ArduPilot and DroneCode part ways


For the attention of the users, supporters, fans and corporate users of ArduPilot:

The ArduPilot project is going through a transition. We will no longer be associated with DroneCode and instead will be focused directly on the needs of our users, contributors and partners.

We had high hopes for DroneCode as a collaborative project. DroneCode was born out of the ArduPilot project and we led the technical collaboration since its inception nearly two years ago. As part of that collaboration we welcomed and nurtured close ties with the PX4 project and worked closely with a number of corporate partners.

Unfortunately DroneCode has a built-in flaw. The structure and bylaws of DroneCode are built around exceptional power for the Platinum members, giving them extraordinary control over the future of DroneCode. This is a fundamental flaw in a project meant to promote free and open source software as it means that the business interests of a very small number of members can override the interests of the rest of the members and the community.

Just how great a flaw that is has been shown by the actions of the Platinum members over the last two months. Due to their overwhelming desire to be able to make a proprietary autopilot stack the Platinum members staged what can only be called a coup. They removed all top level open source projects from DroneCode, leaving only their own nominees in the Technical Steering Committee. They passed a resolution requiring that all projects hand over control of all trademarks, accounts and domains to their control.

The PX4 project leadership decided to accept this, and will be handing over control of the PX4 project in order to remain in DroneCode. The ArduPilot project won’t be doing this, as we firmly believe that community directed development is the best way to create a long-term sustainable free software autopilot stack. That means we are not willing to hand control of our domains, trademarks and development accounts to DroneCode, and by extension to the Platinum members. We believe that giving the Platinum members that degree of control over the future of ArduPilot would be irresponsible. ArduPilot is a community project, and its future direction must be set by the community.

We did not want this outcome, and neither did the Silver members (represented by all 3 elected Dronecode board members). We wanted to continue to collaborate, but the actions of the Platinum members and the choice made by the PX4 project means that DroneCode is no longer a place where community directed collaboration is welcome.

There is one aspect of DroneCode which we will miss. It offered a forum where we could work with the many companies that use ArduPilot to help their businesses make the most of ArduPilot.

To allow us to continue to have that relationship and improve upon the flawed DroneCode model we have made the decision to accept partners to the ArduPilot project. These partners will have their logo displayed on our new homepage (unveiled today; visit us at www.ardupilot.org33) and we will work closely with them to build a strong relationship for the benefit of both their businesses and the ArduPilot project.

We will have a monthly meeting between the ArduPilot development team and partners where we will discuss the future direction of ArduPilot and work together on issues that are important to our partners.

More information on becoming an ArduPilot partner is available here:

We also welcome individual contributions, with donations welcome from all users. The most important contributions, however, are those made by the hundreds of people in our vibrant community who have contributed code, documentation, code reviews and support for our users.

The ArduPilot development team would like to thank all our users, contributors and partners for their support, and we look forward to continuing the development of the autopilot that this community loves.

The ArduPilot Dev Team

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  • I think it's high time for the ArduPilot community to abandon some illusions, even if they sound compelling, and accept some realities ...

    The process is rather the opposite, isn't it? ... software follows hardware ... and isn't the major struggle about funding the software development? They followed your plan, they've created and maintain quality open source software, yet they struggle, how's that possible if your plan would work so well?

    If the goal is to get the flight code to run on 50 different boards, and to have available 50 different ground control softwares, while users struggle with something as simple as magnetometer calibration ... well, good luck ... I rather would rethink old habits and beliefs ...

    I totally accept however that it might be just me and that I'm isolated with my opinion :)


  • Admin


    How about create and maintain quality open source software and the hardware will follow if it does not already exist?



  • I was not saying that there wouldn't be plenty of platforms available ... this is not the point, not at all ...

    I don't give ArduPilot any chance to flourish just based on software; donations and counceling won't do it, it didn't in the past and it won't in the future, and just words won't do either, but I sense it may not be worthwhile to extend on this here. :)

  • Developer

    Reading the announcement, the part that struck me was.

    They passed a resolution requiring that all projects hand over control of all trademarks, accounts and domains to their control.

    This goes far beyond any licensing terms. Nobody in their right mind would accept this, unless the resolution was designed to exclude anything but a certain project they already knew would accept. But how can they ever expect to gain fresh blood in the form of other projects with this in effect?

  • @OlliW 

    ArduPilot has plenty of ''own'' flight control already, just think of all the LINUX based systems like the BBBMINI that is pretty well and alive (thanks to Mirko), Navio, PXFMINI, and you can even build your own, like I did here. For sure there will be new platform coming and the code will adapt and evolve accordingly, but the main difference resides in the fact that  this will be done by a strong community of developer that have all the freedom to decide on what hardware that we want to play with and not being restricted by the Platinum Members own agendas.  

    Long live Ardupilot, please donate so we can keep our freedom

  • Developer

    ArduPilot/APM and all software around it will continue forward and fast. Our developer commit rates have skyrocketed and will continue doing so. Whole organization is stronger than ever. 

    New Pixhawk2 / The Cube will be released on public in matter or weeks from now. There are already pre-sales open for it from many distributors. And more distributors are coming every week. 

    Same thing with partners. Now that ArduPilot is free and run by it's creators, all donations/partner payments goes directly to development funds.

  • but it maybe still could be named differently ... IMHO ArduPilot desperately needs its "own" flight control hardware, i.e. at least one piece of something which folks can associate to them and not to some other project(s), something with no "pix" in it's name ...

  • Pixhawk2 design is already out so that can't be stopped per se (but by necessity will there need to be an APM managed fork repo?), but how will this shake out with APM going forward?

  • yes, RIP open source autonomy. time to move on to another platform...

  • Developer

    This news article about The Linux Foundation also is relevant to this case, as they seem to have much of the same problems with balancing community and commercial interests.

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