3D Robotics

ArduPilot Pro home page

[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. Basics:
  • 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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  • Moderator
    All these questions have been answered here before.

    Take a few minutes and read this thread, and then the tutorials.
  • How long until the final version is available? About how much will it cost? I kind of new to this, but how do you program it to follow a route, and how many point or waypoints can this route have?
  • 3D Robotics
    @dp: You can't know your attitude exactly with thermopiles, but they do give proportional readings with tilt and pitch so it's pretty close. Is that what you meant?
  • Have you ever thought about adding some inertial sensors to this system? Or how can you know its attitude exactly?Just by watching?
  • 3D Robotics

    ArduPilot Pro has not been released as a commerical product and the ArduPilot Pro code has not been released either. We don't have an ETA (we're focused on ArduPilot at the moment). We may be many months away.

    We're running as fast as we can here with many projects, and we've tried to be very clear that this one is behind the others. Please be patient and we'll announce here when we're ready to start giving people something they can test with ArduPilot Pro.
  • Hey Jordi,

    I realize it may be similar, but that doesn't mean it IS the ArduPilot Pro code. Where can one get the ArduPilot Pro code so we can build and work with an ArduPilot Pro?

    Not trying to be difficult here, just asking.

  • Developer
    ArduPilot PRO code will be very similar to the current ArduPilot (non PRO) code...
  • @Chris

    Just a thought that I had. If the boards and BOM are available to build a ArduPilot Pro, where is the code? Does one have to a member of some elite group to be able to get the code to work with? Doesn't make much sense to have the hardware without the software. What am I missing here?

  • Developer
    @Chris Griffiths, yes you can still use it as I2C port. To void any doubt, you can use those pins as Digital Input/Output, Analog input or SDA/SCL for TWI/I2C protocols as you wish...
    BTW the servos are controlled 100% by PWM hardware (timer2), you don't have to worry about ucontroller performance, unless you want to control up to 3 servos..
  • Cool... I don't know if anyone has asked the question, so I will...
    I've been looking at the schematic for the non-pro version, and noticed that you're taking up the SDA & SCL
    lines with the ADC. Is that essential? I'm trying to remember if you can keep them as the I2C, and use
    ADCs 6 & 7 for the fifth and sixth analog lines, thus freeing up the I2C to be used - I've been thinking about
    using the ArduPilot (pro or non), and running a couple of coprocessor chips (like an 8 channel servo chip
    to completely unload that from the processors, and so on...
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