I heard a rumor ... hope it was false.

Through the grapevine i heard that 3dr will discontinue continue support for APM 2.5.2/ 2.6  after the release of ArduCopter v3.2 in favor of the PixHawk.

Is this true? If this is what does this mean for ones who have invested in 2.6?

-curious george

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  • What would be great for the community would be an APM 3.

    Programmatically separate the navigation controller from the flight controller and give each its own ATMega.  It could be a single board or 2 stackable boards.

    This would leave lots of room to grow, while allowing the community to continue using the Arduino environment with which we have become comfortable and proficient.

    • Would you really not prefer just plain C++?

      The AP project has kind of outgrown Arduino, and the quick small prototypes it was made for. Practically all libraries have been replaced by others. Even the bootstrap. There is some struggling here and there to get the original implementations to "shut up". The IDE had to be modded and the last thing I heard, it it not usable at all any more.

      I'd like to see it go. The bootloader solution for AVR can exist without that too.



    • That would be good, also.

      I was thinking of the ease with which it could be accomplished on Arduino.  No porting of the code to another compiler would be necessary.  The libraries are already there.  If the control and navigation code were separate, neither would overwhelm its processor, memory, or the IDE.

    • Even with a second Atmega, there is not enough power for the current functions.

      There is no way to do floating point calculation with an 16Mhz 8bit cpu.

      Pixhawk gives really big advantages, so forget the APM ... ;-)

    • Hmmm...  that's news to me and, I'm sure, everyone else doing floating point math on them.

  • It makes sense what with the limitations of the atmega chip. I have made several arduino projects that fill the chip and it does leave me frustrated. I'm assuming the pixhawk uses an ARM based chip now? What's the processing speed of the current pixhawk chip? And how much RAM does it have?

    Oh I would love to have a pixhawk setup, but I'm still learning with my diy quad :) One day when I escape the Gulag ;)

  • 3D Robotics

    Just a few points of clarification. 

    1)  No need for rumors! All code development and discussion is done in public on the dev list and you're welcome to read or participate. It's open to all. APM support and the roadmap is all discussed and decided by that team there. 

    2) As Josh pointed out in the comments, the issue is that the dev team is adding features that now go beyond the memory capacity of APM. Rather than stop innovating or not taking advantage of the superior power of Pixhawk, they're going to release one last super solid codebase for APM (which will be supported for years) and then make new releases 32-bit only. This is the same thing that came up as we went from the original ATMega 1280 APM1 to the ATMega 2560 APM 2, with twice as much memory. Software support for the APM 1 continued for years after the hardware was continued. The dev team is good about this!

    3) Just to be clear, the open source dev teams are independent of 3DR. 3DR just does the hardware, and the hardware support for APM will continue for a long time.

    4) Finally, even though 3.2 may be the last new copter software for APM, it will be supported (including any bugfixes, if necessary) for years. And the apps/GCSs and cloud services will continue to improve, all supporting APM. So if you've got an APM you can be sure that it will perform as well or better as it does now for many years. That's the advantage of being part of a larger platform, where much of the innovation can happen outside the flight controller itself. 

    • Thanks Chris,

      Great to hear your vision of the industry at the SUASBX last week. I am really excited to see what 3DR and folks such as Drone Deploy will bring to the table, and I hope you and other developers continue to help the FAA along it's route to SENSIBLE and Workable integration of SUAV's both into the NAS through you guys and DD integration into the Internet of THINGS. 

      Thanks for supporting APM into the future, even as you embrace new and better technology. One of my biggest issues with Apple was their wholesale abandonment of users almost the second the new product shipped. I am so pleased to see 3DR is not going down that path. 

      I also want to commend your tech writers or at least the organization of whomever's tech writing is published on 3DR's documentation section. Clear illustrations with even clearer instructions is refreshing to say the least. As a APM 2.6 total noob It is appreciated to no end.


    • 3D Robotics
      Thanks, Matt! That's one of the great things about being community-led. There's really strong support for users of all stripes, not just those using the latest stuff. The APM 1 1280 support went on about two years longer than expected!
    • "they're going to release one last super solid codebase for APM"

      Excellent news, I just can't wait ! 

      Hopefully this firmware won't suffer any export restrictions so that we can use it in Europe ;-)

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