Dronecode Open Source Project Gains New Members and Investors

By Mike Ball / 29 Jun 2015
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Dronecode project

Dronecode, a nonprofit organization developing a common, shared open source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), has announced that six new commercial members and several nonprofit and academic drone projects are supporting the effort.

New silver members announced include Arsov RC Technology, Erle Robotics, Event 38 Unmanned Systems, Parrot, Team Black Sheep and Walkera. New sponsor members include OpenRelief, Open Source Robotics Foundation, The Autonomous Systems, Control, and Optimization Laboratory (ASCO) at Johns Hopkins, Team Tiltrotor and Uplift Aeronautics.

Formed in late 2014, Dronecode brings together existing open source drone projects and assets under one umbrella organization governed by The Linux Foundation. It currently coordinates and prioritizes funding for six initiatives, 28 Dronecode members and more than 1,200 developers who are collaborating on a de facto standard platform for consumer and commercial drone/robotics open projects.

Dronecode’s significant influx of financial and technical support is driving rapid, diverse UAV progress in areas like vision processing, obstacle avoidance, and environmental and situational awareness. Backing for Dronecode is taking off as many begin pursuing drones for humanitarian aid, ecological, agriculture, logistics and parcel delivery purposes.

“We’re thrilled to welcome today’s new members and sponsors so soon after forming Dronecode as a neutral, transparent initiative for advancing UVA technology,” said Amanda McPherson, Chief Marketing Officer at The Linux Foundation. “Their participation affirms the collaborative development model, enabling more parties to provide resources and support to the already vibrant drone community. From improving wildlife protection and search and rescue, to 3-D mapping and precision farming, drones can change our world for both goodwill and economic gains.”

More about the new silver members:

Arsov RC Technology: designs and manufactures PX4-compatible flight controllers and other electronic accessories used in UAV vehicles.

Erle Robotics: focuses on making Linux-based artificial brains for robots and drones. The company also designs, constructs and delivers different robots based on Linux.

“We are delighted to join the Dronecode Foundation and collaborate pushing forward the next generation of robots and drones. Linux-based, low-cost and affordable robots, together with the creativity and passion of thousands of developers, will lead the next technological revolution,” said Víctor Mayoral Vilches, CTO of Erle Robotics.

Event 38 Unmanned Systems: provides high-endurance UAVs, optical sensors and its cloud based Drone Data Management System™ designed specifically for aerial photogrammetry and map making. Its UAVs feature easy-to-use autonomous operation, extended flight times, and large payloads for the agriculture and surveying markets around the world.

Parrot: Headquartered in Paris, Parrot creates, develops and markets advanced technology wireless products for consumers and professionals. The company innovates and develops in the civil drones market with leisure quadcopters and solutions for professional use. Parrot continues to expand in the commercial drone market, building out its expertise and focus on three target markets:

  • Geographic information systems (GIS) for the environment, mining / quarrying and city planning sectors
  • Surveillance of sensitive areas (warehouses, industrial sites, hypermarkets), protected locations (natural environments) or accident sites (disasters)
  • Precision farming, made possible by the combination of drones, sensors and algorithms for conversion into agricultural recommendations.

“The market for consumer-friendly drones is skyrocketing,” said Henri Seydoux, Founder and CEO of Parrot. “Consumers have a strong appetite for UAV novelty; drones that don’t just only fly, but also do amazing videos, jump, skim the ocean and maneuver at night with headlights. Linux and open source are leading the way, and we’re excited to collaborate with other drone companies, universities, and nonprofit organizations to advance the technology even further.”

Team Black Sheep: known for YouTube videos shot all over the world, the company sells first-person view (FPV aircrafts and accessories.

Walkera: a professional aero-model manufacturer based in China with offices in the United States that unifies UAV product research and development, production, marketing, and services. The company also recently introduced the DroneCode APM copter, the QR x350 Premium, the first model of the iUAS 2015 series.

“We believe Dronecode Project is off to a strong start managing, guiding and aligning resources to best advance the drone revolution,” said Lucy Chen, President at Walkera. “It’s providing a clear path for corporate and open source collaboration and innovation, and we’re excited to share our drone expertise with this growing initiative.”


More about the new sponsored members:

OpenRelief: provides open, crowd-sourced information solutions for disaster relief, enabling the right aid gets to the right places when needed. OpenRelief uses an open source approach that ensures everyone, anywhere, can access its technology.

Open Source Robotics Foundation: a nonprofit organization that supports the development, distribution and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education and product development.

“By working with Dronecode, we’ll be able to make our tools even more useful for UAV projects,” said Tully Foote, ROS Platform Manager at OSRF. “With demand for ROS and Gazebo in UAV development on the rise, Dronecode and OSRF are natural partners. The alliance will organically stimulate greater sharing of knowledge, tools and capabilities between the general robotics and aerial robotics communities.”

Team Tiltrotor: a Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) initiative from aerospace engineers Trevor Strand and Mike Remaly to develop APM-powered tiltrotors. Tiltrotors combine the qualities of vertical lift for low speed vertical landings and forward thrust for high speed, long range airplane flight.

The Autonomous Systems, Control, and Optimization Laboratory (ASCO) at Johns Hopkins: part of the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR) and is focused on creating robots with unprecedented agility and robustness that can fully exploit their dynamical and sensing abilities to operate in natural environments.

“Robotics is an exciting, fast-growing industry that greatly benefits from working with other engineers, developers and commercial parties to help advance the design and usefulness of such systems as quickly as possible,” said Marin Kobilarov, Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University. “With so much UAV innovation happening in all corners of the world, Dronecode plays an important role transforming research and ideas into real-world applications.”

Uplift Aeronautics: a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower and aid communities through innovative aviation technology. Uplift is run entirely by volunteers who are passionate about helping communities develop sustainable aviation solutions that help address social problems. They have a special interest in reaching inaccessible or hard-to-access populations.

3DRobotics and Yuneec International Co. Ltd. are Platinum, founding members of Dronecode, which includes the APM/ArduPilot open source UAV platform, and PX4, an independent, open-source, open-hardware autopilot project. More than 1,200 developers are working on Dronecode with more than 150 code commits a day on some projects. Under the neutral guidance of Dronecode, other qualified parties and developers are encouraged to participate in the development and direction of the software.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact