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Parrot drone Bebop

There is another toy from Parrot — drone called Bebop. My task is to prepare simple tracking of Parrot Hat (old AR Drone 2 could do that, so why not the follower?). Bebop is more professional at first sight: extra battery is part of the basic package, spare propellers, GPS, full HD camera, 8 time more powerful computer, 14 megapixels Fisheye camera with user selectable ROI … so I am quite curious how it will work from Python . Blog update: 30/4 — Paparazzi?!

This is a blog about my experience with Parrot Bebop drone. She received "working name" Katarina … I expected that it will be roar and originally wanted to name it Katrina, but I changed my mind as there was too much destruction behind that name.
At the moment I am not sure if I will write this blog in Czech or English — we will see if the world is more interested then Czech community … at the moment it will be mix of both.
The drone is loan from Czech Parrot distributor (last time it was minidrone Jessica). Thanks




31st January 2015 — First talk to "dragon"

I would like to write some notes in parallel to github development, similar to other projects. It helps me to remember some details and it could better explain my steps for random reader/developer.
Today I unpacked Bebop and powered it up. It was quite noisy even I did not take off … there is a fan for the processor probably (?). My first task was to take a picture but now I am happy that the drone started to talk to me .
I would recommend document Parrot Bebop Drone Hacking. But the hint, how to establish communication with the drone, is from here. It is necessary to do „discovery step” before you can use ports c2d_port and d2c_port. TCP is used on, port 44444 and you have to first send JSON to the drone with controller_type, controller_name and d2c_port. See diff for details.
The Python scripts sent:
{"controller_type":"computer", "controller_name":"katarina", "d2c_port":"43210"}
and received:
{ "status": 0, "c2d_port": 54321, "arstream_fragment_size": 1000,
"arstream_fragment_maximum_number": 128, "arstream_max_ack_interval": 0,
"c2d_update_port": 51, "c2d_user_port": 21 }
To be continued .

2nd February 2015 — Parsing Navdata

At first I would like to thank Darryl for his supportive mail . It pushed me to get some data from d2c_port. I started with copy and paste from Heidi code (UDP sockets), so I call them again NAVDATA_PORT and COMMAND_PORT.
The code was simple:
robot = Bebop()
for i in xrange(100):
    robot.update( cmd=None )
and because it already generated logs with date/time I have test for 1, 10 an 100 messages (see related diff).
The structure looks similar to Jessica (Rolling Spider). Code 2, then type of queue (?), increasing index and length of the whole data packet. There is now for separate parsing and if you run it on logged data you will see something like:
m:\git\ARDroneSDK3\katarina> navdata_150201_211239.bin
127 1 size 35
127 2 size 23
127 3 size 23
127 4 size 19
127 5 size 23
127 6 size 23
127 7 size 19
127 8 size 23
127 9 size 23
127 10 size 19
0 1 size 15
127 11 size 23
127 12 size 23
127 13 size 19
127 14 size 23
127 15 size 23
127 16 size 19
The counters are separate and so far it looks like that the 0-queue contains only 15bytes long message.
This is the content:
02 00 01 0F 00 00 00 5D 01 00 00 99 56 57 0C
02 00 02 0F 00 00 00 5E 01 00 00 87 C8 93 0D
02 00 03 0F 00 00 00 5F 01 00 00 A7 9E A7 0D
02 00 04 0F 00 00 00 60 01 00 00 CF 39 B7 0D
02 00 05 0F 00 00 00 61 01 00 00 0D EB F7 0E
02 00 06 0F 00 00 00 62 01 00 00 A2 85 0E 0F
So again some counter and checksum or time??
In 127 or 0xFE "queue" the 19bytes long messages looks the same all the time (except increasing counter):
02 7F 04 13 00 00 00 01 04 08 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
23 bytes message are two types:
02 7F 02 17 00 00 00 01 04 06 00 E8 6D E6 3C F5 7D 20 BC AA 4D 85 3B
02 7F 03 17 00 00 00 01 04 05 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
02 7F 05 17 00 00 00 01 04 06 00 5B 48 E8 3C 08 D0 1E BC 28 F0 84 3B
02 7F 06 17 00 00 00 01 04 05 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
And finally 35 bytes message is so far still the same.
02 7F 01 23 00 00 00 01 04 04 00 00 00 00 00 00 40 7F
   40 00 00 00 00 00 40 7F 40 00 00 00 00 00 40 7F 40
02 7F 11 23 00 00 00 01 04 04 00 00 00 00 00 00 40 7F
   40 00 00 00 00 00 40 7F 40 00 00 00 00 00 40 7F 40
Well, it may take a while to find corresponding file in ARDroneSDK3 …

