PX4 Platform Update

There has been recently news about uses of PX4 (APM/ACM port and James Gopperts post on state estimation control), its time to recap the platform state and to give an overview of the current roadmap. There are a few important hardware highlights:

PX4 as a platform tries to provide more robustness (on the hardware level), more flexibility and a modern software application interface. All this allows to implement new functionality that has been limited so far, most importantly it however decouples the platform (operating system, sensor drivers) from the application software (state estimation filters,  controllers).

We're moving from a monolithic block where everything is closely coupled to a design where you have an operating system and apps that have individual functionality. It allows you to mix different apps from different developers and projects, and as developer it makes it easier to write software for it (a POSIX-style API quite similar to e.g. MacOS or Linux and a middleware API somehow similar to ROS, but more efficient).

Therefore besides from the actual PX4 platform (OS, middleware), there is also a complete autopilot stack (in fact by now already multiple controller / filter choices, plus the APM port).

We have by now test-flown all of the onboard fixed wing controller choices, and went out today to test the newly contributed Kalman filter based attitude and position estimator plus fixedwing controller from James Goppert. All in all the flight went well and smooth in manual and stabilized mode and we'll take the plane out for autonomous flight tests this weekend. Now that the core infrastructure is in place and reliable, expect much more progress on the autonomous flight, both from the APM port and from individual developers contributing new controllers and filters.

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  • Hi,

    I got PX4FMU + IO kit recently.  I have setup development environment following instructions on PX4 homepage and everything has gone smoothly so far. 

    I am trying to setup HIL for fixed wing. I am able to connect qGroundcontrol to FMU and start flightgear. How to proceed further? Do I need to connect radio receiver and PX4IO unit also?

    Thanks for providing this amazing hardware and software. Hats off to you guys.

  • Hi - is the data format generated from the PX4FLOW documented?  I would like to use just the PX4FLOW module for velocity but not integrate it with the PX4 system (use my own microcontroller).  Is that possible?  Thanks, Sincerely, Sridhar

  • hi chris, when can we expect the arduplane code fully ported to PX4 processor board and out of beta. i had been waiting for it for almost a year. i had a very accurate 24Km flight with 18 waypoints. all waypoints were navigated vry very accuratley. APM2.0 hardware was used.
  • Excellent, Thanks Chris! Great job guys, incredible resource to the community.  The recent work done by the PX4 team and also Roberto Navoni amongst others looks set to move the amateur UAS community a huge step forward.

  • 3D Robotics

    Don, PX4FLOW will probably be released on Monday. 

  • Developer

    It is an awesome feeling seeing software that I contributed to and helped develop so recently flying an aircraft on the other side of the world! I am really looking forward to getting some time for my own test flights. Thanks again guys for creating the PX4 platform and making it open to the community!

  • Thank you very much for your efforts on the PX4.

    I am very excited to have this available.

    The hardware capability and the software flexibility promise relatively simple implementation of many new and interesting capabilities.

  • Is there any comment on the availability of the PX4FLOW Smart Camera component of the project?

  • Thanks for the update on your progress PX4!

    Editor of DroneCafe - The Daily Cup - Joshua Johnson

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