Drone Control App and SmartEyeglass for an AR experience with Parrot Drones

Drone Control App, the new drone controlling app from Sony, was released as open source today for Xperia™ devices and SmartEyeglass. The app works with Parrot drones to get real time flight data and battery life info, for example, superimposed on SmartEyeglass for an augmented reality (AR) experience.

SmartEyeglass development with Parrot
In collaboration with Parrot, Sony Mobile Communication engineers have developed a drone controller application, Drone Control App, that runs on an Xperia smartphone or tablet. The application connects the Xperia device with a Parrot drone and lets the operator use SmartEyeglass as a heads-up display (HUD).

Drone Control App and SmartEyeglass

The pilot can operate the drone using a controller for smooth operating, while basic instructions, alerts, battery and flight information are shown on the SmartEyeglass display. Drone Control uses the unique features of SmartEyeglass to add another level of engagement in AR drone controlling.

The feeling of piloting a flying device with the SmartEyeglass integration makes the experience so much more immersive”, says Sylvio Alves, Software Engineer at Sony.

Drone Control App and SmartEyeglass

The Drone Control app supports a number of Parrot devices, such as Bebop, Rolling Spider and Jumping Sumo. Depending on which Parrot device the pilot is operating, the communication with the device is done using Bluetooth or Wireless LAN.

Drone controlling and augmented reality
Drones are now being considered for an increasing number of business purposes such as planting trees in agricultural industries, filmmaking and photography, monitoring crops or making postal deliveries. With SmartEyeglass and Drone Control, you can preview photographs taken by the drone of crops, for example, while keeping an eye on the battery level. 

“I can imagine this set-up being used in many other different use cases, from entertainment to business. We have just started to explore the possibilities on what could be achieved using SmartEyeglass in this way”, says Sylvio Alves.

Drone Control App and SmartEyeglass

By using AR technology to control your drone you have the best possible location awareness from the ground. This is different to the immersive VR experience with first-person view (FPV) where video from the drone is streamed onto goggles. With AR you are more connected to the overall experience of flying the drone.

Get started with SmartEyeglass and the Drone Control app
The open source code for Drone Control is published on the SonyXperiaDev GitHub where you can also submit your project improvements back to us. You can also download the Drone Control (beta) app at Google Play.

If you would like to be one of the first to use SmartEyeglass as a truly innovative heads-up display when flying your drone, you can download the SmartEyeglass SDK and start developing for SmartEyeglass.