3rd February 2015 —

You would not find useful file, you have to generate it first! In particular you will need libARCommands and probably also main ARSDKBuildUtils.
Then you need to locate and run it with parameter -projects ARDrone3 (you will not find code name "Bebop").
m:\git\ARDroneSDK3\libARCommands\Xml> -projects ARDrone3
Then you can find desired files: ARCOMMANDS_Ids.h, ARCOMMANDS_Filter.c and ARCOMMANDS_Decoder.c. Interesting lines from ARCOMMANDS_Filter.c are:
commandProject = ARCOMMANDS_ReadWrite_Read8FromBuffer (…);
commandClass = ARCOMMANDS_ReadWrite_Read8FromBuffer (…);
commandId = ARCOMMANDS_ReadWrite_Read16FromBuffer (…);
So if you look for byte commandProject = 1 (ARCOMMANDS_ID_PROJECT_ARDRONE3), you will find combinations for example 01 04 04 00 in 35bytes messages in previous post. commandClass = 4 (ARCOMMANDS_ID_ARDRONE3_CLASS_PILOTINGSTATE) and commandId = 4 (ARCOMMANDS_ID_ARDRONE3_PILOTINGSTATE_CMD_POSITIONCHANGED). Now you can lookup decoding routing in ARCOMMANDS_Decoder.c:
_latitude = ARCOMMANDS_ReadWrite_ReadDoubleFromBuffer (…);
_longitude = ARCOMMANDS_ReadWrite_ReadDoubleFromBuffer (…);
_altitude = ARCOMMANDS_ReadWrite_ReadDoubleFromBuffer (…);
All three 8bytes values are 00 00 00 00 00 40 7F 40.
That could be enough to get started . See related diff.
p.s. I expected copy and paste error, but it is different "ATTITUDE" vs. "ALTITUDE"

4th February 2015 — Commands required

I asked Darryl to repeat my first step and in meantime I also did it myself this morning. And it did not work :-(. At least 100 messages did not go through. When I set the limit to 10 or even 50 it was OK. So there is some time limit when you have to send some command to the drone.
I did not mention this, but just for reference I am using Windows 7 and Python 2.7. On the other hand it should work also on other OSs so far (at the moment there is no dependency, but it will probably soon change and OpenCV2 and NumPy libraries will be required).
So how to send the command and which command would not be too dangerous? It is surely not a good idea to send takeoff first . There are commands like SetHome and ResetHome which should generate some drone response and without flying they should not be harmful.
The encoding scheme is similar to decoding:
The question is what is necessary to send before these bytes are encoded??
I will at least answer one Darryl's question: How could you tell about counter, checksum, and time?? Well, I was probably wrong with checksum, and time or better timestamp I guessed as the 4 byte number was increasing (and I am maybe wrong). But I am pretty sure about the counter. Parrot used that in ARDrone2 (absolute increasing uint32) and also for Rolling Spider (uint8). The packets can be lost in UDP communication and one way how to recognize this fact is to index them. The packets also do not have to come in the original order although it is probably not the case with direct WiFi connection.

