We've wanted to be transparent with the community on our plans for ArduPilot Mega to get feedback, but I fear we've also introduced uncertainty and confusion. Here are some tips and pointers that may help you plan your ArduPilot path.

First, don't expect ArduPilot Mega until well into the new year. Second, it will be considerably more expensive than ArduPilot. Third, it won't necessarily work any better than the current ArduPilot for basic autopilot functions--it's just for people who want two-way telemetry and a more compact installation. Fourth, we'll continue to support the current ArduPilot. These are two different products, for two different customer classes.

We'll also be releasing a product that's for a lower end of the market, an even simpler, cheaper autopilot for inherently stable aircraft (this is a turn-rate limiter autopilot that will outperform the PicoPilot at less than 1/4 the cost). Also Q1.

So think of ArduPilot as a family of products: Entry, General and Pro.

ArduIMU is not part of the ArduPilot line. It's for people who want to integrate an IMU/AHRS into their own project.The IMU in ArduPilot Mega will be custom for that product.

Unless you're really trying to save money, I suggest most people start with the current ArduPilot. It's mature, stable and will be supported as long as we can see. ArduPilot Mega will someday get there, but unless you're willing to deal with our teething pains for the next year, you'll be a lot happier with the current product.

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Comment by John C. on October 27, 2009 at 8:30pm
Thanks for the guidance Chris! It helps!

Comment by NorthSweden on October 28, 2009 at 10:06am
Nice points.

But for mountain peoples like me need to wait for the ArduMega or until the IMU Ardu to Ardupilot modification is working.
Because i dont think my thermopiles would work until i reach a hight of 1mile, hehe
So i am grounded until then?
Comment by Matt Fisher on October 28, 2009 at 10:32am
Any ideas (even rough ones) on ArduMega price point and who will be selling it, you or SF?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on October 28, 2009 at 10:50am
I think <$300 is a good price target for the works, including GPS (but not including wireless telemetry and ground station hardware). But we'll see. As always, everything will be open source and all software will be free and open to all.

We'll probably sell the autopilot board itself through third parties, for regulatory reasons. (We don't sell autopilots; we give away autopilot technology for others to sell and sell stuff around them)
Comment by Andy Geppert on October 28, 2009 at 12:52pm
If I were to jump in now by purchasing a Arduino Mega and either the IR sensors or the ArduIMU and the associated to-be-built analog adapter, is it reasonable to run the ArduPilot code on the Arduino Mega, as if it were a standard ArduPilot?

Stated another way, can I build an ArduPilot with Arduino Mega hardware, and then morph into ArduPilot Mega later as that becomes available? At least from a technical standpoint?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on October 28, 2009 at 12:57pm
Andy, I wouldn't recommend that. You don't have the MUX/failsafe chip, and much depends on that. I think at best you're looking at a tangle of wires on a breadboard, and at worst you're reinventing the wheel. If you want an open-source IMU-based board now, get the UAVDevBoard.
Comment by Andy Geppert on October 28, 2009 at 1:01pm
Ah - I was just going to add that - the MUX/failsafe. Other than that (and the tangle of wires), is there anything technically wrong with the concept? I understand it is not the best path, but I'd like to stick with Arduino, otherwise I'd be more inclined to try the UAVDevBoard.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on October 28, 2009 at 1:14pm
The ArduPilot code will run on any Arduino, including the Mega. Of course it won't do anything useful if you don't have all the right inputs, from GPS to RC to sensors, and you'll have to find your own way to connect them, but technically it's possible.
Comment by Morli_ on October 28, 2009 at 2:58pm
Hi Chris,
pardon my enthusiasm and eagerness.I too was thinking in the same like as Andy, am quite eager to jump in the bandwagon being tired of standing on sidelines and watching you guys having all the fun :) , however I wasn't quite sure that I like FMA like sensor based stabilization, i am more inclined towards IMU. So my question is/ will the ardu team design whole Mega based AP from scratch or use this board and this breakout board. Will you be using this board and all the additional components in additional board or will you be just using mega chip on custom board? i hope there is possibility of integrating ultrasonic sensors of low altitude sensing( <6 m for landing estimation) also or atleast to get those reading on GS screen somewhere( would love to do FPV landing :)).
In anticipation of my OWN AP some day soon, i went and bought Aerocomm AC4790LR-1000 already and tested it using regular terminal programs, works fine , haven't done long distance test yet.
In addition I am very impressed with Millswood failsafe , Do you think this device has place in ardumega based AP? or such function will be or atleast is in pipeline for mega AP. Thanks for your valuable input

Comment by Jason Short on October 28, 2009 at 3:36pm
I wouldn't knock the IR sensors and a simple Ardupilot board. With all of this IMU hype going around, it's easy to forget how good they actually work.


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