The Gazebo

6 min read

Let's say you're a software developer or entrepreneur who daydreams "With today's technology, I bet I could make a robot that does something useful". Then you look for programmable robots on the market and find they're all either:

  1. STEM projects for children.
  2. VERY expensive products for military.

And they're always closed, proprietary systems, as in you have to buy their robot to try out their technology, you have to be in a relationship before tasting the goods.

On the other hand, Astral makes a system that is open to any robot hardware that you can install our SDK on. We support open-source platforms like PX4, Ardupilot, you name it. We sell a quadcopter, but only as reference hardware to save you the trouble of building your own. But what if you wanted to try out programming a robot without buying or building one? So then you look for drone simulators, and they're all either:

  1. for human pilots
  2. ...and that's it.

I'm almost exaggerating. There's one open-source simulator for robots, Gazebo. It's great, except it only runs on Ubuntu, and setting it up with a simulated programmable quadcopter to develop code you can then transfer to a real quadcopter is so hard it's basically impossible.

But despair not, intrepid dreamer, for we braved the cold waters of Gazebo for you, and put together a simulator - with our SDK preinstalled - that you can run anywhere in a virtual machine. This means you can create a drone app, run it in the simulator, see your simulated drone appear in the Astral mobile app, and then run that same code in a physical robot!

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) 

Oh and our simulator is free. You can get it at We use it ourselves for the development of advanced features, which we'll cover in upcoming blogs.

So give it a spin, try one of our sample apps, and dream until your dreams come true.