Getting Started

For this tutorial, we’ll use Android Studio and provide all our examples as an Android Studio project.

To start prototyping your app, you’ll need to set up a virtual drone. ArduPilot provides a software-in-the-loop (SITL) environment for Linux that simulates a copter or plane. SITL works great with Ubuntu 13.04 or later. When you’re ready to test your app in the air, grab a ready-to-fly drone from the 3DR store.


You can also run SITL in a virtual machine using a VM manager like Virtual Box.

Setting up SITL on Linux

See the instructions here to set up SITL on Ubuntu.

Once you have the simulated vehicle running, enter the following commands (you only have to do this once):

  1. Load a default set of parameters.

    STABILIZE>param load ../Tools/autotest/copter_params.parm
  2. Disable the arming check.


Setting up your Android Studio Project

For an existing app:

  1. Open the build.gradle file inside your application module directory. Android Studio projects contain a top level build.gradle file and a build.gradle for each module. Make sure to edit the file for your application module.

  2. Add a new build rule under dependencies for the latest version of the 3DR Services Client library. For example:

    apply plugin: ''
    repositories {
    dependencies {
        compile ''

Installing 3DR Services on your Mobile Device

For any DroneKit apps to work on Android, the 3DR Services app must be installed. This app provides a communication layer to the drone and showcases apps built on DroneKit.

You can install 3DR Services from here.