Erle Robotics has launched the first drone with apps, the Erle-Copter Ubuntu Core special edition, a smart drone using a special cloud version of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu.

The smart quadrocopter can, with any web browser, install drone apps or “snaps” which add new behaviors and functions. The app themselves are made in Robot Operating System (ROS), a collection of open-source software frameworks designed for programming robotic behavior.

"In a few years ROS has changed the robotics field. It has unified universities and industry around the world, enhanced collaboration, sharing of algorithms and reuse of code. A task that traditionally could take months can be developed within days using ROS," said CTO of Erle Robotics, Victor Mayoral Vilches.

This collaboration between various open source software projects helps developers avoid the costly, complicated, and slow process to use proprietary software. No more waiting for a license or checking if something is compatible, developers can install the ROS suite and begin programming immediately on virtual robots, upload them to a robot app store, and then run them on the real thing.

The Erle-Copter Ubuntu Core special edition retails for 399.00€ (approx 450 USD).