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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  • With the current state of the art - Pixhawk plus software we seem to really be getting somewhere.
    The main area of concern is surely now swinging to the radio links.
    We're currently using three.

    Radio control Tx/Rx
    Telemetry Tx/Rx
    Video link
    Three different frequencies, plus weight of the transmitters on the vehicle -that's crazy
    Somehow these need integrating.
  • @Bill Bonney:

    Funny that I just came across your comment below. The 8 channel limit is really hitting me now, here's a very reasonable case for expanding support to more than 8 listeners: 1-4 usual, 5 FM, 6 tuning, 7+8 RTL/etc 8 OSD screen switch, now RSSI+LQ (1 or 2 channels) has no way to get into MAVLINK cuz 8 is taken up. Also now there is no way to do camera or gimbal control through APM.

    Basically with the design principle of minimosd being that it should get everything though MAVLink (which is good) but now the question is how to get other PWM data into APM (like RSSI+LQ) and still have channels available for controlling APM functions.


    "Comment by Bill Bonney 48 minutes ago           

    @xian06: SBUS support is already there for up to 16 channels being decoded. The challenge is that ArduCopter/Plane are only looking at the first 8 at the moment. Its hard to see why they need more, though i'm sure some applications may benefit from it."
  • I'm using the stock taranis together with the X8R receiver that arrived with it.
    No special settings, just plugged one wire from S-Bus out of the receiver into RC in on the Pixhawk. Everything just started working.
    Life doesn't get better than this :-)
  • That is good news, I also have access to a X8R RX. The Taranis is a far better Radio than the FrSky or the FlySky. Seems silly to have both. And I agree no more than 8 Channels would be needed. Are there any special setups for Taranis published for the Iris?  I hope the Iris will be available without the Radio. "Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink, a Nod's as Good as a Wink to a Blind Bat". :-)

  • Developer
    @xian06: SBUS support is already there for up to 16 channels being decoded. The challenge is that ArduCopter/Plane are only looking at the first 8 at the moment. Its hard to see why they need more, though i'm sure some applications may benefit from it.

    I use Taranis and the Pixhawk. For 16 channel mode it uses SBUS on the new X8R receiver. The older FrSky modules and receivers as shipped in the FlySky Radio from 3DR, use 8ch PPM sum signal. Those older receivers also work with Taranis, which is what i also fly with on iris and an older QuadC.

    If you need help setting up please post a support post here http://ardupilot.com/forum/index.php
  • 3D Robotics

    Alan: Glad to hear it. We haven't tested Taranis ourselves, so we didn't want to put on the officially supported list until we had. But that's good news that it seems fine. Yes, Iris is based on Pixhawk, but we use a regular FlySky Tx/Rx with that. 

  • Finally my pixhawk arrived today.

    But I need to wait for Futaba 14 SBUS support.

  • I'm happily flying my Pixhawk with my taranis.
    I think the iris is based on Pixhawk isn't it?
    So shouldn't it fly fine too?
    Or am I missing something Chris?
  • Developer

    @Florian: The driver support is already there: https://github.com/PX4/Firmware/tree/master/src/drivers/mb12xx What you propose sounds like a cool community project to add the glue logic to the application level code, would you be interested to propose that on the drones-discuss list?

  • @ Chris:

    Are there any plans, to support I2C Sonar modules with Pixhawk?

    If so, when can we expect it?

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