APM 2.6 Continuous GPS and Android Compatability

Hey all,

So I’m brand new here. Im a student at Elon University and have been into RC for about a year now.

For my mobile programming class I want to use my tricopter in some way. We are programming for Android, and I currently have a borrowed Nexus 7 Tablet. What I was wondering is if I would be able to provide the APM 2.6 with continuous GPS, altitude and heading updates from the tablet. The dream is to be able to power up the tri and have it follow me in a 3rd person perspective so that I can walk around with my fat sharks on.

This may not be the most original project, but I think it would be a cool first step. If anyone has links to similar build logs that would be grand.


Bump for student struggles.


There’s already a follow mode built into the code, so it already has the GPS updating thing down.

The next step for you is figuring out how to get your flight controller to talk to your Nexus. See if you can rig up an Arduino-based Bluetooth shield to your flight controller, for your Nexus - Flight Controller communications. It’s easy, fairly cheap, it won’t have super range, but for 3rd person it’s all you need. Fast too.

Also, just as an aside, since I’m attempting something similar, (reasonably affordable) GPS is reliable within 2-10 meters. That’s way too loose for 3rd person unless you just want a loose chase cam.

And, consider your GPS unit’s refresh rate. 1 Hz = 1 cycle/second = 1 GPS reading/second. This is also quite slow for 3rd person as it will reposition every second, and not necessarily be very smooth. 5+ Hz GPS units have massively dropped in price these days, get one. (You will however, be limited by your Nexus’ GPS unit, which is probably only 1 Hz, since why the hell would you need more than that in a tablet?)

Take into consideration the processing requirements that would be necessary for faster waypoint update calculations. I’m not entirely sure the APM is powerful enough to handle the calculations involved in high speed GPS update calculations.

AND, if you’re going much further than this, read up about NMEA messaging. It’s how GPS is communicated between most devices. Super useful. Nearly everything uses it.

I will say this though, this is a project I’m interested in and is similar to my own. I’ll also say that my programming isn’t fantastic, but I have gained a bit of a grasp on what’s required of the project. Perhaps we could trade what we figure out as we do. Lord knows there’s going to be a ton of tuning involved.

I have the Bluetooth link and I can connect to my copter through DroidPilot, but can’t figure out where follow me feature is at on the app. The Follow Me! Mode page instructions don’t say how to do this on Android, just Mission Planner. Does anybody know where instructions are for Android Follow me instructions at?