Erle-Copter | A drone based on Ubuntu that runs apps besides flying

Maybe the year of the Linux never comes, but we can never say that the advocates of this operating system are not trying. Canonical is one of the companies that diversify its efforts the most, and the special version of its distribution, Snappy Ubuntu Core, has now a new protagonist: the drones.

Design

Design

The company has partnered with Erle Robotics, the Spanish manufacturer of drones, to launch the Erle-Copter Ubuntu Core Special Edition, a quadricopter with a price of 399 euros which can certainly fly, but is also able to run small apps that could eventually give this ingenious drone all sorts of additional benefits.

To infinity and beyond, but running apps

Behind this project is the Dronecode project, which aims to make themost of the Open Source philosophy in these ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ (UAVs). It is interesting to discover that at the front of its technical committee is none other than Andrew Tridgell, known for being the creator of Samba.

Erle-Copter

Erle-Copter

To program you make use of the called Robot Operating System (ROS), and according to the CTO of Erle Robotics, Victor Mayoral, ‘in a few years ROS has changed the robotics field. It has unified Universities and industry around the world, enhanced collaboration, sharing of algorithms and reuse of code. A task that traditionally could take months can be developed within days using ROS.

Flying

Flying

Those in charge for this quadricopter had analyzed different alternatives but Snappy Ubuntu was the one that best fit their needs and the app design and development for drones. ‘It is lightweight and provides transactional updates, which is something the robotics community have been asking for a long time’. Let’s see if these efforts crystallize in a special app store which is of course feasible and would allow developers to sell their apps for drones just as they do nowadays in the mobile phones or tablets field.

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