The Blog


This is an example of a swarm that only uses OpenCV and AprilTags for Navigation.  It was very cleverly executed by Zerotech, the makers of the Dobby drone, which uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight Controller.   This swarm uses AprilTags on a mat on the ground and moves around by locating tags on the included mat.

No GPS – Swarm Controlled with OpenCV, AprilTags and Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight

Each drone uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight (note, I am a Developer Advocate for Qualcomm).  Using the down facing camera built into Qualcomm Flight, the drones are reading the April Tags from the mat, and using them as a map to move from waypoint to waypoint.  Altitude is measured by the size of the AprilTag in the image.  

Dobby is available on Amazon and can do similar ‘stupid drone tricks’ just like other drones, including Follow Me, Orbit, Cable Cam etc., but with a big difference.  The Dobby drone uses OpenCV to track objects using it’s built in camera.  The camera is 4K but produces image stabilized 1080P video from the 4K images. 

While there are many pocket drones available today, Dobby offers amazing technology built into a tiny package that costs only $249.00.   Dobby Pocket Drone on Amazon  


Snapdragon Flight

Snapdragon Flight is part of the Qualcomm Drone Development Platform that includes both hardware and advanced software modules for navigation, optical flow, gimbal control, and it utilizes Qualcomm Technologies strong computer vision expertise for features such as object avoidance, following an object or person, and more.

The Snapdragon Flight supports Linaro Linux and OpenCV, and is a flexible platform so companies can easily port existing drone software. It is designed to allow developers to support a broad range of applications for drones ranging from aerial photography to filming live sporting events.

If you’re ready to get started on your own drone project, you can purchase the Snapdragon Flight today from Intrynsyc:

Purchase Snapdragon Flight Development Kit for $399

SNAPDRAGON NAVIGATOR – Vision Supported Flight Controller SDK

Qualcomm® Snapdragon Navigator™ SDK is an autonomous, vision-supported flight controller SDK with related modules and tools. Featuring multiple different flight modes with varying levels of sophistication, Snapdragon Navigator is engineered to provide stable and aggressive flight for a host of applications. It includes several built-in sensor calibration procedures as well as automatic flight logging and real-time introspection tools along with post-processing log parsing capabilities.

It is designed to support the following high-level features:

  • Various flight modes, from manual (for expert pilots) to assisted modes (for novice pilots)
  • Fuses the machine vision SDK’s VISLAM for stable flight
  • Fuses the machine vision SDK’s DFS for visual obstacle avoidance
  • Wi-Fi-based flight control using drone controller app
  • C-API’s to get telemetry and control the flight path

The Snapdragon Navigator SDK is available at QDN to registered developers on the Qualcomm Developer Network Website.  Snapdragon Navigator

If you have a project that may benefit from Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight vision supported flight controller, please contact me here on DIY Drones.