2015 DIY Drones year in review: it was a big one!

2015 was a year of remarkable progress in the consumer drone world, and not least here. As is customary, these are some of the highlights of the year on the DIY Drones and APM software development community. 

  • APM: Copter 3.3 released after the most exhaustive beta-testing process we've ever done (5,100 comments in the beta testing thread alone!). The biggest change was the move to an Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) for all sensor fusion, which is incredibly powerful in allowing us to bring in integrate new sensors as well as better flight performance. But the list of other features and performance improvements is pretty astounding, but puts this amongst the most powerful drone software stacks in the world.  
  • APM: Plane 3.4 brought those same performance features (and a zillion more) to fixed-wing aircraft.
  • APM: Rover 2.5 sync'd all that up with a new release for ground rovers, too. 

Overall, the dev team has never been bigger or busier. And the platform is gaining in popularity at an extraordinary rate, and is now the leading open UAV platform in the world, with an estimated 750,000 users based on latest firmware and terrain download data.

DIY Drones grew strongly this year, too (see chart above), with an average of 1,000 new members and 1.3m pageviews per month.  More than 1,400 blog posts were published in 2015, and almost 6,000 discussion group threads with nearly 50,000 comments. 

Meanwhile, our umbrella organization, the Dronecode Project, grew nearly 200% in 2015, with core projects such as APM and PX4 being joined by big companies such as Qualcomm, Intel, Baidu, Box, Parrot, Yuneec and Walkera as well as sister open source software projects such as ROS (Open Source Robotics Foundation) and OpenTx.

In short, it was a big year! I wanted to take this moment to thank all the people who made it happen:

  • Randy, Tridge and and the rest of the APM Dev Team, who work tirelessly to invent the future
  • Tom and Gary and the rest of the DIY Drones moderators,  who work tirelessly to make this a great place to learn and share
  • The members who gave so much of their time, ideas, help and inspiration to make this community thrive

You all rock. It's an inspiration to see what you make here every day. 


Views: 1251

Comment by Gary Mortimer on January 1, 2016 at 11:56pm

The difference between copter and plane downloads is staggering! Happy new year to everyone.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 2, 2016 at 12:04am

Yep. It's a rotary-wing world these days. My heart is still with wings, but all I fly is copters these days. Just so much easier. 

Comment by benbojangles on January 2, 2016 at 12:54am

@Gary 2016 is going to be my year of Plane, having never flown an RC plane I decided that this has to change for me, and the cost is small to begin now I have all the UAV gear.

I also think 2016 is the year that most quad buyers will realise the broad difference between a small quad racer, and a quad drone, and pursue one or the other depending on their wishes. I think drones are much more intuitive.

Comment by Bill Bonney on January 2, 2016 at 1:22am
In October 2012 it was 1.4million in a month. Only 30,000 members.

I made a comment about DIYDrones page views here http://diydrones.com/profiles/blog/show?id=705844%3ABlogPost%3A2142...

page views per day seems to be trending slightly downwards since mid 2014

add to that the time spent by each person on the site is dropping.
Comment by Laser Developer on January 2, 2016 at 3:49am

Congratulations to all the hard working developers from the team at LightWare.

Comment by Antonio Vigoni on January 2, 2016 at 4:39am

Great job team

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on January 2, 2016 at 6:00am

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the stats, most impressive!


Tom C Admin

Comment by Pete Hollands on January 2, 2016 at 6:06am

Good luck at CES 2016, and the move to Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China., 

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 2, 2016 at 7:37am

Can we get the TradHeli download breakout numbers?  <winces>

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 2, 2016 at 8:38am

Rob: 2,600 for Heli (split evenly between APM and Pixhawk)


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