As most of you know, we've been in semi-public alpha with the ArduPilotMega code for the past two 2-3 months, and there has been the usual torrent of bug fixes, feature additions and architecture changes during that period as both the fixed wing and quad/heli teams test fly the board. By the time we release 1.0, this will be the most tested hardware/software configuration in DIY Drones history, which I'm really proud of.
Here are the latest updates:
1) The official public beta (as a zip file) is targeted to be released on September 30th. It will be announced here. It will have full autopilot capability and should be ready for unlimited flight testing. The new GCS may be out at the same time; if not, there is a mode by which APM can use the old GCS, which has all but the in-flight mission upload capability.
2) The APM board is now available at Sparkfun (another 233 are in stock--more than 500 have already been sold).
3) The DIY Drones factory moved to a larger industrial space yesterday with our big new Manncorp 7722-FV pick-and-place machine (our second!). This is to ramp of production of the new APM IMU Rev-H boards, which are much easier for us to produce, and anticipates the huge demand we're seeing for ArduCopter and for fixed wing once the code is out. Limited quantities of the board are available now, and stock should be replenished on a daily basis going forward.
4) Speaking of ArduCopter, Jani says he may start taking pre-orders in two weeks, and shipping full kits within the month.
5) Finally, if you've one of the brave early adopters who has been using the Alpha APM code out of the SVN, you should be aware that there have been some significant architecture and config file changes. We VERY MUCH RECOMMEND that most users wait for the public beta next week--the alpha code in the SVN is changing fast and often unstable, and we will not be able to answer questions on it from non dev-team members. But if you're an SVN expert or already knee-deep in the alpha code, you can download the latest code from the SVN and follow these instructions from code guru Michael Smith: