For the last six month we (my friend and I) have been working on the development of autopilot. We called it SmartAP - Smart Autopilot.
It's all started in October 2011, when I decided to try to build our own autopilot, designed using the latest components.
Firstly, we purchased evaluation boards for a desired microcontroller, we have chosen STM32F103, based on ARM Cortex M3. Then we started to build autopilot step by step-by-step from the scratch on the breadboard, creating preliminary version of the software.
A couple of month later we had been focused on the autopilot hardware. We made our own PCB design, ordered several PCBs and SMD electronic components to produce several boards for tests. The last step was placing components on PCBs and it was done two days ago (unfortunately, MPU-6050 is missed, due to some shipment delays, we are expecting it to be delivered next week).
Yesterday was the first power-on test and all works fine!
Here is the bottom view:
Now we are working on the first final version of the software to make maiden flight. Also we are thinking about implementing some interesting features, which no one of existing autopilots has today.
We don't know exactly about the future development of this project (we definitely continue to work on this), but if there will be a demand for this, we might establish mass production and start sales.
Here are some main features:
PCB size 60x40mm, (4 layers), weight 14g
72MHz STM32 ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller
6 PWM inputs, 6 PWM outputs
IMU - Invensense MPU-6050 (using internal DMP)
Magnetometer - HMC5883
Pressure sensor - BMP085 (I wanted to use MS5611, but it was very difficult to order it)
UART port for wireless telemetry connection (e.g. Xbee)
MicroSD card slot for flight data logging
Airspeed sensor port
I'm very greatful to DIYDrones community and 3DRobotics company! A year of experience with ArduPilot Mega gave me an inspiration and good knowledge in this area, which made possible for me to build my own autopilot.
If you have any questions - feel free to ask them.