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Introducing Kirogi: A ground control application for drones

Sunday, 8 September 2019  |  eike hein


Today I'm in beautiful Milano, Italy, where the KDE community has gathered for its annual user and developer conference, Akademy. At Akademy I've had an opportunity to present my new KDE project to a larger audience: A ground control application for drones, Kirogi.

A screenshot of Kirogi's direct flight controls screen
Kirogi's direct flight controls screen

Kirogi aims to enable the operation of drones of all sorts of makes and models in an approachable and polished manner, with both direct and map-based control modes and many more features planned for the future.

The origin story behind the Kirogi project is a classic open source tale. During this year's Lunar New Year holiday, I was paying a visit to family in Busan, South Korea (the name Kirogi is Korean and means wild goose). During the off-days I ended up buying my first drone. I attempted the first flight in my mother-in-law's living room. Unfortunately the official vendor application immediately started crashing after take off - much to my embarassment, I couldn't land the thing! Eventually it slowly drifted towards a very nice armchair (sorry mom!) and crashed on contact with an emergency engines-off.

Turns out the app I was using had been replaced by a newer, seperate app store upload intended for a newer drone - and the app I had wasn't fully compatible with a newer version of the phone's OS anymore. I realized open source can serve drone owners better there and started hacking on this new KDE application a few days later.

Since then I've received a lot of support and help from many people in the fantastic KDE community, including Krita-powered artist L. 'AsmoArael' C., who responded to a request I posted KDE's Artists Wanted forum and helped me realize Kirogi's mascot:

A drawing of Kirogi's mascot, a farm goose and technology enthusiast
Kirogi's mascot, a farm goose and technology enthusiast

If you want to know more about the project's origins and dive further into the technical details, I invite you to check out the slides for the talk I gave today. It was recorded on video as well; I will add a link once it's been made available.

The project also has a website already. Along with much additional information on the project it features download links for nightly development builds.