5th February 2015 — libARNetworkAL

Lesson learned: if you want to play with ARDrone3 download ALL 14 repositories!!! Do not be lazy like me! Otherwise you may omit for example libARNetworkAL. It is the place where you will find this structure:
typedef struct
    uint8_t type;     /* frame type eARNETWORK_FRAME_TYPE */
    uint8_t id;       /* identifier of the buffer sending the frame */
    uint8_t seq;      /* sequence number of the frame */
    uint32_t size;    /* size of the frame */
    uint8_t *dataPtr; /* pointer on the data of the frame */
Not interested? Well, review the collected data now . 02 is type and it corresponds to ARNETWORKAL_FRAME_TYPE_DATAData type. Main type for data that does not require an acknowledge.
The next item was 00 or 7F and it is id. The seq was guessed correctly but size is not single byte, but whole uint32, which explains the three zeros. And the rest we were already able to decode (see diff).
So now, what to do with the problem from yesterday? How to encode whole command packet? Based on ARNETWORKAL_WifiNetwork.c and function ARNETWORKAL_WifiNetwork_PushFrame it should be the same frame as we just decoded. I would guess that like for Jessica the type=2 but I am not sure about id. According to ARNETWORK_IOBufferParam.h in libARNetwork IDIdentifier used to find the IOBuffer in a list - Valid range : 10-127.
Here is my first attempt to send command — unsuccessful :-(. But I received new messages . In particular
04 7E 01 23 00 00 00 01 18 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 40 7F C0
         00 00 00 00 00 40 7F C0 00 00 00 00 00 40 7F C0
where 04 is message with required acknowledgement (ARNETWORKAL_FRAME_TYPE_DATA_WITH_ACK), 01 18 00 00 is ARCOMMANDS_ID_PROJECT_ARDRONE3 = 1, ARCOMMANDS_ID_ARDRONE3_CLASS_GPSSETTINGSSTATE = 24, ARCOMMANDS_ID_ARDRONE3_GPSSETTINGSSTATE_CMD_HOMECHANGED = 0 … so maybe I was sucessful at the end! . This worked for id=10, but did not work for 0x7F and 0x40.
Confirmed . So one more small diff. Also for frameId=10 I received all 10+100 messages, while for other two "random" channels it stopped before 100.
OK, so the next step will be confirmation of the received message (type 4).

15th February 2015 — PING and PONG

Well, nothing really exiting yet . I tried to confirm (acknowledge) message of GPS home changed, and I did not succeed. But in that particular piece of code (see original ARNETWORK_Receiver.c:191) there is an extra switch for handling ARNETWORK_MANAGER_INTERNAL_BUFFER_ID_PONG. If you look this ID up you will find that it is 0. And what is it?
It looks like that these are the 15bytes long messages starting with 02 00 XX 0F prefix. The payload is struct timespec, which should be 8 bytes (time_t and long), probably both 4 bytes (seconds, nanoseconds).
Time 176.160592961
Time 177.181624819
Time 178.202618948
Time 179.362471135
Time 180.38329366
So it looks like PING every second, and because it is not PONGed the connection is lost after a while (I guess).
There was a small surprise regarding UDP packets. One packet can contain several messages and thus simple logging (see diff) is not sufficient. So far I have seen only combination of standard messages with these PING messages, but who knows …
  • the UDP packets are now split for reliable record and replay + asserts On/Off (diff)
  • I got ping-pong working and tested it on 1000 messages (diff)
  • thanks to Jumping Sumo sample I know how the configuration looks like … = 10/127 for normal messages, 11/126 for acknowledged
  • I received new message 04 7E 02 0C 00 00 00 00 05 01 00 38 which should mean ARCOMMANDS_ID_PROJECT_COMMON = 0, ARCOMMANDS_ID_COMMON_CLASS_COMMONSTATE = 5, ARCOMMANDS_ID_COMMON_COMMONSTATE_CMD_BATTERYSTATECHANGED = 1, value 0x38=56% … so it is probably OK, that I did not receive this always

16th February 2015 — ACK of ACK?

There was a big mistake in the code yesterday — yes, I wrote that code. It is necessary to pack payload for normal command but special cases like ACK or PING are already prepared to be sent as-they-are (see fix).
This means that ping-pong was probably not working, only the communication kept the drone busy. After the change I received strange 8 bytes messages. They had frameType 0x1 (ARNETWORKAL_FRAME_TYPE_ACK) and they were coming with frameId 0x8B?! In HEX code it is more visible. Now I would guess that it was acknowledge of my (wrongly composed) acknowledge of original home changed or battery status changed from frameId 11 = 0xB.
I am convinced now that frameId 10 is for sending standard messages without acknowledgement and 11 for any (?) messages for which I would like to get acknowledgement. I did not succeed to send ACK probably, because the message from the drone was still repeated. The plan is to try (again) frameType 0x1 (ARNETWORKAL_FRAME_TYPE_ACK — Acknowledgment type. Internal use only … but I am probably working on "internal" now), and frameId = 0x7E + 0x80 … I wonder what is the chance of success :-(.
p.s. yesterday I have seen the drone die on low battery again. The last message was something like Battery 32%, so the main computer eats a lot or it has set auto-shutdown threshold relatively high.
p.s.2 it looks like it worked (diff) …

