Drones are hot right now, as a programmer which one should you buy?

The hottest “toy” on the market right now are drones and quadcopters but they are more than a toy to some people, they are a passion and a hobby. The technology has come a long way but what does that mean for us programmers? Well, you easily see by looking at sites like QuadcopterCloud┬áthat some of the best drones are pretty advanced pieces of kit.

The Parrot AR Drone is a RC Quadcopter with cameras that has the ability to be programmed any number of different ways. These amazing works of technology are enjoyed by hobbyists, tech lovers, and programmers alike. They even have competitions for people who program the Parrot AR Drone to show off against other teams of three. However, there are plenty of people who just enjoy the Parrot AR Drone just for the enjoyment of an outdoor activity.

How to Program a Parrot AR Drone

One way you can program a Parrot AR Drone is over Wi-Fi using AT commands. These commands are sent to the Parrot AR Drone as UDP or TCP packets. A UDP (User Datagram Protocol) is used to send one or more complete commands, if more than one command is contained within a packet, a new line byte is used to separate the commands. Strings are encoded in 8-bit ASCII characters and the maximum command length is 1024 characters.

Robot Apps

There are also apps that can be used to pilot and program the Parrot AR Drone. These apps include ARDroid which pilots your Parrot AR Drone using your Android phone, and AR.Drone AutoPylot from Python (or Matlab or C) which contains he source code for building stubbed AR.Drones allowing you to auto-pilot your Parrot AR Drone. There is also ARDrone Flight which is an application for Android which not only allows you to control your Parrot AR Drone, but also record video using the FFmpeg project. Another app is AR.Drone SDK for .NET which is an application for windows using complete SDK for AR.Drone for Microsoft.Net. This application is used for flying your Parrot AR Drone in Windows. There are of course many other applications that you can use for programming and flying your Parrot AR Drone.

SDK and Manuals

You can find many different SDK (Software Development Kits) and manuals for your Parrot AR Drone both online for download as well as in hobby shops and book stores. These SDKs and manuals will teach you how to personally program your Parrot AR Drone however you like without premade commands. This allows you to learn more about your Parrot AR Drone and also teaches you about the programming process and different commands. If you love technology and learning new things, this may be a route you will be interested in.


With many of the different programmable drones out there, there are numerous different ways for you to program your drone. Each drone programs differently and may use a different type of code. It is recommended that before buying your drone, you read as much information about it as possible and learn about the type of code it will take for you to personalize the programming. There are an endless number of SDKs and manuals available online for each drone that will provide you with vital programming information as well as information you may not know about your specific drone.

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