Having Problems with AR.Pro?

LAST UPDATED: August 21, 2011

Connection / Startup Problems

In July of 2011 Parrot released an update to their ARDrone (firmware 1.7.4) that configures the ARDrone as a Wireless Access Point.  This (default) configuration greatly simplifies the process for Android devices to connect to and control the drone.  If you need help upgrading your drone's firmware and/or are new to AR.Pro, please see our New to AR.Pro post.

With older versions of the Parrot ARDrone AR.Pro (without any modifications to your AR.Drone's configuration) required that your Android phone be able to connect to an adhoc network.  Most Androids do not have this capability by default.  Most require some technical knowledge to get them to work with adhoc networks.  And, most require their own special procedure, or patch for it to work.  A good source for determining whether or not your Android can join an adhoc network is XDA-Developers.  Please be courteous to the devs and techies there if you need to ask a question.  Most contributors take their work very seriously and don't have time for "silly" questions.  There are numerous other Android sources if you come up empty at XDA-Developers.  A Google search could certainly help too.  I will not be able to provide significant support in this area and simply have too much going on already to track down how to adhoc enable every flavor of Android out there.  Please don't be offended if I don't answer questions of this nature.

Assuming you've got adhoc configured, or have applied the AR.Pro Infrastructure Mode patch, the most common causes of AR.Pro not being able to connect to your AR.Drone are listed below:

  • adhoc Scenarios
    • AR.Pro is not configured to auto associate with a previously remembered adhoc network
    • The previously remembered adhoc network is not available or its name has changed
    • The IP address specified for the AR.Drone is incorrect
    • A connection to an adhoc network was not established BEFORE opening AR.Pro
  • Infrastructure Scenarios
    • The AR.Drone was unable to connect to the Infrastructure network because its signal was too weak, it is misconfigured, or is plain "buggy".  I have had numerous issues with my Samsung Galaxy GT-I9000's built-in Hotspot not initializing properly and have had to shut it down and reopen it multiple times for clients to connect to it.  Try toggling the status of your hotspot and/or verifying other clients can connect to it before opening AR.Pro
    • From time to time, for reasons unknown to me, I've seen my AR.Drone simply refuse to associate to a properly functional Infrastructure SSID.  If you believe this to be the case, unplug your AR.Drone and plug it back in.
    • Set your phone down (assuming that you're using its hotspot) right next to the AR.Drone prior to powering up the drone.  This should alleviate any concerns regarding it failing to connect to a less than perfect signal, etc.
    • Verify that you have specified the correct IP Address, subnet, and ssid for your AR.Drone to connect to in AR.Pro preferences.

If you have applied the AR.Pro Infrastructure Mode patch to your AR.Drone and you are experiencing problems, and wish to revert back to its standard adhoc configuration simply push the reset button on the underside of your drone.  If you want to completely remove the patch, and are unable to connect to your drone in any fashion, follow the directions provided here that describe how to reflash your AR.Drone using its built-in USB port.

General Usage Issues

I have tried to make the HUD, menu, and Preferences views as intuitive as possible but it's never as easy as it seems.  People coming over from the iPhone side of the fence ask about Ace mode, and accelero, and a couple other oddities that are as common to me as Greek.  The below bullets will hopefully ease the transition, or level set those that don't have a baseline to work from:

Q:  How do I get Object Tracking to work? 

A:  You need to go into Preferences (menu button) then Detection Settings. Within Detection Settings there are 3 options that need to be configured, and most useful of which (Detection Mode) gets reset back to disabled every time you power up your AR.Drone.  When you tap Detection Mode you will be presented a list of 4 possible values (None, Forward Camera, Downward Camera, and Unknown).  Selecting a detection camera causes the remaining options in Detection Settings to become enabled.

  •  Additional Detection Settings
    • Object Detection - Possible values: Green, Yellow, Blue, None - Intent:  Your AR.Drone came with an outer hull with a primary color (see possible values).  It also came with some stickers with the same primary color.  You can use either of these as Ojbect tags.  (Your outer hull works best -- trust me).  Select the primary color that corresponds to the color of your outer hull or 2d "sticker" tags.
    • Outdoors Hull Detection - Possible values: Enabled / Disabled - Intent:  This setting enables your AR.Drone to better detect tags of a specific composition (at least it is supposed to).  If you're using your outer hull for detection you would enable this setting and disable it if you're using the 2d "sticker" tags.  I haven't noticed much difference between the two and typically just enable it.

Q:  Is there a manual available?

A:  AR.Pro user Gareth Brandwood invested a meaningful amount of time to develop a user manual for AR.Pro.  Gareth's work can be found here: AR.Pro User Manual

Q:  How do I "soften" the controls?  They're way too sensitive.