17th February 2015 — Low latency video stream

It is time for the next step. I found ARCOMMANDS_ID_ARDRONE3_MEDIASTREAMING_CMD_VIDEOENABLE in the list of IDs and tried to call it (see diff). There were many new messages almost 1kB long and they looked like:
03 7D 7D F4 03 00 00 07 00 01 00 1F 00 00 00 01 27 42 E0 28 …
03 7D 7E F4 03 00 00 07 00 01 01 1F DE 11 5A 4E 70 5E BE F6 …
03 7D 7F F4 03 00 00 07 00 01 02 1F 96 C4 44 3E A3 7F 0E 0D …
03 7D 80 F4 03 00 00 07 00 01 03 1F D1 8B 07 A2 57 2A 86 C7 …
At first I was happy to see 00 00 00 01, which is used as start tag in H.264 video codec. I cut that part and tried to replay it with old Heidi code. I saw image patches of reality, but also many errors.
Later I recorded longer communication (instead of 100 messages it was 1000 and 5000) and I was surprised that not all packets arrived and that they are repeating. Why? The answer is simple: they have to be acknowledged.
Note 03 at the beginning — this is a new type of frames (ARNETWORKAL_FRAME_TYPE_DATA_LOW_LATENCY). Also note, that there is a new frameId FD and according to Jumping Sumo Receive Stream sample could be the acknowledge frameId equal to JS_NET_CD_VIDEO_ACK_ID = 13.
Both I/O structures look reasonable (see libARStream/ARSTREAM_NetworkHeaders.h):
typedef struct {
    uint16_t frameNumber; /** id of the current frame */
    uint8_t frameFlags; /** Infos on the current frame */
    uint8_t fragmentNumber; /** Index of the current fragment in current frame */
    uint8_t fragmentsPerFrame; /** Number of fragments in current frame */
} __attribute__ ((packed)) ARSTREAM_NetworkHeaders_DataHeader_t;
So in my example 07 00 01 00 1F is frameNumber = 7, frameFlags is so far always 1 (FLUSH FRAME), fragmentNumber is increasing and 1F is fragmentNumber.
Now it is time to implement video packet acknowledgement:
typedef struct {
    uint16_t frameNumber; /** id of the current frame */
    uint64_t highPacketsAck; /** Upper 64 packets bitfield */
    uint64_t lowPacketsAck; /** Lower 64 packets bitfield */
} __attribute__ ((packed)) ARSTREAM_NetworkHeaders_AckPacket_t;
i.e. there are up to 128 frame fragments which have its own confirmation bit.

18th February 2015 —

It looks like the video packet confirmation works (see code diff). Note, that the frame fragments can be in random order and there could be also some duplicities. Because I wanted to see the video and I was not patient enough, I wrote simple brute force utility which sorts the fragments in the memory and creates video file (see And it works.
I am using code from Heidi to replay the video file ( or directly But because the file does not contain PaVE headers any more, you can directly load it with OpenCV:
import cv2
cap = cv2.VideoCapture( "video.bin" )
ret, frame =
cv2.imwrite( "first-video.jpg", frame )
and this is my first result:
first successfully transfered video frame
first successfully transfered video frame
I know that the picture of the side view of our fridge is not very exciting.
If you want just to see the frame(s), use:
cv2.imshow('image', frame)
with wait in milliseconds or 0 for pause until user press any key. And finally if you want your code to be as it should be clean it all at the end:
Yesterday I finally took off. It was only in Free Flight 3 application but still it was exciting. The bad news is that Bebop has the same problem as Rolling Spider — you cannot land until you complete takeoff sequence :-(. That means troubles and I hope Parrot will soon change this in the future firmware.
The second observation was related to image stabilization — I did not notice it before, or there is some setting to turn it on/off, but if you tilt your drone the image does not tilt . The same if you point up and down it remains stable. The application asked for magnetometer calibration before (which I did not because I was afraid that it will take off), and yesterday we calibrated it. So maybe that was why it is now working?
What do to next? I plan to try move image ROI (region of interest), switch to HD video resolution (from the picture you can see that it was 640x368), take 14Mb resolution picture … and probably finally takeoff, move and land autonomously .

