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This page presents a guide to using the Parrot AR.Drone within ROS, using brown-ros-pkg.



You need a laptop with wifi, plus an AR.Drone. On the laptop, install ROS and brown-ros-pkg. To use the wiimote to control the AR.Drone, you will also need bluetooth on the laptop. (This guide was written at the time of brown-ros-pkg revision 1015, using Ubuntu 10.04 and ROS cturtle.)

To make the binaries needed to run, use rosmake to compile as follows:

rosmake drone_teleop wiimote wiimote_twist

Make the ardrone_brown driver:

roscd ardrone_brown
cmake CMakeLists.txt
rosmake --pre-clean

Connecting and Running

  • Boot the AR.Drone: Turn on by plugging in the battery. Wait for the AR.Drone to fully boot, as indicated by the LED lights under the propellers turning green. If the lights remain red for more than 30 seconds, reset the AR.Drone as described in troubleshooting.
  • Boot the laptop and start roscore:
  • Connect to the AR.Drone. This is accomplished over wifi. Direct the laptop to the ardrone_xxxxxx network (where xxxxxx is a 6-digit number).
  • Run the AR.Drone driver as follows:
rosrun ardrone_brown
  • Steer the ARDrone...

...using the keyboard:

rosrun drone_teleop

...using the wiimote (Move forward/backward/strafe with the nunchuck joystick, rotate with the nunchuck buttons, and move up and down with A and B. You will still need drone_teleop to perform takeoff and landing.)

rosrun wiimote  # Pair the wiimote as instructed.
rosrun wiimote_twist


Try in this approximate order. If the AR.Drone physically crashes (propellers stop and LED lights under propellers all turn red), go straight to resetting the AR.Drone:

  • Restart all ROS nodes
  • Reset the AR.Drone:
    • Make sure all ROS nodes are fully stopped.
    • Flip the AR.Drone over. Press and hold reset for 5 seconds.
    • Place the AR.Drone on the ground.
    • The LED lights under the propeller will remain red for about 15 seconds as the AR.Drone boots up.
    • Once the AR.Drone is fully booted, the lights will turn green.
  • Disconnect and reconnect the wifi between the laptop and the AR.Drone.
  • Reboot everything

Known Issues

  • Connecting to the AR.Drone over wifi is painful at best. It may take several attempts, and it may just never work. Try the troubleshooting, and cross your fingers. (After you're connected, everything else works reliably.)