A:  The easiest way to soften the control inputs is to "dial" in deadzone.  This gives you a dead zone around the center point of all control axis.  Look at it is a safe zone where control inputs are ignored up to a certain point.  You can also adjust the roll, climb, and yaw rates by toggling the Outdoor Hull setting or adjusting each of them individually, all within Preferences.

Q:  Where do the snapshots/pictures I take go?

A:  You'll find them on your sdcard in the ar.pro directory.

Q:  What is "Autonomous Flight" mode and how does it differ from "Object Tracking"?

A:  Autonomous Flight is a custom configuration setting provided by Shellware that enables basic autonomous flight operations of the AR.Drone based on a detected object, enabled through Detection Settings.

Q:  What does "Pair" mean under Settings?

A:  Pairing locks down your drone to your phone by saving the mac address for the wifi interface from the phone onto the drone.

When the drone powers up it checks to see if a mac address has been specified and if so it starts a firewall that blocks all traffic except from that mac address.
It is not something I developed.  I merely tied into the configuration setting that Parrot exposed with the drone.  If you ever want to move your drone to another device (or connect via a means other than adhoc — your phone's hotspot, for example, has a completely different mac address — you'll need to press the unpair button on the underside of the drone.  In doing so the drone clears out the mac address configuration setting.

Q:  What is Azimuth Based Yaw?  How does it work? 

A:  Azimuth Based Yaw uses the compass built into your Android to determine the yaw rate of your drone when enabled.  If you were to set your phone down on a flat surface and enable sensors control and turned your phone clockwise or counter-clockwise the drone will respond by spinning (yawing) in the appropriate direction.  This flight mode is experimental and requires that your compass be properly calibrated prior enabling it.  A GPS Utility such as GPS Status & Toolbox has an excellent calibration tool that you can use to verify if your compass is "up to snuff".  If you're unable to get a good, timely, accurate, compass lock then this function may not work well for you. 

Also keep in mind that compasses are very susceptible to electronic interference and results will vary depending on phone, location, and proximity to electronic devices.  When your compass is tuned properly (and your phone is not facing south) Azimuth Based Yaw works wonderfully in performing coordinated turns with Roll -- it's also pretty neat once you have the movement down on the phone.

For more general information on AR.Pro, including Known Issues, and a full list of implemented features, please visit the main AR.Pro page.  Additional tips will be added as questions, comments, and concerns come in.  Feel free to use the Contact form to ask specific questions.  I'll do my best to respond in a timely manner, and hopefully help solve your problem.

Comments are open for this this post.  Feel free to pass along any helpful advice you have for other users.  If your comments are constructive I'll be sure incorporate them into this documentation.

Comments (19) -

The AR.Assist.zip archive I downloaded contains a file called AR.Assist (no extension).  Is it supposed to be an executable, install, or ???  Tried PowerShell but that's not it...


Do you have "Show extensions" enabled in Windows Explorer?  There should be two files in the AR.Assist archive.  One is an MSI (installer) and the other is a setup.exe if the MSI runtime is not already installed.

There have been a couple reports of corrupted downloads so this too might also be the issue.

I plan to be releasing an update to AR.Assist shortly that will utilize a .Net Click Once manifest and will significantly simplify the install and update process.  Please bear with me in the meantime.

Hope this helps,

Download link for AR.Assist has been updated to utilize a click once manifest.  I'll likely have an update out this evening and the manifest should detect a new version automatically.

I bought A.R Pro for Android today, but cannot connect to the AR Drone through my HTC Desire HD (Android 2.2).
I can se the AR drone as “ardrone-068100 (66:04:7e:50.22:60)” as Ad hoc on canal 1, via my Wifi analyzer.
It seems that I do something wrong here.
I do hope you can help.
Best wishes from Denmark.

Hi Ole,

Please see the following two posts.  After reading them do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions.

AR.Assist (Windows Wizard)

AR.Pro Infrastructure Patch

Lars Jensen 2/26/2011 4:54:31 AM

Hi Shell

Is the Drone supposed to move around, even id you are not touching the onscreen "move" buttons? It seems that my Drone is moving around just a little bit, but enough to make it difficult controlling the Drone in smaller spaces, and it seems that the moving around somehow has to do with me tilting the Phone (HTC Desire) but not touching the screen of the phone...

The gyroscopic sensors are only activated when you are holding a finger down on one of the two control pads available in AR.Pro (which one depends on what mode you're in). Your problem sounds much more so like a trim issue.

The drone will have a natural inability to fly in a confined space due to limitations of its ultrasound sensors and vision capabilities.  Add to that the turbulence it generates and things can get really interesting in close quarters.

Also make sure you're launching from a flat surface and utilizing the Trim function.  The retail version of AR.Pro supports auto-trim which executes the trim parameter as part of its take-off procedure.

Lars Jensen 2/26/2011 8:48:34 PM

Thank you Shell.

I was wondering if the confined space might be the issue - I will have to try it out in a larger space.