20th February 2015 — Camera Tilt/Pan and Emergency

Yesterday I experimented with camera tilt and pan (diff). It was fun, because it worked immediately . Yes, except detail, that the byte for setting camera angle is signed, so packing once failed, but the fix was trivial.
I implemented also utility — basically a short code for playing video as I was describing it in the previous report. Now, as soon as you finish your test, you can replay your video directly from navdata log file.
This morning I tried first takeoff(). It is always exciting, kind of adrenalin fun, because you do not know what will happen. I was holding Katarine tight, and called robot.takeoff() followed by robot.emergency() from Python script, i.e. cut motors as soon as you start them. What would you expect to happen? The propellers were still turning after the script termination!
You can turn Bebop upside down and that stops the motors, but still … it was surprise even I was ready for everything. Here is the code plus extra lines for parsing new messages: calibration info, flight number info and piloting state.
I suppose that there will be the same problem like with Rolling Spider, i.e. I will have to wait until take off sequence is completed before I can land :-(. BTW this is one of the reasons I am bit afraid to takeoff in this narrow space.

21st February 2015 — First Crash

„I told you there will be a problem!” … and yes, there was. I partially moved furniture in the living room to have enough space for the first takeoff test (code diff). The first test was over quickly: battery low, battery critical and stop, so the propellers hardly twisted.
I swapped batteries (Bebop has second battery set in the standard package, which is very nice), took off and during hover the drone slided a little bit to the left, hit the wear drier and landed. The video is not very exciting, so I picked at least one video frame recorded by the drone, when it is falling/landing and it sees its own protective hull:
Later that day I did also outdoor test with Free Flight 3 application. And that looked even more scary. There was a light breeze and at one moment the drone was completely uncontrollable (WiFi connection lost?). I wander how the black box works and if there are any data stored? I am also curious if by default was the Flight No XXX recorded?
Sigh. Nothing. Based on Bebop hacking page I would have to have enabled Black Box in /etc/debug.conf. During the tests at underground garage we probably turned off automatic video recording, so there is nothing from yesterday. Sigh. On the other hand the quality of recorded garage video is great (full HD, stable image).

22nd February 2015 — ManualControlException and FlatTrim

Katarina is finally slowly learning the same commands as Heidi. Today I added ManualControlException, something like red Emergency STOP button on every robot. For the flying drone this means land as soon as you hit any key on the keyboard. The bad news is that there is no platform independent kbhit so at the moment it works only under Windows. There was implementation with pygame on Linux version (Isabelle), but I did not test it yet and it is necessary to create some window and initialize pygame library. An alternative is Joris's Linux version — TODO (let me know if you would like to use Katarina's code on Linux or Mac). Here is the slightly bigger diff. Note, that apyros/ is copy from Heidi code.
Any exciting moments? … well at least two. First of all the drone was always moving to the left as soon as it switched to hover mode. So yesterday it was not necessary the breeze, but probably missing flat trim. Fixed. Now it stays in place.
The second funny moment was that I forgot land() command in normal run. When I hit the emergency button everything was fine, but then I let that be, actually I hit the button outside the try..except block and the drone was still flying and flying. New lesson is that you can grab the Bebop with the same trick as ARDrone2 — one hand from the top, so you do not disturb down pointing camera and sonar, and then the second hand from the bottom, and twist up-side-down.
The last step I did today was some cleaning (see diff), so now command are in separate file, trim() is finished as soon as drone confirms it and takeoff() and land() is terminated by flying state change.
What next? Redirect incoming video frames to extra working thread and look for two-colors cap:

23rd February 2015 — Fandorama

I will switch this blog to Czech language for a while. I did not expect it, but at the end the fandorama rising project was successful
There will be surely updates on github, and I will probably write major changes/discoveries in both languages, but … let me know if you find this article/blog interesting, and if I should explain or translate some parts.

