A Detail Guide on Drone App Development: How to Develop a Drone Control Application

Mobile App Development | 08-05-2023 | Andrew Holland

Drone App Development Guide | How to Develop a Drone Control App?

Drones have become a revolutionary concept in the digital space and birthed new possibilities to make our lives easier. They are used for tracking, shipping and delivery, aerial photography, and many more activities. This has led to a rise in drone control app development and many businesses are investing in such apps. A recent study suggests that the drone service market will grow up to $40.7 million by 2026. This showcases how top-tier industries will continue to leverage this technology to achieve a competitive advantage. However, to develop such a complex app you need to hire a professional mobile app development company. They will have enough experience in building such apps and will follow a structured step-by-step protocol to complete your project.

Here’s a detailed guide on drone app development inclusive of handpicked information from market-leading tech experts.

What is a Drone Control Application and Why is it Important?

A drone control application is a software program that enables users to control and monitor their drones from a smart device (mobile, tablet, or laptop) while sitting comfortably at home. It typically consists of a mobile app and a desktop application that allows users to view live video footage, manage flight plans, manage filmmaking, set waypoints, adjust camera settings, healthcare, and more. The application communicates with the drone via a wireless connection, typically through Wi-Fi or cellular data.

One of the primary benefits of using a drone control application is increased safety. Drones can fly at high altitudes and in difficult terrain, making it difficult for the controller to keep them in sight at all times. With this app, they can monitor their drone's path and location, making it easier to avoid collisions and navigate around obstacles. The mobile app development company will develop a customized app inclusive of all such features and functionalities to make monitoring easier.

Another reason why a drone control application is important is that it improves efficiency and productivity. They can cover large areas in a relatively short amount of time, making them ideal for tasks such as surveying, mapping, and inspection. By using this application, users can automate its paths and waypoints, reducing the time and effort required to perform these tasks manually.

Furthermore, a drone control application can improve communication and collaboration between team members. This can be particularly useful for industries such as construction and infrastructure, where multiple teams need to coordinate their efforts to complete a project.

Top Features of a Drone Control App

The success of a drone control application is subject to the features and functionality added in it. The hired agency offering mobile app development services will include these features to make your app innovative and successful. The top features this app should have includes:

Flight Controls: The app should have easy-to-use and intuitive flight controls that allow you to control the drone's movement in all directions. This includes up/down, left/right, and forward/backward.

Camera Controls: The app should allow you to control the camera of the drone, including tilt, pan, and zoom.

GPS Tracking: The app should be able to show you the drone's location in real-time on a map, as well as provide information about its altitude, speed, and battery life.

Autopilot: The app may have an autopilot feature that allows you to program a flight path for the drone to follow, which can be useful for aerial photography or mapping.

Safety Features: The app should have safety features such as obstacle detection, automatic return-to-home, and emergency landing, which can prevent accidents and protect your drone.

Live Streaming: The app may have a live streaming feature that allows you to view live video footage from the drone's camera in real-time.

Firmware Updates: The app may have a firmware update feature that allows you to update the drone's software to the latest version, which can improve its performance and allow the mobile app development company to add new features.

How to Develop a Drone Control Application? - Step by Step Guide

Drones have become increasingly popular in recent years, and the demand for drone control applications has grown as well. Developing a drone control application may seem like a daunting task, but it is achievable if you follow a step-by-step process. In this article, we will outline the steps you need to take to develop a drone control application.

Step 1: Define the Scope of Your Application

The first step in developing a drone control application is to define the scope of your application. You need to determine the type of drone you want to control, the functionality you want to offer, and the platforms you want your application to run on. You also need to define your target audience and the features they would like to see in the application. This will help you develop an application that meets the needs of your target audience.

Step 2: Choose a Platform and Programming Language

The next step is to choose a platform and programming language for your application. You can develop a drone control application for mobile devices, desktop computers, or web browsers. The choice of platform will depend on your target audience and the devices they use.

When it comes to programming languages, you have several options, including Java, Python, C++, and JavaScript. The choice of programming language will depend on your experience and expertise.

Also read - Everything You Need To Know About App Development

Step 3: Choose a Drone Control API

Once you have chosen a platform and programming language, you need to choose a drone control API. The API will allow you to communicate with the drone and control its movements. There are several APIs available, including DJI, Parrot, and Yuneec.

You need to choose an API that is compatible with the drone you want to control and the platform you have chosen. You also need to ensure that the API provides the functionality you need to develop your application.

Step 4: Develop the User Interface

The user interface is a critical component of your drone control application. It should be intuitive, easy to use, and visually appealing. You need to design a user interface that allows users to control the drone and view its movements.

The user interface should provide users with real-time feedback on the drone's movements, including its altitude, speed, and orientation. You also need to include safety features such as emergency stop and return to home.

