Downlink Functional!

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. :)

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