Drones are a buzz today. The time drones introduced, they are very much known for taking videos and pictures. This technology became boon for the entertainment industry.
However, today the scenario is unlike before, the technology can perform a variety of other meaningful & significant tasks. Nowadays, drones are seen as a means to automate functions in several industries, be it scientific, commercial, agricultural, and recreational fields.
As I read today, ISIL is now using ‘weaponized’ drones in the Middle East, spurring future terrorism fears. Yes, horrible. Nevertheless, it is a face of usage, not the characteristics of the product.
Nothing to prove, this has a massive impact on the demand for cell phone drone applications and personalized drone controlling mobile apps.
Businesses are very keen on employing drone technology, and they are looking worldwide for brilliant drone phone app developers who can create a stylish drone application, which very well recognizes their business requirements and serve just what they require and desire to enhance their business.
In this article, we are going to give you in-detail information about drone app development. Before we know about smart flying drone app development, let us look at some basics and stats about the drones.
What is a drone?
In technological terms, a drone is an unnamed aircraft.
In definition, drones called unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)/unnamed aircraft systems (UASes).
A drone is a flying mechanical device that can be operated with remote control by a human operator or fully or intermittently autonomously by onboard computers.
Drones are often used for missions that are too difficult for humans to be done. Today phone controlled drones are prevalent in policing and surveillance, aerial photography, agriculture, product deliveries, and drone racing.
Besides, the sale of civilian phone drones are significantly more than military drones, and that crossed million in 2015. Even all sorts of businesses, including mobile app developers, are checking out drones to achieve a competitive advantage.
Some notable stats related to the drone industry
- According to IBIS World research, the drone industry is worth US$ 3.3 billion.
- Based on Gartner’s research, it is estimated that the Federal Aviation Administration is going to ship 7 million drones to the USA by the end of 2020, which is 3 million in 2017.
- Another survey states that the commercial drone market would reach US$ 13 billion by the end of 2025.
Benefits of drones in different fields
Solar: Initial site surveying, now drones are increasingly used for site inspections and other aerial imagery collection
Infrastructure: Drones increase cost and safety benefits in the infrastructure field
Film: Speed up and reduce the cost of filming
Agriculture: Decrease cost and increase efficiency
Delivery: Door-to-Door delivery of packages
How does drone work?
A remote control system or ground cockpit control drones. Large size drones, including Predator drone, are mostly used for military purposes. Smaller drones can be launched by hand, and uncrewed aircraft need short runways to be started.
The working formula of a drone may seem easy and simple to most of you, but the device is carrying a sophisticated technology inside.
Before we know the concepts of drones working, you must identify the fact that differentiates between drones and its ancestors- helicopters. The former one can fly self-reliantly whereas later needs a pilot for directions.
It is a specifically designed multi propeller system inside a drone that makes this device self-governing and assists in the decrease of failures.
One essential thing to note about this multi propeller system is that even if any motor inside the device discontinues working, it will keep on flying as it gets backing from propellers that are working in a group.
Drones that holds a large number of motors inside can achieve more control over their elevation and hence can carry more during flight.
These propellers get their power from a devoted source, and most of these devices contain removable batteries so that it can stay in the air for the long run.
The flight time can be protracted with the use of powerful batteries in design.
Below are the standard conditions for launching drone
Operations at speeds less than 45 knots
Not higher than 400 feet above ground level
A drone must be within visual line of sight (VLOS)
Operations need a visual observer
Permission from landowner must be granted
Examples of Drone control apps
It’s good to review the following drone control apps to get awesome design ideas
- DJI Go
It is a free and popular app. Most of the drone operators are aware of this app. This drone app is available on both Android and IOS platforms. The app provides a live high definition view from the drone.
Apart from tracking flight data, it offers many automated intelligent flight models by which users can record and share videos.
Easy to use features such as swaps on the smartphone allow take-off and landing. The map is easy to follow by which you can easily track the position of the drone. The company is offering useful manuals and tutorials to reduce the learning curve.
This smartphone-controlled drone offered by the Federal Aviation Administration. The app is obtainable for both Android and IOS devices.
This app enables drone operators to know about limitations and location-specific requirements in their regions.
- This drone app has a status indicator that notifies the operator when they enter prohibited regions. It also offers a ‘planner mode’ for future drone flight planning, and it provides interactive and informative maps.
Top 10 drone manufacturers in the world
- 3D Robotics
- Squadrone System
- Best drones to buy
DJI Mavic Pro – $999 – extreme portability, rich controls, ease of use, 4K resolution camera
DJI Phantom 4 – $871 – Easy to use and accessible to novice dronesters, Obstacle Sensing System, 4K camera, compact design, and light body
Yuneec Q500 4K – $459 – CGO3 Camera, user-controlled video resolution, a personal ground station with a built-in touchscreen
DJI Phantom 3 – $459 – Pro-level camera, with a 94-degree field of vision, 4K video with up to 30 fps
Holy Stone F181 – $109 – Key return and headless security system, key 360° 4-ways flip altitude hold function
Hubsan H107D – $89 – 4.3-inch LCD remote control screen, 480p camera, lightweight airframe with excellent durability and fashion design
UDI 818A – $52 – Indoor-outdoor type drone with good stabilization
Holy Stone HS170 Mini – $45 – 2.4GHz technology adopted for anti-interference, Stable and Flexible with 6-Axis Gyro Stabilization System
Syma X5C – $45 – beginners’ drone, backyard flight allowed, and fly indoors too
Hubsan X4 107C – $36 – Best beginner drone, great-looking video recording capability
Drone app features
The users utilize the app to accomplish the entire functioning of drones in their company. Hence, you need to provide comprehensive features in your drone control application.
