I'm going to be starting a series of min-profiles of the people behind the DIY Drones projects, especially the software development teams who do all the hard work. These guys are some of the world's best aerial robotics experts and I'm in constantly in awe of what they know and can do. You may know their names, but not much more than that. So each week we'll highlight a few of them, so you can get to know the folks who make the magic here.
Before I get started, people often ask how they can join a DIY Drones dev team. There a quite a few teams, ranging from dozen members to just a couple:
- APM software (fixed wing)
- ArduCopter software, multicopter
- ArduCopter software, heli
- PPM encoder
- Mission Planner
- HK GCS
- Lots of hardware teams, each with a few community members teamed up with a 3D Robotics engineer
- Graphics and documentation
- Lots of smaller teams focused on particular features, such a camera control or mission scripting
In all, there are probably 50-60 active developers in these projects. So how can you join? The best way is you have a specific feature you want to add or product you want to design and already know how to do it. That makes it really for us to evaluate: if the feature/product looks cool and you've already shown your aptitude, we'll hook you up with the right people and get you going.
What's harder for us to evaluate is people who would like to participate but aren't quite sure where and how, and may not already be a familiar with the code. We'd love to find a place for them, but the truth is that it can take a lot of work by the dev team to bring people up to speed, and that's time not spent on development for the community as a whole. One of our priorities for the rest of the year is to make it easier to bring such people into the dev teams, but that's still a work in progress at the moment.
With that introduction, here's our first developer profile, in his own words!
Dev Team Role: Doug leads the APM software team, and is our resident fixed-wing expert. He also leads the weekly dev calls.
Day job: - PhD student and Research Associate at the University of Colorado studying Aerospace Engineering Science
Background: I started life as an EE/Systems engineer, but after several years switched into the business realm where I owned and operated several successful businesses. After retiring early and finding out that was boring I tried out a couple of other careers which failed to hold my interest. My involvement with APM led me to recently joined the aerospace graduate program at CU where I get paid to learn and play with drones ;)
Interests: I try to have as much fun as possible. I am a full scale pilot (Citabria) and competition sailplane pilot (Discus CS). I enjoy flying RC, particularly heli's. I am married and have 2 great kids both in high school. My kids are very involved with sports and music and chasing them around occupies a lot of my schedule. We do a lot of skiing in the winter and I try not to become a couch potato with some cycling, yoga, and pick-up games with the kids. Finally, I obviously enjoy the DIYDrones community and the continual push it gives me to learn more about technology.