We're getting ready to launch the beta ArduCopter 2.0 (formerly known as ArduCopterMega, or ACM), and much has changed. First, it's our first real quadcopter UAV code, designed from the ground up for fully scripted autonomous missions as Jason's runs at Sparkfun demonstrated. It's also totally built on the APM code base, so sophisticated MAVLink mission planning and telemetry is built in and it inherits APM's mature navigation algorithms.
Replacing the LabVIEW configurator that we used in ArduCopter 1.x is a configuration utility built into Michael Oborne's fantastic APM Mission Planner. This both gives you command-line (CLI) access to the ArduCopter 2's interactive setup process, as well as a graphical display of all the sensors at work, so you can see at a glance that everything is working right. And because it's all MAVLink-based, you can use it equally well on the bench via USB as at the field (or in the air) via Xbee. And it will work for any MAVLink-based UAV!
Unlike the old Configurator, you don't need to install LabVIEW to use this. Although the Mission Planner is Windows-only right now, you can use ArduCopter 2's built-in CLI to set up the board and software on any operating system, which will give you a text-based version of all the same data. Our aim is to be totally cross platform, just like Arduino.
As with APM, the Mission Planner will also load the code, so there's no need for Arduino anymore (unless you want to tinker!). Our aim is to make ArduCopter the easiest quadcopter UAV setup on the market. We've still got a ways to go on that, but the progress so far has been very impressive. There are a lot of RC quads out there, which are increasingly easy to set up, but very few real UAV quads with autonomous mission planning. We'd like to make setting up a UAV no harder than setting up a RC aircraft. ArduCopter 2 is a big step in that direction.
As for the release of ArduCopter 2, we're very close. The dev team will review the last outstanding issues on Sunday, with the target of releasing the first beta next week, with documentation.