I did get the retail version, it is a great piece of software, but I would like to be able to record the videostream Smile


there's a problem with the wifi connection with my drone. I followerd your described steps to get the drone connected to my htc desire, rooted with leedroid 2.3d. I used the app "wireless tether for root users" from the market. First I used the AR.Assist to get the initial connection and it worked. Then I installed the infrastructure patch following your video instructions. After this it was not possible to get connetcted to the drone neither by the phone directly nor by using the AR.Assist. Turning on and off the drone several times was without any other result. The Assist finds my hotspot of the phone and the computer connects to it. But when I scan for the drone nothing is found. I manually connect the pc to the drone by using the stock windows 7 wifi management. the I scan again for the drone and the Assist finds it but displays a timeout after about a minute. Then I pushed the reset button of the drone and tried again but without success. Have you got an idea for solving this problem?

thank you.

Hi Johnny,

What version of the firmware do you have on your drone?  Pressing the reset  button should clear out all "custom" settings, assuming you have firmware 1.4.7 or 1.5.1.  Regardless, Please contact me via email and we can run through a diagnostics procedure, assuming you can get connected, at the very least from a PC using its built-in wifi stack.

I suspect your problem was likely a procedural one.  There is a key step in the process where you need to rekey the ip address while connected to the drone in AR.Pro prior to its first power cycle in infrastructure mode.  Without performing this step your drone is likely connecting to the specified infrstructure ssid, but using its default ip address of

Hope this helps and looking forward to hearing back from you.


Also, I should mention that  "wireless tether for root users" is likely contributing to your problems.

It doesn't create an infrastructure network, it creates an ADHOC one and the drone insists on being the owner/creator of any adhoc networks it connects to.  

The Infrastructure patch only helps if you have an Infrastructure network to connect to.  In your case if your HTC does not have it's own Hotspot I would recommend not using the Infrastructure patch and merely adhoc enable your phone via a wpa_supplicant or modified wifi configuration since you have already rooted it.

One last recommendation regarding adhoc enabling a rooted HTC Desire that does not supply a soft AP (Hotspot).


Christian G 3/24/2011 11:30:55 PM

So I finally got it to connect Shell!  But now i'm getting a new problem.  While connecting it says "EMERGENCY LANDING" above the "AR.PRO _ AR.Drone Found -- Connecting" screen..  What do I do?

I can not use the software (I've paid for the pro version).
The parrot takes off like a f-ing rocket and its everywhere (It does not float in the air wating for my commands it just takes off in some random direction and then the emergency mode kicks in). I really need a step by step manual for this. The info i've found about this software assumes we have pro knowledge about the parrot and ar.pro. Please help me get started

Best regards, Anders

Anders,  I do apologize for any technical problems you're experiencing.  AR.Pro is a personal "pet" project of mine, is something I do on the side, and it's unlikely I'll be able to have suitable documentation in place in any reasonable amount of time to meet your needs.

As with all AR.Pro purchases if you feel the software is not compatible with your phone, or to your liking you can request a refund at any reasonable amount of time after your purchase and I'll do my best to honor your request.

This probably isn't what you want to hear/read, but it's the best I can do under the circumstances.  If you haven't already, may I recommend http://www.ardrone-flyers.com

In any event, feel free to contact me via email regarding how you'd like to proceed.


Sorry dude, i was a bit frustrated last night when it didnt work, but i figured it out in the end. However you would get alot of free points if you included a basic flight manual for us newcomers ;)

I have two problems though, it is not floating in the air when i stop pressing the sensor button (basic flight mode) it is still going in some random direction, even after careful flat surface trim.

Second problem, i really dont like flying with the sensor, i need feedback like a joystick or game pad gives (Im talking about the feedback from physical stick presence not force feedback). How about adding bluetooth game pad/joystick support in the feature?

I really appreciate your hard work, im a software engineer myself so i know how much effort it is behind it.

Regards, Anders

Thank you for developing this app. Well worth the price. I didn't buy an ar.drone because they were apple only. I finally found one used for a good price, but the windows apps are so flakey, couldn't get a single one to work. The sample code requires a lot of screwing around as well.

Then I found Ar.pro. Was thrilled! It just works. Now the kids and I are having a blast.

Thanks for doing such a good job on the app, and thanks to Gareth for writing the manual.

Keep up the good work. I saw that parrot finally put out an android version of their software, we tried it just now, went right back to Ar.pro, their software is not as good, from startup, to how you deal w/connecting to the drone, to flight.


I can connect and control the drone,but I don't seem to be able to get the vidio feed from the drone. the firmware on my drone is 2.1.18, hardware is 21.0 firmwarw build date is 2012-04-06 ,internal hardware version 11.0 and internal software version is 5.32 .Any help you can give me? Thank you Bob

kenneth darmer 12/25/2012 12:45:32 PM

is ar pro the same as ar flight pro? sorry im new

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