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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What about starting up a Quadcopter based shield for the ArduPilot Mega or even ArduPilot? ArduPilot Mega main board would be a capable main controller. The community could create the shield with custom sensors and features specific for a quadcopter. The guys at AeroQuad already uses Arduino for their main controller. Maybe some persuasion is in order. :)
Hello All:

I have been RC cars for years and just recently started building my first quad copter the Aeroquad.
The people in their forums are VERY helpful!

The next iteration of the AeroQuad Shield ver 2.0 is in the works.
Please come check us out.

http://aeroquad.com
http://code.google.com/p/aeroquad/

Regards,
Randall
Randall,

I already beat you to it. Check the second post in this thread. However, it is always nice to have backup!!!

Regards,
TCIII
The AeroQuad would be a great candidate for this option as well. The software already works with a shield that plugs into the Mega. That's what I currently have in the VTOL plane I'm testing. It's running analogWrite for esc's and the "servo" library for the motor tilting servos.
I'd just like to voice my support of this idea. I had been thinking about doing a quadcopter (with adaptations for high quality photography) and had been contemplating going with something like AeroQuad or perhaps merging that software into the ArduPilot mega hardware when that comes out. That said I have been spending all my spare time on my Camera Axe project so I just haven't had time. Most likely in the next six months I'll just pick one of the quadcopter projects. After I get the basics working, I'll modify it slightly for my needs.

If diyDrones takes a project that's out there and applies a bit more polish and makes it more accessible to the community I think that will be a top contender for my needs. I would hope that you could get the author of the original project on board with the diyDrones project since while this isn't required in the open source community I know I appreciate it when others work with me on to expand my open source project instead of just branching it.
Hi all,

Ardupilot Mega will be a winner for quadcopters.

Cool features of Ardupilot Mega and new sensor shield for quads:
- Arduino based
- USB port for programming/debugging
- ATMega1280, 128K program memory, lot´s of analog and digital I/Os
- 8 channel PPM encoder (with 1us resolution)
- 8 Servo Outputs (Hardware interrupt supported). We can easily modify the frequency for the ESC´s up to 400Hz. Resolution 1us.
- Support different GPS (Ublox, NMEA, ...) using standard arduino libraries.
- 16Mbit EEPROM Datalogger to record flights (very usefull for debug also)
- Dedicated two way serial port for telemetry
- External 12bit ADC. Sampling frequency is now 400Hz.
- Invensense gyros (better with vibrations)
- Absolute pressure sensor (Bosch)
- Port for external 3 axis magnetometer
- Output to trigger camera (Relay switch for cameras, lights or payloads).
- Status leds and input switches

I have tested the Ardupilot Mega with the beta sensor shield in a quad (60cm size) with very good results (I ported the ArduIMU quadcopter code). I have started the tests for the navigation algorithms.
I think this could be a very nice solution and users will have an added value for his money becuase the same hardware could be used for planes and quadcopters...

Jose.
Jose,

The only problem that I have with your quadrarotor design is that it does not support counter-rotating propellers and it only supports one configuration (+).

Just a thought.

Regards,
TCIII
In addition to (x) config I also need a robust GUI and tricopter version which I current have access to.
RCvertt,

Also, Jose does not have a Configurator style interface to setup and tune his quadrarotor. Everything has to be done in the Arduino IDE serial window. Because of this, his project is not as user friendly as the Aeroquad and might cause a high level of frustration with a beginner.

Just a thought.

Regards,
TCIII
We're in good conversations with the AeroQuad folks. Might be an opportunity to merge the projects, given that we're all on the same team (Arduino folks unite!)
Hey all! I agree with Jose, the APM board looks ideal for a quad platform. I like the fact that it is using the Invensense gyros which are well immune to frequencies seen in quadcopter applications. I've been speaking with Chris and a partnership between DIY Drones and AeroQuad looks to be a good win/win situation. I would also look forward to collaborating with Jose in his excellent work with developing his DIY Drones Quad if he's open to it.

Can't wait to start working with the board! The AeroQuad software should be a quick port since we already have common code that supports the Duemilanove and the Mega... it's pretty cool that we are all apart of the Arduino family!

Ted (Mikro from AeroQuad)
I agree with you and Chris. Jose's quad sounds like a really good solution as well. Seams like every one could benefit from integrating parts of all these Arduino projects.

Very exciting news guys!

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