Almost exactly one year after the first PX4 announcement, we would like to introduce our newest member of the family, Pixhawk! For those familiar with the existing PX4 electronics, it is the all-in-one board combining PX4FMU + PX4IO, combined with a processor and sensor update and a number of new features. The current board revisions will however remain in full service and active development and are fully compatible. Pixhawk is designed for improved ease of use and reliability while offering unprecedented safety features compared to existing solutions.

Pixhawk is designed by the PX4 open hardware project and manufactured by 3D Robotics. It features the latest processor and sensor technology from ST Microelectronics which delivers incredible performance and reliability at low price points.

The flexible PX4 middleware running on the NuttX Real-Time Operating System brings multithreading and the convenience of a Unix / Linux like programming environment to the open source autopilot domain, while the custom PX4 driver layer ensures tight timing. These facilities and additional headroom on RAM and flash will allow Pixhawk the addition of completely new functionalities like programmatic scripting of autopilot operations.

The PX4 project offers its own complete flight control stack, and projects such as APM:Copter and APM:Plane have ported their software to run as flight control applications. This allows existing APM users to seamlessly transition to the new Pixhawk hardware and lowers the barriers to entry for new users to participate in the exciting world of autonomous vehicles.

The flagship Pixhawk module will be accompanied by new peripheral options, including a digital airspeed sensor, support for an external multi-color LED indicator and an external magnetometer. All peripherals are automatically detected and configured.


  • 32 bit ARM Cortex M4 Processor running NuttX RTOS

  • 14 PWM / Servo outputs (8 with failsafe and manual override, 6 auxiliary,

    high-power compatible)

  • Abundant connectivity options for additional peripherals (UART, I2C, CAN)

  • Integrated backup system for in-flight recovery and manual override with

    dedicated processor and stand-alone power supply

  • Backup system integrates mixing, providing consistent autopilot and manual

    override mixing modes

  • Redundant power supply inputs and automatic failover

  • External safety switch

  • Multicolor LED main visual indicator

  • High-power, multi-tone piezo audio indicator

  • microSD card for long-time high-rate logging

  • 32bit STM32F427 Cortex M4 core with FPU

  • 168 MHz

  • 256 KB RAM

  • 2 MB Flash

  • 32 bit STM32F103 failsafe co-processor

  • ST Micro L3GD20H 16 bit gyroscope

  • ST Micro LSM303D 14 bit accelerometer / magnetometer

  • MEAS MS5611 barometer

  • 5x UART (serial ports), one high-power capable, 2x with HW flow control

  • 2xCAN

  • Spektrum DSM / DSM2 / DSM-X® Satellite compatible input

  • Futaba S.BUS® compatible input and output

  • PPM sum signal

  • RSSI (PWM or voltage) input

  • I2C®

  • SPI

  • 3.3 and 6.6V ADC inputs

  • External microUSB port

Power System and Protection

  • Ideal diode controller with automatic failover

  • Servo rail high-power (up to 10V) and high-current ready (10A +)

  • All peripheral outputs over-current protected, all inputs ESD protected

  • Monitoring of system and servo rails, over current status monitoring of peripherals


  • Weight: 38g (1.31oz)

  • Width: 50mm (1.96")

  • Thickness: 15.5mm (.613")

  • Length: 81.5mm (3.21") 


This announcement is a service to our users and developers to allow them to plan their hardware roadmaps in time, and to show what we're currently working on. The board will not be immediately available, but 3D Robotics is taking pre-orders for Pixhawk now, and will begin shipping in late October [Update 11/11: the current expected ship date is late Nov]. The price is $199.99.

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  • I must admit... I'm pretty excited about this new PixHawk (and the VRBrain 4.5 as well). However, I'm totally bummed about these connectors. This style connector is the one thing I did not like about going from the APM 2.0 to 2.5. They are a challenge to connect and disconnect when you have full access... when your FC is tucked away, forget about it. I'll just need to get used to the "install-and-leave-alone" style of building. This is a next generation flight controller, thus a generation away from a DIY tinkering device and a generation closer to an out-of-the-box commercial autopilot... and that sounds like progress.

  • Andrew Rabbitt:

    Yes, I am also no friend of plastic boxes. I would like to see some closed aluminium shielding but that seems to be uncommon these days... At least it gives some impact protection and baro cover. I was planning (if i buy it) to replace the 4 screws with nylon screws and put it into some antivibration suspension. Than the plasic cover is the needed weight for filtering vibrations.

  • Must have one of these! Sigh....Haven't even got my APM 2.6 airborne yet.

  • What's the obsession with packaging these things in a plastic box?  It seems to only add weight unnecessarily and, in this example offers little advantage and seemingly no direct mounting options excepting a couple of crude cable ties?  Is this really the future I'm staring at?

  • Great! I will go for a F4 based FC next year. So much stuff to dig into to make the "right" choice. I think in the end it is with "the right" choice for motors. You are never satisfied and alway buy the wrong setup :) . Once you make a setup optimized for flighttime you want more power and agility in flight. When choosing a motor/prop setup for agility you wish in flight it would be more optimized for flighttime :).

    It is interesting to see, that the new Hardware stays away from Invense (MPU6000) and HMC. There must be a reason to go with the ST Micro devices.

    Greetings Rob

  • Tweeter, AFAIK they both run APM:Copter, just like the APM2.5 before them.

  • So, I just ordered a PX4 a few days ago. However, it is back ordered. What do I lose if I go with the PX4 FMU over this? Will I be able to use the PIXHAWK software or will I be left with PX4 specific software? The specs between the boards seem similar, however I don't know enough to gather up the differences.

  • @Robert,

    I'm pretty sure this is like 100% PX4 compatible, which means it pretty much already completely works with APM:Copter.

    I notice they even brought out the ADC's so even Sonar won't be a problem (Although we really should switch to I2C Sonar because of it's increased noise resistance).

    I think Tridge has been testing as "FMU-2".

  • PPM-SUM is better for a number of reasons, not the least of which is reducing wiring vibration issues to vibration isolated flight controller board by reducing number of wires considerably.

    Between FRSky, HobbyKing, Futaba, Spektrum Satellite and others, there are getting to be a lot of PPM-SUM options and in the long run it is just better to switch.

    And even in the short run, the 3DR PPM-Sum encoder works fine, I am using it on my PX4, it's just a little power hungry.

  • I look forward to getting my hands one of these!

    That said, those particular DF-13 series connectors really are a bad choice!

    They are not rated for very many connection cycles (50 I think ) nor are they robust and can only accept very tender wires. These connectors are fine for internal  connections in camcorders ....

    3DR should have chosen a connector that is on par with the world or RC, maybe something like the Molex C-GRID connectors.

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