Android Drone Apps race against the FAA

On Tuesday, a small Bulgaria-based drone startup called Flyver released an early version of its new framework for drone developers. The company wants to drive a surge of third-party applications made for consumers seeking innovative ways to do practical things with drones. Think Realtors, security firms, sports leagues, and any other business where a bird’s-eye view could be helpful. By the middle of next year, Flyver cofounder Anton Gavrailov is hoping to have a version ready for consumers.

But will consumers be ready for them? The mainstreaming of commercial and casual drone use can seem very far away, particularly after recent reports that the FAA plans to impose strict regulations on drone use. Yet teams like Flyver—and its larger competitor Airware—press on, confident in their vision of standardizing the quirky low-level software most drones currently use.

Other teams such as Airware and the Linux Foundation’s open-source Dronecode project are building new operating systems for drones from scratch. But particularly to those programmers who would like to code in their free time, Flyver’s more incremental approach—retrofitting the smartphones that are ubiquitous today—offers some distinct advantages.

Firstly, Flyver’s software framework runs on top of the the Android operating system, with which many developers are already intimately familiar.


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1 December 2014