5 Things I Think Will Revolutionize the APM

  1. The Release of the 3D Robotics Rover.  This is extremely significant because an APM compatible rover will help drive up the amount of users and contributors to the Rover side of the APM Open Source Development (ArduRover is used far less than ArduPlane and ArduCopter).  Once ArduPlane, Copter, and Rover all become more equal as far as user base we should start to see the APM turn into a more universal product that will be getting extremely close to being ready for commercial applications and entrepreneurs.
  2. The ability to Run Multiple Ardu Softwares simultaneously for "Hybrid Type" vehicles like a QuadRover, HeliBoat, or QuadPlane)  These types of vehicles seem to be very popular with the hobbyist base of APM users who enjoy building their own vehicles and concepts themselves.  The real do it yourselfers in the Diy Drones Community aren't limited by creativity or imagination for drone concepts.  We are limited by the small selection of affordable Drone Hardware, Accessories, and overall product selection when it comes down to commercial grade products at a consumer price.
  3. Sense and Avoid open source collaboration will take off like a rocket when 3DR releases their Rover Platform because this will allow for this extremely large community to take part in the development of Sense And Avoid Software safely from the ground.  If you seemed puzzled by my last sentence try looking at it this way.  The community can't safely Open Source Develop a good Sense and Avoid System in the "sky" because this is not only extremely dangerous but we would all go through a dozen quads a month testing out confirmed and potential software codes for the system.  "I estimate that 50% or more of the software for an Aerial Sense and Avoid System could be written safely on the ground using rovers".
  4. The release of APM compatible accessories and attachments will allow for a wider variety of applications that the APM will be able to be used for.  This will also allow for a wider variety of companies and entrepreneurs to join in on the Open Source Development and Collaboration. "This will revolutionize this community greatly because during open source development here the biggest obstacle is that we all use different brands of electronics which doesn't allow for everyone to be able to run certain functions or software with the equipment they own".  "If we are all universally using the same brand (such as 3D Robotics) electronics, attachments, motors, batteries, etc it will take this Open Source Community to the Upper Echelon of Open Source Communities".
  5. The Release of 3D Robotics Marine Vehicles such as water surface vehicles and submersible marine vehicles.  Currently Agriculture is ranked as the #1 current marketable application for commercial drones but I would argue that before the end of the decade the Marine Drone market will be the largest non military application for commercial grade drones .  This will allow for universities all over the world to add a low cost submersible drone to their current marine biology and oceanography programs with a low cost marine vehicle for lakes and other bodies of waters.  It would probably catch the eye of government agencies like the Department of Natural Resources and other environmental groups and agencies who are currently looking to attach sensors and hi-tech cameras onto Quads and Marines Vehicles for scientific purposes such as Environmental 3D Mapping and ecosystem management.  Many government agencies need these ASAP so if a company like 3D Robotics can provide them with a suitable product the Government is more likely to award grants to companies like 3DR for Drone R & D


"Take it Easy Diy Drones",

Joshua Johnson - Diy Drones News- Drone Cafe -

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  • Admin


    Innovation is born from need to explore and make things better. IMO, sticking in comfort zone may not lead to innovations if not expanding your horizon. What does not work well today will work better if we try to fix it and I guess that is bottom line of this Diy community.  And where is fun in doing the same thing again and again.


  • PIX sounds good, but TBH, I just don't want to deal with a different IDE (I use VS for everything, thanks to visual micro, Arduino / APM as well), or compiler issues.


    Is the PIX's OS,IDE, complier, bug free?


    I honestly don't know, but I do know, I have a stable version of Arduino, AVR, and so my code will work first time (ya right), well at least it will work, once I fix MY bugs. So I, like many, use something we know will work, over something "new", unless we have too.


    For the hobby guys, I think it's the same issue?

  • T3

    a monopoly inhibits innovation and competition, increases price and leads to closed source products, whereas some competition stimulates business and innovation. Additionally, IMHO terms like Upper Echelon do not fit together well with the spirit of Open Source.

  • JJ -

    The CPU of the APM is already working as hard as it can.  This is especially true in copter mode, hence why Dan "HotSeat" Neault found the APM didn't have cycles required to handle implementation of his sense and avoid project.  Furthermore, the only way for more work to be added to the APM is for someone to painstakingly go back through the code and compact things down to free up some memory.  As I understand it, this is not a task that many of us are capable of doing. Only long term contributors like Randy Mackey are even familiar enough with the code as a whole to carry this task out effectively.

    It is also my understanding that, even if someone with the requisite skills and knowledge does go back over the APMs firmware to performs this rather unrewarding and loveless task, this will inevitably bring with it a new set of challenges.  These challenges include increasing the complexity of the task associated with adding new code, as well as tracing faults and debugging new firmware solutions.

    The APM has also become a product which 3DR no longer has the ability to manufacture (to it's own imposed standards) while remaining price competitive with other suppliers (such as HK, and to a lesser extent RCTimer) who (while doing nothing wrong or illegal) are not constrained by the same cost structure and make no contribution to development whatsoever.

    The PixHawk has also been designed to accommodate future aspirations (such as VTOL, which is an aspiration for many) and has been further revised/refined, both hardware and firmware, based on the feedback of hundreds who have participated in the Iris Developer Edition.

    For the above mentioned reasons I expect that the APM is at the end of it's growth cycle, and that the vast majority of all future development will be focused on the PixHawk.  PIX4/PixHawk has loads more memory than the Atmel 2560 and a mountain of headroom in the CPU, making it far easier to add additional features to the firmware. Therefore, I think this post is better aimed at the PixHawk, rather than the APM.

  • @Scott,  My hopes are that it will provide for longer unmanned trips because Quads really drain a lot of battery power hovering over things for observation when they could simply land and use little energy to observe the area using it in rover mode.

  • @Scott,  For sure!!!!  I currently am drawing up and CAD designing a QuadRover on Inventor.  I think it would be amazing to be able to have the rover be able fly over obstacles and also fly to locations like Lake Islands and land for Rover observations.

  • IF the PIX has as much room as they brag about and IF they decide to allow you to load it with multiple 'pilots' this will be a huge advancement. I'd love to flip between rover and quad, or quad and plane. It'd make long range VTOL very interesting. 

  • @Aaron,  Wow I checked out the website and your exactly right.  #5 sounds almost exactly what that site is about.

  • @Morli,  I agree that 3DR can't handle that load ATM but I do think they have a real good shot at being able to create a more even playing field among the user base as more products get released.  I don't hope to see a Monopoly in place on the DIY Market either but most of us in this community spend most of our time open source developing for 3DR products so as more products get released more people with wider varieties of specialties will be able to start contributing.  Hopefully we can get some Geniuses in R/C Batteries to start contributing here!! :)  I wanna be able to fly a quad for a couple hours or more at a low cost :)  Maybe solar is still the answer?

  • @Thorsten,  Why are you not so sure? Please explain :)

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