ability to build new features into the app or customize existing ones.
Tower is fully supported and maintained by 3D Robotics, creator of the app. While 3DR is the major contributor to the product, it encourages drone users to use their programming creativity in order to further the power, usability, and fun inherent in drones.
“3D Robotics is a big believer in imaginative uses of drones for business and pleasure, as well as in ways that benefit society. By opening up our Tower programming interface to the public, we’re giving enthusiasts and entrepreneurs the ability to impact those uses in a very positive manner,” said Colin Guinn, 3D Robotics Chief Revenue Officer. “We’re excited to see how people use their talents to improve and innovate on Tower.”
Tower is suited to first-time pilots as well as experts. Available under the GNU Public License v3, the app provides transmitter-free operation of 3DR-powered copters and planes from any Android powered smartphone or tablet. Tower is accessible through the new 3DR Services—the app store for drones. 3DR Services can guide you to Tower and other 3DR apps, as well as third-party drone apps.
With Tower, users can create flights by drawing the paths on their tablet or by dropping waypoints. Over ten different types of waypoints, as well as other functions, make it possible to plan a flight for a specific purpose:
- Fly in smooth curves with spline waypoints
- Use Circle waypoints to orbit an object while keeping the camera pointed at it
- Region of Interest (ROI) points allow flyers to keep the camera centered on a subject regardless of flight path
- Survey will automatically generate the flight pattern needed to fully cover a region of the map
- 3PV™ Follow Me keeps the camera centered on the user while the drone follows the user’s movement. Drone position can also be adjusted as it follows the user.
- An Automated Building Mapper makes 3D scans of large structures
- The Dronie function makes one-of-a-kind “selfies,” revealing surrounding scenery as the drone flies back and away from the subject
Several new features are also available for Tower including Mission Editor, for easier insertion or reordering of elements; and new integration with Droneshare via the user’s Google or Facebook account (available February 15, 2015), enabling users to track and share their flights online or compare pilot rankings with friends.
The Tower open-source community is located on GitHub at https://github.com/DroidPlanner/droidplanner. To download the free Tower drone control app, go to (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.droidplanner.services.android ).
About 3D Robotics
3DR is committed to helping people see their world from above. As North America’s largest personal drone company, 3DR is a pioneer in making advanced, easy-to-use drone technology accessible to consumers for a wide range of everyday exploration and business applications in data analysis, mapping, surveying, 3D modeling and more for agriculture, construction, infrastructure, search and rescue and ecological study. Founded in 2009 by Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and founder of DIYDrones.com, and Jordi Muñoz, an engineering prodigy from Ensenada, Mexico, 3DR is a VC-backed startup with over 200 employees in North America and more than 30,000 customers worldwide. 3DR is headquartered in Berkeley, CA with facilities and offices in San Diego CA, Austin TX and Tijuana, Mexico. For more information, visit www.3drobotics.com.
Source 3D Robotics