The DIY Drones and Sparkfun teams are thinking about selling and supporting one of the quadcopter platforms. But there are dozens of them out there--which one should we choose?

Here's what we need:

--Open source
--Cheap (sub $1,000 all in)
--Easy to make
--Full UAV--including GPS navigation and ground station.
--Capable of indoors and outdoors flight (ie, bigger than the Parrot AR.Drone, but not as big as the Hollywood-quality big camera lifters)
--Pretty mature in terms of software and community

Which projects fit the bill best?

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another feature you sould add: foldable.

confortable transport is for me a must

How about Mikro's Aeroquad? The manual lists all of the hardware and how to build the Aeroquad. The website maintains the software and supports the community.

Based on the Arduino 328 and is migrating to the Arduino Mega
Open Source; fairly mature software that is continually evolving
Can fly indoors and outdoors; make it any size you want
Easy and fun to make especially if you use Rusty's Rad Rotary Rev 7 airframe kit:
Will be adding GPS, altitude sensing, and OSD
Configurator acts as programmer and ground station if equipped with Xbee modules.
Very energetic community and support



My vote goes to the UAVX - a fairly mature, robust platform in need of a community.

- Don
Link for UAVX? (Is it the same as UAVP?)
It should be able to lift 500g at least, otherwise its just another toy. You can guarantee that people will want to do that out of the box.

Folding should not get in the way of integrity. Any flex in the frame will cause issues, and I mean any. But able to sit on the back seat of the car is a scheme.

We have had three UAVPs and they work.

Heres some vid from our Falcon 8, which is big and expensive but works. Thats the point you should be heading for. This is unsmoothed as well, straight out of the camera.

Unless your going really small, just for the cool factor, I don't see the point of a machine that sits firmly on the fence.

What about trying to add in some sort of wing for better performance between waypoints?

Not sure how far along OpenPilot is but that might be another platform to consider.
I'm glad this has been mentioned. I was thinking about buying one next month but I'm going to wait now until DIY Drones Start selling. Chris once you have decided on a platform have you any idea roughly how long it will take to appear in the store ?

Just a question but before you choose on which platform to start making and selling their platform, don't you need to ask the creator if they will let you? Because that might just be the deciding factor to which quad copter platform to choose??? And i think this would also play a factor on the cost.

I could be wrong, but i was under the impression that you will need to ask the creator, but since they will also be open source do you only need to say who made it and publish all changes as open source too?

And i will add a link posted here on diydrones to help ppl decide, it is a mega thread on RC groups showing all the quad copter platforms Here
Of course we would work with the creators to either resell what they're already making or manufacture their designs under the terms of their licence. But the point of only considering open source designs is that access should not be a barrier. BTW, exactly the same is true from our own technology--anybody can make and sell it if they want, as long as credit is given and it remains open source.
Sorry, I just assumed...

Adding to what has already been said, UAVX is a rebirth of the UAVP after the UAVP was declared dead because it's PIC16F876 brain was maxed out. Greg (screen name "GKE" at RC Groups) made strides by optimizing the code, but soon switched development to the PIC18F2620, which was a pin-for-pin substitute. With the new PIC, he has managed to add tons of features, almost matching the MK.

The motherboard carries all the sensors except for the GPS, which is normally mounted above. It sports 3 gyros, a 3-axis accelerometer, baro, compass, an RS-232 port, and a TTL level port. . In my opinion, it is ripe for the sensors to be replaced with an ArduIMU daughterboard. This to free the PIC to do more telemetry and navigation, although those features are already fairly robust.

Greg and his test pilot Jim (screen name "Jesolins" at RC Groups) have done all the heavy lifting, with only occasional small bits of help from the rest of us in the community. As you can imagine, they are stretched pretty thin. This is what I meant by "in need of a community". I might have said, "a community that contributes".

- Don

I pm'd Greg and Jim earlier to give them a heads up that I had mentioned UAVX, here. I also posted some more UAVX stuff further up this chain.

- Don
Hi Chris,
I have been flying quadrocopters and doing impovement mods to various quads including the XUFO, X-BL/Funpilot, Experimental brushless Draganflyer, UAVP and Mikrokopter v1-1.3 for the last 7 years. For the last year, I have been helping Prof Greg Egan with flight testing his complete re-write of the UAVP code and true open source flight firmware now called the UAVX. The UAVX only required an easy plug-in PIC upgrade to the original board. The current release v1.897 added GPS position hold and return to home. The next releases will include telemetry and ground station software, waypoint navigation and software, auto landing with ground sensing and and ultrasonic altitude detection and calibration for the critical landing feature, The firmware also allows the UAVP board to be configured as a traditional tricopter with a servo motor tilt. I am finalizing flight test this week while Greg is on a well-deserved vacation. It is a mature quad board and code. Our RCGroups forum is here with the first two posts continuously updated with build info by Greg and I: Our SVN is here:
For your consideration.
I vote for the AeroQuad it's...

--Open source
--Cheap, about 400$ if memory serves me correctly.
--Easy to make. You can follow wiring directions or better yet use the AeroQuad shield (
--Full UAV is currently under development, including GPS navigation and ground station.
--Capable of indoors and outdoors flight. There is currently a small 544 gram version ( but most of the ones that have been built are twice the size at 1000 grams and can carry 500 grams. A VTOL airplane is currently being tested with it to further enhance it's performance (
--Has a very active community. This thread is basically about the AeroQuad ( It also has it's own forum (
-Currently uses basic hobby PWM ESC's. 12c is being worked on as well.

If you can't wait for the GPS, ground station and such to be finished then I'd consider UAVX.

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