AR AutoConnect

AR AutoConnect is a script that can be put on the AR.Drone and that will automatically connect the drone to a specified WiFi Access Point. This way the drone can automatically connect itself to your phone's Access Point so that can use it just as easily as if you had an iPhone.

    The script along with the Java installer are free and open source. If you are interested go to the Open Source page to download the source and see what's under the hood.

       If you have any problem using AR AutoConnect or if you have any suggestions please contact me at EiffLDev@gmail.com.


IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER : although I have been testing this script for a few weeks on my drone without any problems, if you decide to install it on your own drone, you understand that I offer absolutely no warranty that you won't render your drone unable to connect to a WiFi network or to operate altogether and if such things were to happen I decline all responsibility. Modifying the on-board system is not supported by Parrot as it may affect users's security and potentially damage the drone. Any firmware modification of the AR.Drone will result in voiding the warranty.

Bottom line is, if you follow the instructions to install AR AutoConnect on your drone, you understand that you do so at your own risks.


Okay, now that I feel covered enough, here is exactly what the script does :
  • When you boot the drone nothing is modified, it will create an ad-hoc WiFi network and wait for a connection. At this point you can connect to the drone from your computer or an iPhone in the regular way.
  • Every 10 seconds the script will check if there is a device connected to the drone's ad-hoc network by pinging the default addresses.
    • If there is no ad-hoc connection, the script will then check all available networks, looking for a specified Access Point.
      • If the Access Point is found, the script will change the drone's wifi configuration and connect to it.
  •  As long as the Access Point is available, the drone will remain connected and if the network is lost (for instance out of range) it will automatically try to reconnect.
  • If the Access Point has been unavailable for more than 45 seconds, the script then automatically switch the WiFi configuration back to the standard ad-hoc network. At which point you can reconnect to the drone with an iPhone or your computer as if nothing had ever happened !
Basically the drone can be used exactly as before but as soon as it will detect your phone's hotspot it will connect to it without having any further manipulations to do. 

To simplify as much as possible the installation procedure, I also wrote an installer that lets you install and uninstall AR AutoConnect in only three clicks.


1) Install AR AutoConnect

Here are the detailed instructions to install AR AutoConnect on your AR.Drone from your computer :
  • First, if your drone is paired to your iPhone/iPad or other, you need to unpair it by pressing the unpair button underneath the AR.Drone with something like a pen.
  • Connect your computer to your drone : on your computer, browse the list of available WiFi networks and click on  ardrone_******. 

  • Download the file ARAutoConnect.jar at the bottom of this page. This is the installer that will put the script on your drone. If you have Java installed on your computer you should have no problem launching this file by double clicking on it. If that doesn't not work (for instance if you are using KDE) then open a terminal, go to the directory where you downloaded the ARAutoConnect.jar and type : java -jar ARAutoConnect.jar

  • Click on the Connect button.

  • Click on the Install button. A dialog will appear reminding you that your are installing ARAutoConnect at your own risks and that you will void the warranty on your drone.
  • Change the connection settings if you feel like it (but you don't have to) and don't forget to press the corresponding Set button if you make any changes.
  • Click on the Disconnect button and restart your AR.Drone. Any modifications you make to the connection settings such as the essid will only apply after rebooting the drone.
It's done ! Go to the How To Connect page to see how to enable your phone's WiFi Access Point to let your drone connect itself to your phone.



2) Changing AR AutoConnect's configuration

Once AR AutoConnect is installed on your AR.Drone, you can change the default settings such as the network ESSID the drone's looking for. However, you usually won't have to.

  • Connect your drone to your computer (see the first two steps of the installation procedure).
  • Launch AR AutoConnect.
  • The installer will detect that the script is already installed. You can change the setting by modifying the values in the TextBoxes and by clicking the corresponding Set button to transmit the changes to the drone. Any modification you make will only apply after a reboot of the drone.
  • Click on the Disconnect button and restart your drone.


3) Uninstall AR AutoConnect

Uninstalling AR AutoConnect will remove almost all traces of the script from your AR.Drone (by almost all traces I mean all the files installed will be removed... however it is still theoretically possible to find the traces of the deleted AR AutoConnect files, even if that would require a certain amount of time and effort).

  • Connect your drone to your computer (see the first two steps of the installation procedure).
  • Launch AR AutoConnect.
  • The installer will detect that the script is already installed. Click on the Uninstall button at the bottom of the window.
  • Click on the Disconnect button and restart your drone.
That's it, as if nothing had ever happened.

Well, almost as if nothing had ever happened, if you want to make absolutely certain that all traces are removed you would have to reflash your drone by following Parrot's procedure here : http://ardrone.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/en/support/update.

ċ
ARAutoConnect.jar
(452k)
EiffL,
Feb 10, 2011, 10:42 PM
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