The Linux Foundation has announced the founding of the Dronecode Project.
The Project will bring together existing open source drone projects and assets under a nonprofit structure governed by The Linux Foundation. The result will be a common, shared open source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
Founding members include 3D Robotics, Baidu, Box, DroneDeploy, Intel, jDrones, Laser Navigation, Qualcomm, SkyWard, Squadrone System, Walkera and Yuneec. Dronecode includes the APM/ArduPilot UAV software platform and associated code, which until now has been hosted by 3D Robotics, a world leader in advanced UAV autopilot and autonomous vehicle control. The company was co-founded by Chris Anderson, formerly editor-in-chief of Wired and the author of the bestselling books “The Long Tail,” “Free” and “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.” The Dronecode project will also incorporate the partner PX4 project, led by Lorenz Meier from ETH, the Technical University of Zurich
More than 1,200 developers are working on Dronecode with more than 150 code commits a day on some projects. Examples of projects include APM/ArduPilot, Mission Planner, MAVLink and DroidPlanner. The platform has been adopted by many of the organizations on the forefront of drone technology, including Skycatch, DroneDeploy, HobbyKing, Horizon Ag, PrecisionHawk, Agribotix, and Walkera, among others.
Andrew Tridgell (“Tridge”) will become the chair of the Dronecode Project’s Technical Steering Committee (TSC) and have a seat on the board. He is a lead maintainer in the development of APM/ArduPilot and is well recognized for his contributions to the open source software community, including his work as the author of the Samba file server.
“Open source software and collaborative development are advancing technologies in the hottest, most cutting-edge areas. The Dronecode Project is a perfect example of this,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “By becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, the Dronecode community will receive the support required of a massive project right at its moment of breakthrough. The result will be even greater innovation and a common platform for drone and robotics open source projects.”
The Dronecode Project will help meet the needs of the growing community with a neutral governance structure and coordination of funding for resources and tools the community needs. The governance structure will allow other parties and developers to influence and participate in the development and direction of the software. The Dronecode board will be comprised of members and technical community members. The Technical Steering committee will be composed of project leads and maintainers from top-level projects. Committers can be elected to participate on the TSC.
The development of drones has drastically increased over just the last couple of years due to the vibrant maker community and the use of drones in a variety of new applications. The Teal Group, an aerospace market research firm, recently estimated that within a decade the total amount spent worldwide on research, development, testing and evaluation of drone technology will reach $91 billion. From environmental research to wildlife conservation and search and rescue, drones are becoming recognized for a wide variety of uses beyond commercial and defense applications. Furthermore, the opportunities drones provide for data analysis, storage and display open up a world of possibilities for application in business. Hundreds of thousands of developers and makers around the world today are contributing to drone technology and this future. The Dronecode Project will help advance these technologies and accelerate adoption of better, more affordable and more reliable open source software for UAVs.
The Dronecode Project is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project. Collaborative Projects are independently funded software projects that harness the power of collaborative development to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. By spreading the collaborative DNA of the largest collaborative software development project in history, The Linux Foundation provides the essential collaborative and organizational framework so project hosts can focus on innovation and results. Linux Foundation Collaborative Projects span the enterprise, mobile, embedded and life sciences markets and are backed by many of the largest names in technology.
Comments from Members
“The Linux Foundation is well-recognized for its ability to rally support and advance the work of important open source projects,” said Chris Anderson, CEO and founder, 3D Robotics. “The Dronecode Project will benefit from this expertise and bring to bear important resources for developers working on drone technology.”
“Dronecode Project will significantly speed up the work being done today to make drones available for more and more applications, from commercial uses to sustainability applications,” said Kai Yu, Head of Baidu IDL (Institute of Deep Learning). “We’re very excited to join this effort and contribute our knowledge to this important work.”
“Across construction, agriculture, and energy, drones are generating massive increases in digital data and content that needs to be stored, shared, processed in the cloud securely,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box. “Box is thrilled to support the Dronecode Project to power an open platform that will transform how individuals and businesses leverage drones across a number of industries.”
“DroneDeploy is enabling businesses to deploy fleets of drones to capture and analyze aerial data in real-time,” said Mike Winn, CEO, DroneDeploy. “It’s through the work of the open source community that projects like ours are possible. The Dronecode Project will accelerate this technology innovation, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”
“The industry is just beginning to realize the potential of drone technology as this space continues to attract attention,” said Imad Sousou, vice president and general manager, Open Source Technology Center, Intel Corporation. “For any new technology to become mainstream, it’s important for the industry players to collaborate. Open source contributions to the Dronecode Project can help accelerate innovation in a new market such as this.”
“As one the original ArduCopter/APM developers, DroneCode Project is a great way to boost UAV development even further,” said Jani Hirvinen, CEO, jDrones, “We are excited to be a member of this open source community and look forward to continue contributing to the project we love.”
Laser Navigation, founder of VirtualRobotix.com community
“The Dronecode project will allow VirtualRobotix and its peers to make core technology advancements much more quickly,” said Roberto Navoni, CEO, VirtualRobotix. “As an early founder of APM Copter project, our company developed the first porting code to 32-bit hardware platform. We’re proud to be a participant in this work, as we know it will be the foundation for the future of drone innovation.”
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
“The scale and pace of mobile technology development is having a growing impact on many technology areas, drones are no exception,” said Matt Grob, CTO, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “The possibilities around drone technology are exciting and Qualcomm has found success in and supports community driven platforms as a way to accelerate innovation in pioneering areas such as drones, robotics and IOT.”
“Commercial drone operators need reliable, effective technologies and infrastructure to support their work,” said Jonathan Evans, CEO, SkyWard. “Open source projects serve to cultivate an ecosystem of collaborative intelligence at a global scale and are the foundation for enabling the Aerial Robotics Network.”
“The applications for drones are endless. We see customers using drones to capture extreme footage and Hollywood-style aerial video using complete autonomous system,” said Antoine LEVEL, CEO and co-founder Squadrone System.
“Bringing together the technologies, individuals and companies that are driving innovation in drones is an important step towards the future,” said Robert Luo, managing director, Walkera iUAS. “The Linux Foundation is a natural organization to do this, and we are confident Dronecode Project will lead to more advancements and applications for drones.”
“Software is what makes drones intelligent. We want to contribute to that intelligence and the advancement of drone technologies, and the Dronecode Project gives us that opportunity,” said Tian Yu, President and founder of Yuneec.