Step 5: Implement the Drone Control Functionality

Once you have developed the user interface, you need to implement the drone control functionality. This involves using the drone control API to communicate with the drone and control its movements. You need to ensure that your application can control the drone's altitude, speed, orientation, and camera.

You also need to implement safety features such as geofencing, which prevents the drone from flying outside a predefined area, and obstacle avoidance, which detects and avoids obstacles in the drone's path.

Step 6: Test Your Application

Once you have implemented the drone control functionality, you need to test your application. You need to ensure that the application works as expected and that it meets the needs of your target audience.

You should test your application in a controlled environment to ensure that it is safe to use. You also need to test your application on different devices and platforms to ensure that it works correctly.

Step 7: Release Your Application

The final step is to release your application to the public. You need to ensure that your application meets all the necessary regulatory requirements and that it is safe to use.

You should also provide users with instructions on how to use the application safely. You can release your application on app stores such as Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Popular Tools for Drone Application Development

As the demand for drone technology grows, developers have created a plethora of tools to aid in drone control app development. The company offering mobile app development services leverage these tools and create dynamic and innovative applications. Such tools are:

DJI Software Development Kit (SDK)

DJI is one of the leading manufacturers of drones and has developed an SDK that allows developers to create custom applications for DJI drones. The SDK supports both iOS and Android platforms and provides access to a range of features, including flight control, camera control, and real-time video streaming. With this, developers can create applications for a wide range of industries, including film and television, agriculture, and public safety.


PX4 is an open-source autopilot software stack that provides flight control for drones. It supports a range of hardware platforms and provides a flexible and modular architecture that can be customized for different applications. With PX4, developers can create custom flight modes, control algorithms, and sensor configurations to suit their specific needs.


Dronecode is an open-source platform that provides a range of tools and libraries for drone software development. It includes the PX4 autopilot software stack, as well as a range of tools for mission planning, real-time video streaming, and telemetry. Dronecode also supports a range of hardware platforms, making it a versatile platform for developing such apps.

ROS (Robot Operating System)

ROS is an open-source operating system designed for robotics applications, including drones. It provides a range of tools and libraries for drone control application development, including navigation, mapping, and perception. With ROS, developers can create custom applications for a range of functions, including inspection, surveying, search, and rescue.


AirSim is a cross-platform simulator for drones that provides a range of tools for developing such apps. It includes realistic environments for testing and training drones, as well as support for custom sensors and cameras. AirSim also supports a range of hardware platforms, making it a versatile platform to enhance the development process.


TensorFlow is an open-source machine learning platform that can be used for drone control application development. It provides a range of tools and libraries for machine learning, including deep neural networks and reinforcement learning algorithms. With TensorFlow, developers can create custom applications for functions such as object detection, tracking, and classification.

What is the Cost of Drone Application Development?

Like every other app development project, drone apps also require proper strategy building and hiring a trusted mobile app development company to ensure its success. Given its complexity, the actual cost will depend on various factors. These include:

Type of Drone

The type of drone you choose for your application will have a significant impact on the cost of development. There are many different types of drones available, ranging from simple toy drones to complex industrial drones. Toy drones are relatively inexpensive and easy to develop applications for, while industrial drones can be very expensive and require specialized expertise to develop applications for.

Software Development

The software that runs on your product is another factor that influences the cost of development. Depending on the complexity of your application, you may need to develop custom software that can control the drone's flight, collect data from sensors, and process images or video. The cost of software development can vary depending on the expertise of the developers you hire and the amount of time required to complete the project.

Also read - How Much Does It Cost to Make an app?

Hardware Components

The hardware components that make up your product will also affect the cost of development. For example, if you need a high-quality camera for aerial photography or videography, this will increase the cost of development. Other hardware components, such as sensors, GPS modules, and battery packs, can also add to the overall cost.

Testing and Certification

Before you can deploy your drone application, the mobile app development company will test it thoroughly to ensure that it works correctly and is safe to use. Depending on the application, you may also need to obtain certification from regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Testing and certification can add significantly to the cost of development, since you need to hire third-party experts to perform these tasks.

Maintenance and Support

Once your application is deployed, the hired mobile app development company will provide ongoing maintenance and support to ensure that it continues to work correctly. This can include software updates, hardware repairs, and technical support for end-users. The cost of maintenance and support can vary depending on the complexity of your application and the number of users you have.

Bottom Line

Drone technology has become a popular concept in the digital landscape and numerous businesses are adopting it to ease their operations. This has led to an upsurge in drone control applications. To ensure your product’s success, you need to hire a trusted agency offering mobile app development services. Moreover, the app must include above-mentioned features and make sure the hired team leverage popular tools such as DJI SDK, PX4, Dronecode etc. to improve its overall functionality. Lastly, the cost of a drone app will depend on various factors such as type of drone, hardware components, testing, and other factors.


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Andrew Holland

This blog is published by Andrew Holland