I have to say, that was much much easier than I thought it would be. A few points about APM 2.5 that I could not find ANYWHERE online but made this whole project drastically easier:
- APM 2.5 uses a FTDI chip for USB/Serial connections. This is fully supported natively with Android.
- When Android is plugged into the FTDI port, APM will still fly the plane just fine.
- APM has long had the capability to “Continue” it’s mission when it loses radio contact. This means it is not going to be necessary for me to modify the APM code to allow functionality without a radio.
Anyhow, I will discuss my Android-based telemetry in the near future; but here is the innovation:
I am now able to communicate directly with my plane while it is flying from a standard Mission Planner ground station using a HSPA cellular link controlled by an Android smartphone onboard the plane. No 3DR or Zigbee telemetry, no range concerns, it just works.