propellAR is an Augmented Reality app for flying virtual drones on your own mobile device.


To fly the drone, you will need a Launch Pad. This is the location from which you will launch the drone, and the location to which the drone will return when you shut it off. You will create your Launch Pad from a handy nearby image such as a book cover, photograph, or beer coaster. Your Launch Pad should be something that you can lay flat on a nearby horizontal surface, such as your table or desk.

Once you have created you Launch Pad, you fly it using the joystick controls at the bottom of your screen. These allow you to navigate the drone up, down, forward, back, left, right, and also rotate it to the left and right. The direction of these controls is usually with respect to the drone itself, not to you. This can be a little confusing until you get the hang of it, but it's the way that a real drone works. Also like a real drone, you can not fly the AR drone below ground level, which is an imaginary horizontal surface at the same elevation as your Launch Pad.

propellAR is available now at these locations.


As noted above, in order to launch a drone in propellAR, you will need a Launch Pad. This will be your virtual drone's home base for this session. This can be a book cover, beer coaster, business card, or other handy horizontal graphic object. Good Launch Pads are:
  1. Rich in detail, i.e. street scene, group of people, collage and mixture of items, sport scenes.
  2. High in contrast, i.e. bright and dark regions, well-lit.
  3. Non repetitive, i.e. no grassy fields, checkerboards, granite countertops, or wallpaper.
  4. Readily available, i.e. book, magazine, beer coaster, business card, etc.
To create your Launch Pad, get a suitable image fully in view with your device parallel to the plane of the image surface and no perspective distortion.

Color bars at the top of the screen will indicate the quality of the Launch Pad candidate. Red indicates a poor target, yellow means acceptable, and green means that you've found an excellent Launch Pad.

When you've a green bar and are nice and square to the Launch Pad, press the Launch Pad button at the bottom of the screen, and the drone and its control panel will appear. Now you can pull your camera back and fly!


The default propellAR drone uses a dual-joystick control system, just like a real drone. Other available drones have their own control panels and may behave differently.

Once you have readied the drone by creating a Launch Pad and viewing the drone on your device, it is ready to fly.

The first thing you will do is turn on the power. Press the propellAR button at the bottom of the control panel. The propellers will spin (remember, other drones may behave differently!) and the red light will turn green.

Holding your device from the bottom of the screen and using your two thumbs to move the purple joysticks, put the drone into the air by moving joystick A in the UP direction. Lower it by moving toward DOWN. Now fly FORWARD, REVERSE, LEFT, and RIGHT by moving joystick B in those directions.

Note that as you push the joystick further from the center, speed is increased, and that the joystick automatically returns to the center if you lift your tum off of your screen. Start with small movements at the center of the joystick until you get the hang of it. If you let go of both controls, the drone will come to a stop and hover in its current location.

Also note that the controls on joystick B move the drone relative to the drone itself, not to you, so the FORWARD direction is always the direction that the drone is facing, which is not necessarily away from you! To rotate the drone to the left or right, move joystick A in the LEFT and RIGHT directions. Other drones may move relative to the target, or to you. Experiment and find out!

By controlling elevation and rotation with joystick A and direction with joystick B simultaneously, you should soon have complete control over the flight of the drone!

The buttons in the four corners of the control panel activate a trail of smoke, flames, confetti, or bubbles!
You can land the drone anywhere yourself, or to bring it to the Launch Pad, press the power button again. The drone will return to the launch and shut off its engines.


WHERE DID IT GO? You will have better control if the Launch Pad is always in view on the screen somewhere (even behind the controls), but you may be able to follow it with the camera on your device beyond the range of the Launch Pad if your environment has enough background detail for the drone to tell where it is. Notice that the locator arrow always points to the drone, even if you can't see it. However, if you do lose it, just point your camera at the Launch Pad and press the power button, and your drone will return home.

JITTERS? If the drone seems jittery, make sure you have good light on the Launch Pad. In some cases, if you move the camera away from the Launch Pad, the drone will continue to persist for a while, but it may become unstable eventually. Get the Launch Pad back on your screen to re-orient and stabilize the drone.

TOO DARK? If your lighting isn't good enough to see the Launch Pad, use the light icon in the upper left or your screen to turn on your flash to see it. The icon is only present if you actually have a light on your device.

Several privacy-relevent permissions are requested by this app:

CAMERA: This permission allows this application to use the camera on your device to recognize images through the camera and show dynamic on-screen content on top of what you see through the camera. Additional, the camera may be used to take screen shots from within the app.

SD CARD: This permission allows screenshots that you take within the app to be saved to the SD card on your device, if you have configured your camera to save to the SD card.

NETWORK: This permission allows this application to download upgrades and additional drones from within the application.

YOUR CONSENT: By using this app, you consent to this privacy policy.

If there are questions regarding this app, you may contact us at

This support page was last modified on March 3, 2018