3D Robotics

Introducing OpenSolo!


Big news! Reposting from the 3DR blog. Also see the ArduPilot Team announcement here

When we launched Solo back in 2015, one of its selling points was that it was based on the open source ArduPilot software, the project that Jordi Munoz and I launched as a side-project way back in 2007 and then grew beyond our imagination in the able hands of the community.  The point of Solo was to package up this open stack in a polished, easy-to-use consumer product (like the DJI Phantom), treating the ArduPilot stack as an “open core” and extending its functionality with proprietary features much as companies do with Linux-based devices.

This worked very well as a product (Solo had some really innovative features, some of which are still unequaled) but less well as a business (we couldn’t make it cheaply enough to keep up with the rapid price declines in the consumer market, so we stopped making them at the end of 2015).  Now, two years later, 3DR has shifted its focus to the commercial market that exploded after the FAA launched its Part 107 commercial operator licensing program last year. But there are lots of Solos still out there, with great untapped potential — it’s just not our core business anymore.

So what to do? Open source the rest of it! We’ve heard loud and clear that the community wants a tried-and-true Ardupilot platform that can be extended without limit. The Ardupilot team has already embraced Solo and ported the latest flight code to it. But the custom 3DR WiFi control, telemetry, and video streaming technology, the “Artoo” controller and the “Shot Manager” mission control stack that runs on the onboard Linux processor were not open source, so the full potential of the drone remained locked.

No more. I’m delighted to announce that we’re now open sourcing almost all of the remaining code, including the SoloLink wireless stack, ShotManager, the high-level onboard mission scripting layer that gave Solo all of its “smart shots”, and a range of other packages include the code for the controller and the build tools.

The code has now been released in a new OpenSolo organization on Github, licenced under the permissive Apache 2.0 licence.

More details about what’s been released here:

solo-builder – scripts for configuring a virtual machine to build the Solo software

meta-3dr – the build recipes that assemble the complete Linux system for the Solo and Controller i.MX6 processors.

shotmanager – implementation of Solo’s Smart Shots.

sololink – 3DR software that runs on the i.MX6 processors, implementing things like video streaming, control, telemetry, pairing, logging, etc.

artoo – firmware for the STM32 microcontroller in the controller responsible for the inputs and screen.

solo-gimbal (coming soon) – firmware for the microcontrollers in the Solo Gimbal

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  • Hi... if anyone from 3dr reads this would you mind sharing the pinouts on the controller (artoo) IMX6 board ... I’m hoping one might be pinouts for USB OTG (same as on the solo accessory port itself). It would really help the active open solo modders in 2020!!!
  • I am working to reporpose sololink for custom mutlirotor or plane. Wondering if anybody knows about sololink i.MX6 schematic or pinouts? 

  • 100KM

    Using the Solex Android App the Open Solo Update went well for me.    Solex has a much better camera Heads Up Display for flying Solo.

  • 100KM

    Looks like it is working.    Here is a link to the installation instructions.


    Deprecated. This is now a sub-directory in the new repo https://github.com/OpenSolo/OpenSolo - OpenSolo/documentation
  • Does any of this code work?

  • Awesome!!! Looking forward to solo-gimbal release.

  • @michael Burmeister  just transplant the guts into a frame of your choice.  People wrongly associate Solo with the plastic body prepackaged look and feel but what solo really consists of is the SoloLink and PH2 under the skin.  SoloLink is Solo and can be put into anything!

  • @Michael Burmeister: it's only 300$ so maybe just replace with a new one.
    Though I admit gimbal is kind of weird, if you open source it earlier it will be much easier to find replacement.

  • Too Little too late.  I thought of purchasing one of these things but can't get over the fact that it is a custom made unit.  It might be open source now but it's still closed hardware.  If you break it, game over.  There are no replacement parts.  There are no off the shelf parts to buy.  Custom motors, Gimbals, Batteries, Frame....

  • Thumbs up Chris!

    We love the Solo as an engineering tool. I personally think it's going to live for much longer than anyone expects. Here's a shot of our research Solo carrying a downwards looking LW20 laser altimeter with a scanning LW20 looking forwards for obstacle detection. Can't do this with a Mavic.


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