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 ArduPilot.com. 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.
- 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!