How to Program a Drone

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Updated June 27, 2022

As the drone industry continues to develop, many pilots and techies want to elevate their customization of the leading drones to the next level. If this is you, knowing how to program a drone is essential for anyone exploring and expanding their passion for drone technology. Below, we’ll introduce you to a few methods of doing this.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The best way for beginners to program a drone is through a DIY programming kit.
  • DIY kits focus on high-level programming, often a more popular programming language. High-level shows users how to configure the device’s software.
  • Programming a device from scratch allows users to operate both low and high-level programming. This programming controls the unit’s hardware and software.

And if you are looking for some more excellent drone info, you can check out our articles on how to get a drone out of a tree or how to trim your drone.

How to Code a Drone

Programmable drones are now widely available, and many think you have to be an expert programmer to use one. But even the highest-quality drones for beginners allow users to self-program. If you want to look into some specific models, check out our Rolling Spider review or comparison article between the DJI Mavic 2 vs Mavic 3.

Insider Tip

If you are looking to program a network of drones, it is possible to build a program that synchronizes the movements and patterns.

Programming a Drone From Scratch

Programming a drone from scratch should be avoided if you are a beginner programmer. But for the more knowledgeable, there is a handful of programmable drones that you can do yourself.

Programming a drone from scratch allows you to control both low-level and high-level functions. Low-level functions handle the drone firmware, which directly influences the mechanical controls, like the power being delivered to the propellers. High-level programming deals with the drone’s app interface. This type deals more with the commands and functionality of the drone.

If you do decide to build your own drown, you’ll need a remote controller of some sort, like a DJI Spark remote controller, which you can read about in our DJI Spark remote-controlled drone review.

Of course, programming from the ground up may sound fascinating but requires much work, so many people go with programmable DIY drone kits.

Finding a Programmable Drone Kit

Programmable DIY drone kits are great for educational purposes because they usually focus on high-level programming skills and processes. Using one, you’ll be able to construct the app that controls many of the features of your drone, like max altitude and flight paths.

This method is often of greater usefulness because the average programming language used for high-level drone applications tends to be Java or Python. These popular languages are easier to grasp and are more universally applicable than low programming languages.

This method is also a great creative process for developing and enhancing the user-friendliness of your drone apps and drone simulation features, like camera control.

Warning

Don’t assume your drone is programmable without first checking with the manufacturer. The majority of drones don’t come with a programmability feature.

F.A.Q.S

What is the top way to learn how to program a drone?

Suppose you have a beginner-intermediate level of programming. Then, the best way to learn how to program a drone is by purchasing a kit.


What is a drone flight plan?

The flight plan is a programmed set of instructions that includes flight speed, altitude, camera angles, and coordinates. These are often used with drone deliveries.


What are programming languages used to program drones?

The language depends on whether you are talking about low or high-level programming. The most popular languages for low-level drone firmware programming will be C and C+. While for high-level programming, the most common languages for drone software are Java and Python.


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