After nearly six months of development from first public alpha, hundreds of hours of flight testings and countless bug fixes, I'm delighted to announce that ArduPilot Mega 1.0 is now out of beta. This code is solid, should run pretty much out of the box and has been tested on more than 30 different airframes, to say nothing of countless flight simulator hours. This is almost certainly the most complex Arduino program ever written, and takes the Arduino hardware further than anyone thought was possible.
Between the APM code and the Libraries, there have been more than 3,000 commits to the SVN repository, which is just one indication of the amazing amount of work that's gone into this. Huge thanks to the team leaders: Doug Weibel, Jason Short, Michael Smith, Michael Oborne, James Goppert, Benjamin Pelletier, and Paul Mather, with special library assistance from Jani Hirvinen, Jose Julio and Randy Mackay.
To get started with APM 1.0, we highly recommend using the hardware-in-the-loop simulator using the Mission Planner and the excellent Xplane Flight Simulator. Hugely fun to program missions and watch the planes perform them perfectly, hands off.
- Flight modes: Manual, Stabilize, Fly By Wire, Auto, RTL
- Mission Scripting commands: Navigate to Waypoint, Loiter X turns, Loiter X seconds, Loiter (indefinitely, good for ending mission), RTL, Land, Takeoff, Landing Options, Delay, Reset index, Go to index, Change throttle, Change airspeed, Reset home, Change PID gain, Set relay, Set servo
- Hardware support for airspeed sensor, Xbee telemetry (one-way), battery monitoring
- The awesome Mission Planner utility
- The equally awesome HappyKillmore Ground Station
- Mission Scripting commands: Climb (rate based), Get Variable, Send Variable, Telemetry, Change radio trims, Change radio mins/maxes.
- Hardware support for magnetometer
- Two-way telemetry and in-flight gain and command sending
- Support for the MavLink com/telemetry protocol.
The work to bring APM to maturity will also pay dividends for the rest of the Ardu* family of autopilots and UAV systems, which share the same libraries. This includes:
- ArduCopter (quad) will be moving to 1.0 (codename NG) later this week, and a 1.5 version (codename ArduCopter Mega) that syncs up with the rest of the APM family, including the Mission Planner and Ground Stations, will be out in beta in a about a month.
- ArduCopter (heli) is already out in beta and flying. If you've got a Trex 450-style heli, please give it a try and let us know how it's working for you.