3D Robotics

APM 2.0 beta released!

3689393223?profile=originalI'm delighted to announce the release of the first public beta of ArduPilot Mega 2.0. This is a significant upgrade to APM 1.02, and now delivers on full 2-way in-air communications, including real-time mission planning and autopilot control.


[UPDATE:Arduino-free code uploading added to features]


New features/changes include:

  • --Full support for the MAVlink protocol, which is now APM's default communications method.
  • --Auto-detection of GPS modules. No more requirement to tell APM what GPS module you're using--it will figure it out and configure the module appropriately!
  • 3689393150?profile=original--2-way telemetry.  Dozens of commands can now be sent from the Ground Station to the UAV while it's in the air. (see example from HK GCS at right)
  • --2-way Mission Planning. You can script and change missions in real time while the UAV is flying!
  • --Supports APM boards with the ATMega2560 chip, which has twice as much memory as the current board. The DIY Drones store will begin selling these new boards when the final version of APM 2.0 is released.
  • --Mission Planner now uploads firmware and checks for new versions online. No need for Arduino (unless you want it)!
  • --Magnetometer fully supported.
  • --Current sensor fully supported
  • --Support for the latest HK Ground Control Station and QGroundControl ground stations.
  • --Mission Planning and configuration can now be done wirelessly. No need to use USB if you don't want to.
  • --No more fiddling with a configuration file in Arduino! The software comes ready to go, right out of the box
  • --New command-line tests allow you to check failsafe operation, Xbees, radio inputs and more.
  • --New versions of HK GCS and the Mission Planner operate in MAVLink mode, allowing for wireless operation and compatibility with other MAVLink devices, including those running the Robot Operating System (ROS)


Huge props to the whole development team: Doug Weibel (project leader), Michael Smith, Jason Short, James Goppert, Michael Oborne (mission planner), Paul Mather (GCS), Lorenz Meier (MAVLink integration), Randy Mackay, Ryan Beall, Darren Corley, Joe Holdsworth, and countless others who have contributed with flight testing and bug catching!


Remember that this is an initial beta release, so there may be bugs and undocumented bits. After the beta-testing period (usually about six weeks) we'll release APM 2.0 final version, and retire APM 1.02.


Loading the code automatically:


Just download the Mission Planner and select "Upload Firmware" from the Tools section of the menu. Make sure APM is plugged into your USB port and you've selected the right port from the Mission Planner menu. Click on "Update Check" and the program will search online for the latest version of the code and load it to APM.


If you want to do a simulation with Xplane, follow the instructions below. That will soon be a firmware option with the Mission Planner, too.


Loading manually (Optional)

[UPDATE: Ignore this section if you don't want to fiddle with the code. Arduino is no longer required to load the code!]


Download the zip file, unzip it to your desktop. You will have two folders inside your APM 2.0 folder, as shown:



Make sure you're using the latest Arduino (0022). Set your Arduino Sketchbook location to the APM 2.0 folder, as shown below. You must exit Arduino and restart it for this to take effect. Within Arduino, open up the ArduPilotMega.pde file within the ArduPilotMega folder, and that will open all the other files. Before you compile, don't forget to select the right board (Arduino Mega 1280 or Arduino Mega 2560)



(Note: in the final version of APM 2.0, you will not have to use the Arduino IDE at all: the Mission Planner will load the firmware for you and check for more recent versions. The Arduino IDE will just be available in case you want to modify or inspect the code. UPDATE: this is now live)



Additional instructions:

--If you're doing flight simulation with Xplane, instructions for doing it with APM 2.0 are here.

--Make sure you're using the latest Mission Planner and HK GCS. In the Mission Planner, make sure you select APM 2.x modes (MAVLink), shown at right.


Known issues:

1) Mission Planner won't write waypoints on Port 0 in HIL mode. Instead, write the waypoints via your Xbee (port 3); remember to change the Mission Planner baud rate to 57k when using the Xbee port.
2) Uploading mission commands is still not fully documented. We'll get to that this week
3) There may be some issues with datalogs not recording. We're looking into it.

4) The manual still describes the 1.02 software. We'll change that to 2.0 during the beta test period, so by the time we release the final of 2.0 the manual is fully updated.

5) This has been mostly tested with 900 Mhz Xbee modules and the XstreamBee adapter, which work great. However, there is an issue with the 2.4 Ghz Xbee modules, which have a slightly different hardware configuration that conflicts with that adapter when sending data upstream. A short term workaround is to solder a jumper from the adapter's CTS to V+ pin. The next version of these adapter boards will include a more graceful fix.


If you find any bugs, please file a report in the Issue Tracker. The dev team will not be responding to bug reports filed in blog comments

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  • My servo directions appear to be reversed between 1.02 and 2.0 (i.e. in manual mode everything is fine with both loads, but pitching the aircraft nose up in 1.02 moves the elevator trailing edge down while in 2.0 it moves it trailing edge up). Same principle with aileron, forgot to check the rudder. Moving back and forth between 1.02 and 2.0 it is repeatable. I can fix it with the DIP switches, but am wondering if this is an expected change.
  • This is so fun it tickles... dont take that the wrong way! :)

    Largest code maybe, but lets try the best coding team on the arduino yet!

    Now lets see, who started us on this never ending journey?

  • Ok, so see, I can get new trix :)

    Pix, that worked perfect.

    Doug, ill be happy to try here in a bit,

    Happy, yes I will do that and let you know


    PS thanks all!


  • In QGC these modes are all available through the recipe given earlier here:

    - Click on Widgets -> New Custom Widget

    - In the custom widget you have, right click in free space

    - From the context menu, select "New MAV Action Button (Deprecated)"

    - Select action "MAV_ACTION_XX" and name the button how you like


  • Developer

    I have never tested changing modes from the GCS, so cannot comment at all on that interaction, but the code IS IN PLACE in APM 2.0 beta to change modes.  I will test it using QGC on my next opportunity, but that could be 24 - 48 hours.


    The applicable MAVLink message would be MAVLINK_MSG_ID_ACTION and "currently supported modes" would be Manual (MAV_ACTION_SET_MANUAL), Auto (MAV_ACTION_NAVIGATE or MAV_ACTION_SET_AUTO), RTL (MAV_ACTION_RETURN), and Loiter (MAV_ACTION_LOITER).  Due to much greater interest than I anticipated in this feature I will add the other flight modes (at least those for which a choice in the MAVLink enumeration maps reasonably well)


    Also, if you are flying a mission and want to switch the active command, you can simply click on the little button/box to the left of the command in the QGroundControl Mission Plan widget.

  • Darren, that would be great. Also, tell me what they should be called as the MAVlink names for some of these commands don't make sense to me. I can add them back in as soon as you get me the list.
  • Ok Darren, try this:


    - In the custom widget you have, right click in free space

    - From the context menu, select "New MAV Action Button (Deprecated)"

    - Select action "Navigate"


    This should work - please note that this functionality is marked as deprecated since it will be upgraded in APM, but currently isn't.

  • If you guys want, I can quickly go through them and document which actions work on hk and which ones dont...
  • HK GCS, perform action "auto mode"

    either hk or qgc select waypoint x (anything other than 0) as current waypoint, verify waypoint selection is updated

    HK GCS, perform action "navigate"

    this starts the mission over at waypoint x


  • Would be also interested in knowing - since QGC implements all commands, it definitely works - it might just be a bad mapping between the APM 2.0 beta and the current QGC buttons.
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