As they say, the last 10% of the development takes 90% of the time. But we're getting close. Here's the latest:
--ArduPilot: we're now on the second beta of the commerical board, which will be manufactured and sold by a commerical partner to be named soon. Fingers crossed, we've finally squashed all the bugs. As soon as the manufactured boards (PCB plus robotic pick-and-place SMD component assembly) come back from our partner in a week or two, we'll optimize the code on the simulator, and then tweak settings in the air on various airframes. I don't think we'll have a formal beta-testing process, since all the changes will be in the open source code, not the hardware, and will be constantly evolving with your help.
ArduPilot will be sold as a board with SMD parts already soldered and basic firmware loaded in both the Atmega and Attiny (for the failsafe). The user will have to solder on a few easy through-hole parts, such as connectors, which will come in the kit. Out of the box, the autopilot will be return-to-launch only, which is to say that when enabled it will simply return the GPS coordinates of its starting position. Adding waypoints will simply be a matter of adding GPS coordinates to the code in the Arduino IDE and downloading it.
Later, we'll have stand-alone waypoint editing and groundstation software, but that may not be done until we release ArduPilot Pro, early next year. Right now I'm expecting ArduPilot to go on sale around the end of October, target price $29. (required GPS and FMA Co-Pilot sold separately)
--BlimpDuino: Tomorrow I'll post the final board and component parts list, and the beta code a few days later. This board has evolved considerably since its orgins, with the addition of vectoring thrusters, an optional RC mode and ports for optional Bluetooth, magnetometer (compass) and other sensors. This one will go through a beta-testing process (positions already filled, sorry!) before commerical release.
The commerical kit will consist of the everything you need to make a programmable autonomous blimp (board, gondola, motors and vectoring thruster assembly, envelope and one ground beacon), which I believe is the first time such a product has been offered. The only thing you'll need to add is helium, a LiPo battery and a RC unit if you want to also enable manual control. Target price: well under $100.
We hope to have BlimpDuino on the market in November.
As always, both ArduPilot and BlimpDuino will remain totally open source, so if you'd rather order the parts from the various suppliers and build it yourself, you're very much encouraged to do so and we'll do our best to help you. The commercial versions are for those who don't feel confident enough with SMD soldering or otherwise want the security of a pre-made board. We don't intend to make money on them (although we'll ensure that our commerical partner can get a margin that makes it worth their while to offer it)