I'm happy to share with you today that this afternoon we had the first flight of a copter using ardupilot running in Linux (the evolution of the work performed this summer through the BeaglePilot project on the ardupilot code). It's particularly a pleasure for me to share these news because it's the result of two years trying to fly a copter running Linux (without a companion computer).


And a second one:


Setup has been done using 3DR Iris and a lot of tape (the Linux board is actually slightly bigger than the PX4 thereby there was no room inside of the hood for it).

Some remarks:

  • The autopilot was running at 100 Hz but we are working on a version that runs at 400 Hz.
  • It was using only one of the three IMUs included in the autopilot. Using the three of them might lead to a more stable result.
  • We have now the three vehicles working on Linux!
  • Take in account that i'm a horrible pilot (working on that while i write code ;) )

Future steps:

  • BeaglePilot white paper (WIP)
  • More work on the AP_HAL_Linux and the Linux kernel
  • Flight tests

Regarding the flight tests, i'd like to point out the fantastic attitude that 3DR has had with us, developers, providing all the hardware needed. Hope this serves as an inspiration for other manufacturers.

This work is the result of the effort of many. Particularly the ardupilot dev team, Siddharth Bharat Purohit, Andrew Tridgell and Philip Rowse. It's been fun to walk this path with all of them and down the road it seems there's more ;).

Special thanks to Hugo Boyer for the recordings.

NOTE: The blog post has been renamed from "APM4.0:First copter flight" to "First copter flight using Linux". Thanks for the users that suggested it.

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Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 4, 2014 at 1:41am

Has the use of the term APM 4 been officially sanctioned for this?? Very confusing for everybody.

Comment by Andrew Tridgell on September 4, 2014 at 3:15am

Great stuff Victor, congratulations!

Comment by Julian Josephs on September 4, 2014 at 3:37am

Great accomplishment Victor. This is using your Erle board correct?

Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 4, 2014 at 5:23am

If its Ok with Tridge it must be!

Comment by Roberto Navoni on September 4, 2014 at 5:50am
Good job Victor and the rest of the Team. .. a New era begin. The next week will be in Montain View i like to see a demo: )

Comment by Hugues on September 4, 2014 at 6:45am

Congratulations for a beautiful challenge and results !

Let's be cautious with version naming as a higher version number usually means improved autpilot functionality while here it is a port to a linux board with the same functionality as what we get now on a pixhawk OS/board. I personally do not like that this would be named version 4. It should better be named with the same version number as the current APM firmware but showing it is meant for a Linux board; something like APM:Linux V3.2 or something like that. Maybe you should launch a contest to let diydrones member make names proposals....

Comment by Bill Bonney on September 4, 2014 at 7:01am

It's a port of the APM:Copter 3.x code, so being called APM4 is disengenuous. Not to belittle the work, but the version number will cause confusion. AC3.2 is the next valid release AFAIU.

This is AC3.2 running on BBB with the PDC cape?

Comment by Víctor Mayoral on September 4, 2014 at 7:23am

Hi everyone thanks for the encouraging words:

@Gary, @Hugues and @Bill, i appreciate your comments. As far as i know, APM4.0 will be officially announced soon. I'm not behind this change in naming but it seems quite reasonable to me if we take into account software engineering release policies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_versioning).

Comment by Michael Visser on September 4, 2014 at 7:24am

Call it something else entirely and rename the post, or prepare yourself for...

"...where's the APM 4.0 firmware upgrade!? I can't see it in MP!?"

Comment by Bill Bonney on September 4, 2014 at 7:39am

Now I get what you are saying it's APM4.0 HW running ArduCopter 3.2 code. 
I have 3 decades worth of experience in how software version numbers don't work! I look foreword to release :-p


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