[UPDATE Jan, 2009: The description below is our original conception of ArduPilot Pro. However, we were able to achieve all of these features with the basic ArduPilot, so we are now reconsidering what additional features to add to a future dual-core ArduPilot. Things we are considering include SD-card datalogging and on-screen displays for first-person view flying. In the meantime, the below is provided as a reference platform for a dual-core Arduino-compatible autopilot, but should not be viewed as a forthcoming product as described here.]

ArduPilot Pro is a low-cost, full-function autopilot based on the open source Arduino platform. It incorporates two Atmega 168 processors (for navigation and stabilization) and one ATTiny45 processor (for the failsafe) onto one board, along with a GPS module. It has all the functionality of the basic ArduPilot, but includes its own thermopile sensors and processing so it does not require a third-party stabilization unit.

The thermopile sensors are on two daughterboards, one with four sensors for X-Y axis stabilization, and the other with two sensors along the z axis for calibration and upright/inverted orientation. These are modeled after the open source Paparazzi sensors.

ArduPilot Pro will eventually be available as a commercial kit. At the moment it is a development project with the aim of going into beta in mid-2009.

  • If you want to build your own, the necessary files and component lists are here.
  • Autopilot code (for the board's two main processors, Atmega168s) is in development and will be posted here.
  • Latest multiplexer code (for the board's third processor, an Attiny, which runs the failsafe system) is here. (If all you want is to load our code, rather than modify it, just use AVR Studio to burn the antifail_system.hex file in the Default folder to the Attiny chip)

The following is a chronological list of posts describing the development of the project. Unless you're very keen to get started on this before it's released as a commercial project, we do not recommend that you order these boards, since they're sure to have some bugs. But if you're interested in autopilot development and want to know more about ArduPilot features, they will give you some insight into the evolution of this project.

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Comment by NorthSweden on September 8, 2008 at 4:06pm

How big is the PCB?

Will it fit into the cockpit of the raptor airframe?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on September 8, 2008 at 4:20pm
We haven't released the final PCB but it's 1.75" x 1.2".

I don't know what a raptor is. Do you have a link?
Comment by NorthSweden on September 9, 2008 at 1:33pm
haha i mean predator. sorry

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on September 9, 2008 at 6:40pm
Yes, ArduPilot will fit in the Predator. Not sure about ArduPilot Pro, since we haven't finalized that board yet.
Comment by NorthSweden on September 11, 2008 at 10:05am
i see.

hope it will fit.

take care
Comment by Azeem malik on September 24, 2008 at 9:46am
Is there a better way to do the stabilization like BTA-06 or 07
It will be a good idea to combine Ardupilot with BTA- 07

Comment by Sgt Ric on September 24, 2008 at 10:29am
The Ardupilot uses FMA, where the ArdupilotPro uses its own custom leveler.
Comment by monty on September 27, 2008 at 12:55am
looks great as a better alternative to using the fma stuff, any estimation of price for the full production model?

great idea!

Comment by Keith Ratliff on September 28, 2008 at 1:11pm
When this is in BETA you let me know ASAP. I want this to run my UAV project as I think it will be the ticket.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on September 28, 2008 at 1:22pm
We're not going to have a public beta on this one before the commercial release. Instead, we'll sell the hardware through our commercial partner and treat the code as a continuous work in project: a perpetual beta, involving the contributions of everyone and anyone. Although the boards will ship with code already loaded, we expect everyone to upgrade it as we continue to develop it. Unlike commerical closed-source autopilots, this one is not warranted to fly a plane right out of the box. Instead, it's an easy-to-use development platform, designed to be tweaked for individual needs. (eventually, it will be totally plug and play, but we're not there yet)


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