Drone Maker 3D Robotics Debuts Open Source Development Platform To Advance Public App Innovation

3DR's DroneKit Development Platform Makes It Easy for Entrepreneurs and Enthusiasts to Add Custom Features or Create Entirely New Drone Apps

BERKELEY, Calif., March 26, 2015 -- 3D Robotics (3DR), North America's largest consumer drone manufacturer, today announced the release of a new open software product called DroneKit, the company's Application Programming Interface (API) for drone app development. Downloadable for free from 3DR, DroneKit packages years of 3DR's research and development into a single robust and extensible platform which developers can use to create web-based drone apps or even apps onboard the drones themselves. DroneKit works with any vehicle powered by the APM flight code.


Why now

3DR wants to empower makers anywhere to create apps that fit their purposes. Imagine an agriculture app that surveys your land; a search & rescue app; or a football practice app. Before DroneKit, if you wanted to create any of these single-purpose apps for a drone you'd have to reinvent the wheel, building all the flight control software from the ground up. DroneKit abstracts away the hard parts of writing flight control software, leaving you a clean, modern interface to code on.

A good analogy is the smartphone: In order to make a smartphone app, you don't need to design and create a phone first. The hard part (the platform, in other words) is already done. With DroneKit, we've made the phone, so to speak. Now everyone has the creative freedom to build apps and new functions.

"Unlike other APIs for drones, there are no levels of access to DroneKit; it's completely flexible and open," noted Brandon Basso, VP of software engineering at 3DR. "The platform works on laptops as well as mobile devices. Best of all, once an app is created, the app automatically works on any computing platform—the interface is always the same."

3DR's role is to maintain DroneKit: they created the API; they fix any issues with it; they assure it works with all APM vehicles; they add experimental features from their labs and from those contributed by the global community, and make all updates available to anyone for free.

What you can do with DroneKit:

With DroneKit, you can develop apps for three platforms: mobile apps (DroneKit Android); web-based apps (DroneKit Cloud); and onboard computer apps (DroneKit Python) [i.e., for a companion computer on the actual drone].

DroneKit allows you to:

* Fly paths with waypoints
* Fly in spline path with fine grain control over vehicle velocity and position
* Have the drone follow a GPS target
* Control the camera and gimbal with regions of interest points
* Access full telemetry from the drone over 3DR Radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or over the internet
* View playbacks and log analysis of any mission

Advantages of DroneKit:

* Truly open; no "levels" of access that you get from other proprietary programs
* Computer agnostic: Create an app for controlling drones on whatever computing platform you want, and the interface is always the same
* Works on planes, copters and rovers
* Works on laptop computers as well as mobile devices
* Provides web-based access to vehicle data

DroneKit powers the most successful flight control programs in the world:

* Tower (formerly Droidplanner), hands-down the best flight planning mobile app out there, was built on DroneKit for Android
* Droneshare, the global social network for drone pilots, is built on DroneKit web services
* Project Tango Indoor Navigation is built on Pixhawk, APM and Tower
* IMSI/Design TurboSite aerial reporting app for construction

Online Access

To find out how to write your own application for UAVs, and to walk through some example apps from 3DR, please visit http://dronekit.io

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 Munoz, 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.

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