ATTENTION: This is a web archive! The IMS Group was split up in 2018 and does not exist anymore. Recent work of former members can be found at the VR/AR Group and the Computer Vision Group.

Interactive Media Systems, TU Wien

SmartCopter - Autonomous Flight with a Smartphone as On-Board Processing Unit

Lab project in the area of Virtual and Augmented Reality.

Keywords: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Autnonomous Localization, Mixed Reality, Autonomous Flight.

About this Project

This project combines a number of research activities to design and develop UAVs based on off the shelf hardware. The major goals of our research activities comprises autonomous flight and to combine UAVs with the sensation of an immersive mixed reality environment.


A conventional smartphone acts as on-board core processing unit to allow for autonomous localization, mapping, exploration and navigation in an unknown environment without requiring additional ground hardware. Currently, our approach is capable to autonomously fly within an unknown 2D environment.

SmartCopter v2.0

The frame of the Smartcopter v2.0 is custom designed and most parts are printed in 3D for enhanced maintenance, using PLA.It has a diameter of 70cm and is equipped with a LG Nexus 4, running Android v4.0.4 (API level 15). The entire HOWTO is provided over Instructables.

[PNG] Render_Perspective_Drawing...

[PNG] Render_Perspective_Drawing...

Rendered model of frame design.
Exploded v2.0 frame design.

SmartCopter v1.0

The Smartcopter v1.0 proptotype is equipped with a Samsung Galaxy S2, runnind Android v4.0.4 (API level 15). Press here for an interactive design visualization of the quadcopter's frame. You can navigate through the design study by pressing the whitespace key.

[JPG] SmartCopter Prototype

[JPG] SmartCopter Team

Frame with smartphone pulled out of mount for visualization. The SmartCopter v1.0 team: Annette, Christoph, Hannes and Michael (from left to right)



Our publication "Autonomous Flight using a Smartphone as On-Board Processing Unit in GPS-Denied Environments" was awarded for Best Paper at the 11th International Conference on Advances in Mobile Computing and Multimedia (MoMM 2013).