3D Robotics

Lots of news and updates from the Dronecode team this month: 

1) The Aerotenna OcPoC autopilot (video above) now supports the Dronecode/PX4 software stack!

● FPGA and dual-core ARM processors in OcPoC allow for real-time signal processing and for executing complicated algorithms, enabling exciting new possibilities for artificial intelligence, deep learning, and a truly autonomous and intelligent UAV

● With more than 30 programmable I/Os supporting most standard interfaces, OcPoC is
incredibly flexible, allowing free reign for your creativity

● OcPoC features industrial-grade redundancy, ensuring you can always count on your key
systems such as GPS, IMU, and more

● Flawless integration with Aerotenna microwave radar sensors, including uLanding radar altimeter and uSharp collision-avoidance sensor.

2) QGroundControl 3.2 is out!


Many inprovements and new features:

  • Settings
    • File Save path - Specify a save path for all files used by QGC.
    • Telemetry log auto-save - Telemetry logs are now automatically saved without prompting.
    • AutoLoad Plans - Used to automatically load a Plan onto a vehicle when it first connects.
    • RTK GPS - Specify the Survey in accuracy and Minimum observation duration.
  • Setup

    • ArduPilot only
      • Pre-Flight Barometer and Airspeed calibration - Now supported
      • Copy RC Trims - Now supported
  • Plan View

    • Plan files - Missions are now saved as .plan files which include the mission, geo-fence and rally points.
    • Plan Toolbar - New toolbar which shows you mission statistics and Upload button.
    • Mission Start - Allows you to specify values such as flight speed and camera settings to start the mission with.
    • New Waypoint features - Adjust heading and flight speed for each waypoint as well as camera settings.
    • Visual Gimbal direction - Gimbal direction is shown on waypoint indicators.
    • Pattern tool - Allows you to add complex patterns to a mission.
      • Fixed Wing Landing (new)
      • Survey (many new features)
    • Fixed Wing Landing Pattern - Adds a landing pattern for fixed wings to your mission.
    • Survey - New features
      • Take Images in Turnarounds - Specify whether to take images through entire survey or just within each transect segment.
      • Hover and Capture - Stop vehicle at each image location and take photo.
      • Refly at 90 degree offset - Add additional pattern at 90 degree offset to original so get better image coverage.
      • Entry location - Specify entry point for survey.
      • Polygon editing - Simple on screen mechanism to drag, resize, add/remove points. Much better touch support.
  • Fly View

    • Arm/Disarm - Available from toolbar.
    • Guided Actions - New action toolbar on the left. Supports:
      • Takeoff
      • Land
      • RTL
      • Pause
      • Start Mission
      • Resume Mission - after battery change
      • Change Altitude
      • Land Abort
      • Set Waypoint
      • Goto Location
    • Remove mission after vehicle lands - Prompt to remove mission from vehicle after landing.
    • Flight Time - Flight time is shown in instrument panel.
    • Multi-Vehicle View - Better control of multiple vehicles.
  • Analyze View - New

    • Log Download - Moved to Analyze view from menu
    • Mavlink Console - NSH shell access
  • Support for third-party customized QGroundControl

    • Standard QGC supports multiple firmware types and multiple vehicle types. There is now support in QGC which allows a third-party to create their own custom version of QGC which is targeted specifically to their custom vehicle. They can then release their own version of QGC with their vehicle.

3) Other Dronecode updates from our monthly newsletter:


Since our last newsletter we’ve added high level sidebar links between all our documentation libraries so, for example, it is much easier to find QGroundControl documentation when you’re in the PX4 User Guide (see the documentation update blog!)

We’ve also made some other significant additions, including:


UX Working Group
Last month the UX WG started classifying members according to clusters (in order to guide the evolution of our platform roadmap):

  • Our initial classification document is here. This is a work in progress, but we would love your feedback (please comment within the document).
  • The UX WG created a survey to help understand what Dronecode members and the community are looking for from the project. The survey closed Friday, June 30. Results are being analyzed and will be presented next UXWG meeting in the end of July.
  • The WG is also looking at​ adding Google Analytics for the website and integrating with the PX4 analytics
  • We also intend to present a proposal for DC and projects branding.

Camera API Working Group

SDK Working Group

  • The SDK WG is loo​king at a Cloud SDK and an on device SDK for building applications that run on the target device or on a mobile device.
  • The ​WG wiki is now updated at https://wiki.dronecode.org/workgroup/dronecodesdk/start, and includes the first step of a comparative evaluation of our requirements and options.

Messaging Working Group

  • Collaboration between eProsima and Dronecode member companies, and PX4 community is working well
  • The UART bridge and UDP bridge are working so PX4 ORB topics can now be shared with external processes:
    • If PX4 is running on Linux, then the UDP bridge can be used to advertise topics via RTPS
    • If PX4 is running on a separate flight controller, the companion computer can get ORB topics over USB that are advertised via RTPS
  • 1st release of code scheduled for July 13, 2017
  • Code is at: https://github.com/eProsima/Firmware​

Safety Working Group

  • Dronecode has been asked to join the FAA’s Greetings UAS Safety Team and has accepted
  • Progress continues on an Intel BVLOS application using Dronecode with Airmap extensions

Code Quality Working Group

  • Lots of progress on improving the quality of the code via tools and scanning
  • New investigations into ways to improve code and reduce unit mismatch errors such as https://github.com/nholthaus/units
  • Current goals of the Cod​e Quality WG are:
    • Get improved code coverage in real missions
    • Add ROS tests
    • Add comprehensive tests that can be run for each PR but that are not merge gating
    • HIL
      • Mission tests should also work in HIL (may need restructuring)
    • Improve awareness of the testing already being done
    • Add summary page to tests being uploaded
    • Measure test coverage of the code base
      • Consider code restructuring to provide more clarity about what code is in a particular build and the level of coverage of that code​



This month two new point release were made to the new PX4 v1.6 release. The project pulse shows we’ve merged 49 PRs (+4) and closed 57 issues (-170). More than 5110 lines were added and 2431 deleted.

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Flight Testing Stats (Jun 07 – Jul 04)

We built a QAV250 with Snapdragon board and PWM based ESC’s



The following posts from the PX4 blog show new Dronecode Platform builds, features and uses.

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