Introducing the PX4 autopilot system

The PX4 team is pleased to announce early availability of the PX4 autopilot platform, with hardware available immediately from 3D Robotics. 


The platform is a low cost, modular, open hardware and software design targeting high-end research, hobby and industrial autopilot applications.

PX4 is an expandable, modular system comprising the PX4FMU Flight Management Unit (autopilot) and a number of optional interface modules.

The PX4FMU autopilot features include:

  • 168Mhz ARM CortexM4F microcontroller with DSP and floating-point hardware acceleration.
  • 1024KiB of flash memory, 192KiB of RAM.
  • MEMS accelerometer and gyro, magnetometer and barometric pressure sensor.
  • Flexible expansion bus and onboard power options.

Expansion modules available at release include:

  • PX4IOAR This module interfaces PX4 to the AR.Drone motor controllers, allowing a complete quadrotor to be assembled using an AR.Drone frame and motors.
  • PX4IO A flexible interface module with support for eight PWM servo outputs, relays, switched power and more.

As an open hardware design, third-party and DIY expansion modules can be easily developed for specific applications, and more PX4 modules are in development.

In addition to the versatile hardware platform, PX4 introduces a sophisticated, modular software environment built on top of a POSIX-like realtime operating system. The modular architecture and operating system support greatly simplify the process of experimenting with specific components of the system, as well as reducing the barriers to entry for new developers.

Adding support for new sensors, peripherals and expansion modules is straightforward due to standardized interface protocols between software components. Onboard microSD storage permits high-rate logging and data storage for custom applications. MAVLink protocol support provides direct integration with existing ground control systems including QGroundControl and the APM Mission Planner.

Pricing of the PX4 components reflects more than a year of careful development and a strong commitment from our manufacturing partner.

This release is targeted at early adopters and developers looking for a more capable platform than existing low-cost autopilots. With more than an order of magnitude more processing power and memory compared to popular 8-bit autopilot platforms, PX4 is exceptional value for money and provides substantial room for future growth.

For more information about the PX4 autopilot platform, visit the project website at

PX4 modules can be purchased from our manufacturing partner, 3DRobotics.

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  • Hey that's good news then. I have been burned buying first release things before though. I will follow this thread and look at the manual, schematics for now. Thank you for your help with my questions.

  • 3D Robotics

    Me109: the Eagle files are now live in the product listings.

  • Oh, ok, I thought because it was on the Store it was available to all. I will wait. So when the hardware designs are released that tells me it's ready for everyone? 

  • I also ordered right after the announcement, both items were 30+ in stock. Don't list items in stock when you don't really have them. I don't mind waiting (4 weeks is pushing it though), but it would be nice if the store kept us informed of the delay reasons.

  • @px4

    that explains why the store has problems.

    but still, i ordered when there whee more as 30 units available. this was just a few moments after the px4 blog posting. and at the moment i paid but have nothing ... not even a message that the delivery is or will be delayed.

  • Actually the comment of Chris was not accurate. The full amount indicated on the website was reserved for normal customers, plus there was a batch for developers. Both have been delayed by challenges in the production (and the unanticipated stop of the supply of one of the sensors) of the first batch, and both have been shipped partially as boards became available. There are customers that have received the boards and there are developers still waiting. A new batch with a new revision has been set up and should start shipping any moment.

  • So "announcing immediate availability" a month ago meant available to a select group then? I would like to have known that a month ago..

  • No no no no. That post by Chris Anderson related to a totally different autopilot, and it was factually wrong! That post was about the Lisa family of paparazzi autopilot hardware (which has always been open source despite the misinformation early in that thread - it was corrected later on).

    I'm also not sure that being Open Source frees you from ITAR restrictions by the way either, but that's another topic all together. I don't know how 3DR complies with their export restrictions, but it's none of my business - I assume they do, otherwise they would surely have been shut down by now.

  • I have an AR.Drone and would like to use PX4 on it. I thought to be open source the design files and software must be available. It is important I have something open because I plan to travel with it outside the USA.


    I did a search on open source and found this: 

    See here from Chris Anderson:

    Comment by Chris Anderson on February 25, 2011 at 3:29pm

    Roman, I hope you're right. But starting with Lisa, they stopped releasing the Eagle .brd files, so that board is apparently no longer open source. And although they're already selling Asprin (surely that counts as "released"),

    I'm confused? Are you shipping this outside the USA now? How can this be shipped outside the USA when it doesn't meet the definition of open source? 

    Please help me understand? 



  • @Nick V,

    I hear you, I had the same experience (ordered on day 1 then was annoyed by "processing" for a few weeks before it shipped), however it did arrive soon after that and the hardware is fine, no problems. I'm relaxed about it now, this is just the nature of adopting new hardware early in it's lifecycle. I guess it has something to do with small production runs and unpredictable demand.

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