20th March 2015 — Status quo

It is hard to believe that it is almost a month since I switched to Czech „blogging”. There is some progress but it is still far from perfect . In particular I am fighting now with streamed video which sometimes stops and I have to power down the drone to restart it. No idea why.
On the other hand on-board video recording works fine, so I have „internal” reference, but that is useless for autonomous navigation. It is somehow related to flying … maybe I have to send ping messages myself to keep the drone going??
I did some experiments in our garden and it turned out that the grass is not well suited for landing (it was good in one crash case, but now I mean „standard successful automatic landing”). That was old task for ARDrone2 when the detection was done by Parrot's code. This is no longer true, so I have to do it myself:
There is new folder behaviors, where you can find experimental navigation to box Image multiprocessing is prepared but not fully integrated yet. It should be fun as soon as the video stream is reliable.
What else? I did some experiments with navdata and black box according to the forum thread Hacking the Bebop. Both collects data on-board, including sonar and EKF estimates, but it is not streamed over network :-( … see Nicolas note on GitHub.
There is new Parro Bebop Protocol document. The motivation to write it down was from British forum, but no idea, if it was really useful for anybody …
Yeah and some fun from American foruma fracking geniuscan read hex like Neo reads the Matrix! … ha ha ha . No, not really. But speaking of HEX … I did some (more) experiments with H.264 codec decoding for ARDrone3 (in Czech H264 Drone Vision). And surprise, surprise … the codec is different. While ARDrone2 was sending only 16x16 macroblocks, you get finer compression on Bebop with sub-blocks down to 4x4. This means that the H264 navigation code needs some work to be done to port it on 3rd generation of Parrot's drones.

22nd March 2015 — PCMD @40Hz

This one is worth mentioning immediately. Now I know why the video streaming fails once a time! The reason is timing of PCMD messages … but let's start from the beginning.
On Saturday I finally created example when the video streaming fails without need of flying (see diff). Later I wrote even simpler example (diff), i.e. as soon as I sent the first PCMD the video stopped and was not restored until next power down and power up.
So what to do? I am glad I wrote to ARDroneSKD3/libARCommands/issues. And surprise surprise I got answer today!
When using the PCMDs, you should make sure that your send them with a fixed frequency (we use 40Hz / 25ms in FreeFlight), even if you're sending the same command every 25ms.
A change in the PCMD frequency is considered by the Bebop to be a "bad wifi" indicator. In this case, the bebop will decrease the video bandwidth (up to a "no video" condition if the indicator is really bad) in order to save the bandwidth for the piloting commands. When the PCMD frequency become stable again, the video bandwidth will rise again.
This explains a lot - in particular why it sometimes worked . If it was fixed loop like flying to requested altitude it was OK, but as soon as I switched to another task the timing was broken.
Here is small hack confirming Nicolas answer … it works, even for the second run. But … yes, there is still but, only during the times when the Tread is on sending PCMD at 40Hz, so I am asking now if it is necessary to send PCMD all the time, or if there is a way how to say „I do not want to send more PCMD!”.

8th April 2015 — Terminated.

Well, I know that The Day will come, but still it strike me out unprepared . The distributor asked me to return the drone because of some presentation. OK, what can I do. Katarina is not mine. I could buy one, but do I want to??
Interestingly enough it was after the Eastern weekend when I decided that if I want to move forward I will have to write the firmware myself or use/learn from others. Yesterday I downloaded ardupilot-mpng and paparazzi repositories … and then I received that mail.
Somehow I lost the motivation to practise landing yesterday and do the cap tracking with multiprocessing today. I deleted videos and thumbnails from the drone and I will return it in two hours … Goodbye Katarina!

14th April 2015 — Remote distributed debugging

Thanks Charles and others for mails, queries and issues on GitHub . I am not giving up yet . I do not have Bebop now, but that will probably change in May 2015. So now I am remotely debugging like with dropping incomplete video frames (diff). This one I did from old log files, but I can repeat the problems even from your new log files . Now I am waiting for Charles's confirmation that fix worked also for him.
At the moment I am studying paparazzi code for ARDrone2, but note, that there is also Bebop board code. The goal is to stream missing navdata like raw sonar readings … and maybe more. We will see.

30th April 2015 — Paparazzi?!

I had to smile yesterday, when I received notification from GitHub (regarding Mavlink seems not to work issue): If you really need to do it before the next firmware release (in the coming weeks), you can maybe look at Paparazzi. I can't provide support on it, but I think they support the bebop. It is not very easy, so maybe a small wait is better
It was hard to believe that this is the Parrot answer, but yes, it was. So I am probably on the right track learning Paparazzi for ARDrone2 at the moment, and I can confirm that reading navdata on Heidi onboard works.
Regarding Katarina I merged DEVELOP back to master — the issue with navigation Home is not solved (see Issue #7) and it is probably related to minimal height above the ground. Aldo did some experiments at 10 meters with string, but what he would need is rather MavLink. If nothing else then at least battery status and include paths in Linux are fixed and that was the main reason why I merged it.