There's a huge amount to celebrate as we reflect on this community's accomplishments in 2013. Just as we did in 2012, we had record membership this year (we'll hit 50,000 members in a couple months), traffic (nearly 1.8 million pageviews a month) and engagement (hundreds of comments and blog/forums posts per day).  And the dev teams crushed it, helping making APM the leading open UAV platform and completing a successful transition to 32-bit platforms and an entirely new hardware line.

Here are just some of the achievements of the year. 

Software/Documentation Dev Teams

  • Migration to 32-bit platforms...and beyond. Thanks to important foundational work by Pat Hickey on creating a "hardware abstraction layer" (HIL) that allows the APM software to be easily ported to any hardware, the APM dev teams migrated the Copter, Plane and Rover code to the ARM-based PX4 platform. This paved the way for the release of Pixhawk, our first consumer-oriented ARM-based autopilot. Next up: a range of powerful hardware platforms, from Linux/x86 to BeagleBone Black. 
  • ArduCopter 3.x generation, led by Randy Mackay, with major advances in performance and reliability. New features include autotune (Leonard Hall), GPS glitch rejection, and fun new flight modes such as "Drift" (Jason Short). Release details in the project news feed here
  • ArduPlane 2.7x generation, led by Andrew Tridgell, with major advances in reliability navigation, including the famous "L1" controller spearheaded by Brandon Jones. (details here)
  • ArduRover 2.4x migration, led by Andrew Tridgell and Tom Coyle, which was a major rewrite to sync Rover up with the Copter and Plane codebase, ensuring that it has all the same advanced mission planning and performance features (details here)
  • Migration of manual and forums to WordPress on This was a huge project, with scores of contributors starting with Sandro Benigno and Max Levine and the 3DR IT team and then led by Gary McCray, Stefan Gofferje and Alex Paskulin from the 3DR Editorial Team.
  • APM Planner 2.0. The new cross-platform GCS (Mac, Windows, Linux) for APM and Pixhawk, which merged the look-and-feel of Mission Planner with the flexible and powerful QGroundControl architecture (with built-in support for multiple vehicles/swarming and plug-ins). Led by Bill Bonney and Michael Carpenter, with many contributions from Lorenz Meier from the PX4 team at ETH. 
  • Droidplanner/Andropilot/Droneshare. The first generation of mobile and cloud apps designed from the ground up for APM/MAVlink. Led by Kevin Hester (Andropilot and Droneshare) and Arthur Benemann (DroidPlanner). Look for a really cool and polished DroidPlanner 2.0 next week! (preview shown):
  • Mission Planner 2.x. Last but very much not least is the remarkable Mission Planner by Michael Oborne, which added a host of new features and a layer of polish this year, as part of its extraordinary evolution into one of the most fully-features GCSs available. 

3D Robotics

  • Big VC round!
  • Migrated to new Tijuana factory:
  • Opened Berkeley office:

Finally, a huge thanks to all the members, Moderators and developers who worked so hard in 2013 to make this our best year ever. This community has become something extraordinary, and every day I'm blown away by the ideas, insights, energy and creativity of the members here. Drones are hot!

Views: 1945

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on December 31, 2013 at 7:05pm

Hi Chris, 3DR, and the DIY Drones Team,

It has been really a momentous year with outstanding major achievements and I am looking forward to another eventful year filled with additional major achievements that will ensure the positions of DIY Drones and 3DR as major players in the UAS environment and future.

Happy New Year!



Comment by Gary McCray on December 31, 2013 at 9:14pm

Hi Everybody,

It was a really interesting and dynamic year and I feel very privileged to have been able to participate.

Can't wait to see what happens next year.

Have a great New Year|


Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 31, 2013 at 10:54pm

It's only going to get more exciting as people find great uses for sUAS. Tip of the iceberg stuff!

Comment by Dave Wicks on December 31, 2013 at 11:59pm
Bravo to all the hard working men and women behind 3DR and DIY Drones!
Comment by Joshua Johnson on January 1, 2014 at 12:04am
Congrats! I'm so glad I was able to be small part of it! :) I wish all the best in 2014 for another record breaking year!
Comment by Joshua Johnson on January 1, 2014 at 12:18am

@Gary its not just about Small Unmanned Aerial Systems! :)  People are going to find great uses for all types of unmanned vehicles ranging from Rovers, fixed wing planes, Quads, Small, Medium, and even large sized vehicles are tip of the iceberg stuff now. :)

Comment by Dean on January 1, 2014 at 7:57am
Such a pitty they get simple shit wrong. Like a fucked up store changeover and loosing customers store credit. Such a shame
Comment by AKRCGUY on January 1, 2014 at 4:23pm

Congrats to the whole 3DR team and all of the contributors and developers on all of the above!  Really looking forward to the new Droid Planner 2.0 and the website looks AWESOME!

Comment by John Githens on January 4, 2014 at 4:01pm

Best wishes to 3DR from the staff at DroneSpeak. Looking forward to a great 2014! And to receiving a Pixhawk! 

Comment by Dean on January 7, 2014 at 12:10am
I have called them, and emailed several times. They lost all the records when they did the diydrones store changeover. Pretty poor really.


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