Future of Digital World – Drones or Mobile Apps?

Future of Digital World – Drones or Mobile Apps?

A- Drones – Initiation:

Phones were used to just call people. The pursuit for innovation revolutionized the way people communicate using phones by the ‘magical’ possibilities brought to us through internet. Something has been shaping our lives but where are we headed? There is something more which we as a race have not really capitalized on. More and more conceptionists and developers today need to start thinking on the lines of developing applications which can transform drones into new tools which the manufacturers have not even imagined.

Drone Technology has observed expansion in last few years. There are many advances seen in recent years in terms of hardware platforms, more scalable airframes, high-resolution cameras and better batteries.


Marketwatch states drone sales topped $1.33B in 2014,
According to Fortune, the figure was $2.5B, growing at 15-to-20 percent annually.

The sky is not the limit for commercially-used drones and the above figures don’t even include military spending. Military spending is itself a large topic to discuss.

B- Drones – Fly with smart devices:

The flight controller is a software which exists today on the drone itself. The flight controller interfaces with a wide array of sensors which includes GPS, accelerometers, airspeed, barometric pressure, temperature etc. These inputs will affect the flight. The flight controller takes responsibility of taking input from the ground station or the pre-set routing points. It makes sure that drone is where it is supposed to be and therefore utilizes complex control algorithms such as PID (Proportional Integral Derivative).

There are some drones which offer advanced flight controller applications which can run on a smartphone or tablet. Parrot AR Drone 2.0 which works exclusively with tablet application. Let us have a look at Parrot AR drone control interface.

drones or mobile apps

For using a smart device with your drone, it is important to pair the smartphone or tablet with the drone. If you have a Parrot AR Drone 2.0, using the below-mentioned directions can help in connecting phone to your drone:

1- Connect your AR Drone’s battery:
The green light of the drone’s system will turn green, therefore indicating you are ready to move the next step.

2- Tap to settings icon, by using iPhone:
The setting screen gets loaded and gives you several options for configuring your iPhone.

3- Find Wi-Fi button and tap it:
Wi-Fi settings screen loads, therefore, presents you with an option to connect to any detected wireless networks in the area.

4- Select ardrone_parrot wireless network:
The iPhone indicates that you have connected successfully by placing a checkmark in the network in Wi-Fi settings screen.

C- Drones Doing Wonders:

There has been an emergence of many companies which are indulged in providing development kits, therefore, allowing custom apps development for building an interface with flight controllers. Such companies have entire development platforms hence enabling easier custom application development. These custom applications can run on Android, or on any mobile device or any ‘associate computer’ running on the drone itself. Software interfaces with the flight controller provide intelligence and computing power to obtain mission’s tasks.

Cloud is another area which has witnessed rapid innovation as the number of drones in use have increased exponentially. Drones are able to capture and send a wide array of data and images which are in use. From generating aerial view maps to gathering environmental data or traffic data, drones are capable of doing just almost everything. The analysis, processing and correlation of such data is computationally very intensive, therefore best suited to cloud processing. Real-time calculations, or managed live feed updating the right data parameters shared with concerned authorities can open the door to achieving rather complex tasks. Cloud makes it all light. And lite.

Drones can also be used for security. Suppose, you want to augment physical security with a fleet of intra-communicating drones which could buzz around campus for gathering data and images. In this case, data can be stored in cloud, scrutinized and analyzed looking for patterns which could indicate suspicious activity or security threats. As such cloud services publish data using REST interface hence this information can be easily incorporated in other applications such as physical security stations at guard post, GIS mapping or live monitoring applications.

If we talk about healthcare industry, then UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is just doing wonderfully. Drones could deliver expensive and rarely used drugs such as antivenin for snake bites. These drones are very much helpful in case of areas with epidemic disease spread. Flirtey drone can make its own autonomous delivery of food, water and a first aid kit. A Nevada-based startup, offers emergency medication.

Another UAV is ZipLine which is a San Francisco-based startup which has signed a contract with Rwanda government for transporting blood for transfusion across the country. Also, TU Delft Ambulance Drone has been designed as a prototype which integrates within a cardiac defibrillator, two-way communication radio and video. In case patients suffer from cardiac arrest the emergency services would send the drone to the patient and looker-on will be instructed how to perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation). They will also be guided how to use defibrillator until the emergency services arrive to take over.

Google ‘s parent company Alphabet has also been associated with Project Wing for disaster relief and delivery of food, medical supplies, and clean water. This project has been successfully tested both in U.S and Queensland, Australia. It has also been approved from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). There is another one creating stories in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Subbarao is working on delivering a telemedicine drone to deal with natural disasters on US soil. Tornados which left residents stranded and unreachable by ambulances, can now be faced with more intelligence with drones guided by GPS and is able to drop equipment relevant to the emergency situation.

Wrapping Up:

Drones are performing meticulously. They carry sensors and can go to places where most of the internet-of-things devices coming in the market can’t. Drones are even exploring the sky and even are able to predict the weather before it gets to us. It is time for mobile app developers to come up with right ideas to compliment drones. Sky is the limit and the drones are flying. Are you prepared to venture into terra incognito?

Blog Resources: Doctorpreneurs, Mayoclinic, Loadimpact, Dummies

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Rachit Agarwal

Rachit Agarwal

Director and Co-Founder at Algoworks Technologies
Rachit is leading the mobility business development function, mobility strategy and consulting practice at Algoworks. He is an expert of all mobile technologies and has experience in managing teams involved in the development of custom iPhone/iPad/Android apps.
Rachit Agarwal

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