Now its time to look at the essential features of such apps:
The app should allow users to learn flying drones easily
Make sure that you provide a database to the users about the no-fly zones
A flight log is crucial since it enables users to keep track of their drone flights.
If you want to fly the drone, you should have the right weather conditions and a spot from where it can take off. To find such places, the app should assist the users.
Users should be able to add features to the drone easily.
The app should include a feature to give weather forecasts in the selected flying region. It helps users to decide whether to fly or not.
The app should feature an exceedingly capable camera platform, and users should be competent to move the camera and track objects.
Customers can take advantage if the app provides a simulator. This way, users can become conversant with the app even before they buy a drone.
Your app should ideally develop a recommended flight path of your drone.
A simple user interface where users can personalize the controls is useful.
Make sure your app should track the flight data for users to analyze it later.
The app you are developing should allow sending a digital notice to nearby airports so that work will be easy for the air traffic controllers.
The app should ideally create a recommend flight path for your drone.
A digital awareness system is compulsory in the app to know if a manned aircraft is flying nearby.
The approach to developing a mobile drone application
In this article, I will endorse a few application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs). Using these, or combining both, you can provide custom-built features. This custom development approach permits you to differentiate your app from competition.
You need to design the user interface (UI). Furthermore, you need to build the mobile app front-end. Of course, using APIs and SDKs will make this process a bit simple.
To host the mobile app backend, I indorse you buy a ‘Mobile Backend as a service.’ We can discuss it later.
- SDK/API options
Review the below SDK/API options so that you can make an informed choice about how to make a mobile app for drones.
Choice 1: Dronekit SDK and API
Dronekit is a platform to create drone control apps. It offers the following features:
Intelligent path planning
Using this platform, one can create Android drone control apps. If you need Android SDK documentation, click here.
It works well on all major drone platforms. The APIs and SDKs are open-source and free to use. You can use APIs easily; additionally, it can be extended to handle additional actuators and sensors. You can access API libraries here.
For storing, accessing, and sharing vehicle and flight log information, you need to use the Dronekit cloud API. Signup for the cloud API here.
Choice 2: Parrot SDK & API
Parrot drives API and SDK for parrot drone apps, using which you can develop a mobile drone app. Their SDK is free; additionally, you can review sample code repositories.
With the SDK, you can develop the below features in your drone control application:
Pilot your drone
Connect with your drone
Update your drone
Save autopilot flight drones
Save download and media, which includes images and videos.
The SDK works with a wide range of drone platforms, and it is developed by popular programming language C.
It provides libraries for IOS and Android. A drone simulator is encompassed.
You want to sign-up with the Parrot developer platform to get the SDK. You can also view their IOS and Android sample projects in their GitHub repository.
Choice 3: FlytBase SDK and API
FlytBase, the accessible ‘Internet of Drones’ platform, offers its APIs and SDKs for developers to develop drone control apps.
There are several advantages of the platform, such as interoperability, unified APIs, enterprise-level scalability, and drone simulator. Along with the above, the platform works with all cloud services, prominent sensors, and devices.
The company also has a set of drone application solutions, e.g., delivery, security & surveillance, warehouse management, and fleet management. You might find one resolution for your business use case.
If you want to get their APIs and SDKs, you need to register with FlytBase. They have some core products:
- FlytCloud: Their cloud infrastructure offers control, telemetry, and video/payload data from the drone.
- FlytOS: The intelligence module on an abstract layer over the hardware.
- FlytPi starter Kit: It’s a turnkey mate computer pre-loaded with FlytCloud & FlytOS subscription.
Choice 4: DJI SDK and API
DJI provides mobile SDKs and API for creating drone control apps. You can create IOS & Android drones apps with them.
- Avoid obstacles
- Live video feed
- Mission control
- High & low-level flight control
- Camera control to take pictures based on your requirements
- Remote controller
- Control of battery
- Remote access to media stored on cameras
Provisional on the drone device and platform you select, you may be able to expedite your development a bit more.
Additional SDKs offered by DJI:
- Onboard SDK
- Payload SDK
- UX SDK
You need to register with DJI for their SDK and API. Moreover, you need to contact them to find out the pricing.
- Your team & project management
You should onboard a team comprising:
- Business analysts
- Android developers
- IOS developers
- UI/UX designers
- Quality analysts
We recommend going with the Scrum technique for project management. You need a scrum master called project manager to handle a scrum environment, and he should be very good at project management best practices.
Since mobile apps are ‘systems of engagement (SOEs),’ they need enhancement in iterations. This makes them good candidates for the scrum technique, where ‘sprints’ are such iterations. Each sprint will have a set of features that are tracked in a ‘product backlog.’
The team should use in effect tools for project management. Trello is a good option; nevertheless, you can find many tools for project management.
- The cost to build a drone controlling mobile application?
Well, as is the case with most mobile apps, a few integral features need to be considered when it comes to Drone controlling mobile app, to determine the development cost:
Functionalities and features you are looking for
Devices, hardware, sensors, and third party API
Custom drones or ready to use one
Number of platforms
Size & structure of your development team
The geography of app developers and app Development Company
Now, here essential aspects tend to be the region where you choose to get the app developed. Usually, the development areas are higher in the USA and Europe.
However, if you select to get the mobile drone app developed in the UAE and India, then you can get an eminence and feature-rich app at a much lesser price as compared to other regions.
If you want to develop an app with basic features, then the cost would be reasonable, however, if you choose to go with the advanced features, then it will lead to higher price and superior quality app as well.
Technology has made the impossible things possible and invisible things possibly visible. Drones can be a tangible example of this. Today all sorts of companies, including mobile app development companies, are leveraging smart drones to explore new opportunities in their field and turn their work simple.
I hope this comprehensive guide helpful in creating your drone-based mobile application.
If you still have any doubts, contact us. Our professionals will gone help you out.